Maycomb County

A Tired Old Town

Description of the County

Maycomb is an old town in Alabama, but it was a tired old one. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock nap, and by night fall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

The Great Depression in Maycomb

People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told to fear but fear itself.