Tuesday, July 10, 2007



Friday, July 10, 1925

The crowd gathered early on Friday, July 10, for the opening of the trial. The first spectators began filtering into the courthouse before 7 A.M., a full two hours before the scheduled start. "The newspapermen sat along the three sides of the rectangular rail surrounding the sanctum of the court," one of them noted. "Feature writers and magazine contributors have the first three of four spectators' seats reserved for them, just like the seats for the families at a wedding."' By 8:45, all seats were taken, and the general public began to spill out into the hallway -- local men mostly, from Dayton and the surrounding countryside. "Farmers in overalls from the hillside farms, silent, gaunt men," the New York Times reported. "They occupied every seat and stood in the aisles and around the walls of the room."' These were not the big-spending tourists that Dayton civic boosters hoped to attract (those people never showed up) but East Tennesseans who came for the day in small automobiles raised high for the rocky mountain roads, or in wagons drawn by horses and mules.

Only about five hundred visitors stayed in Dayton during the trial, and almost half of these were associated with the media. "They sleep and they 'drop' a little money," the Chattanooga Times said of the visiting journalists, "but they do not form the vast hoards that Dayton expected."

- Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods


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