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The Rhea County Courthouse was built in 1891 as the judicial structure of the county. What made it popular is that it is the home of the Scopes Trial, where John T. Scopes, a public school teacher, was sued for including the theory of evolution authored by Charles Darwin in his lessons. This legal case that took place in 1925 is the best example of the tension and conflict that arises between modernism and fundamentalism in the American society.

The Rhea County Courthouse now features the very courtroom where the trial took place in the 1920s. It includes the original judge?s bench and other furniture from the event, like the spectator seats, jury chairs, tables, and railing.

The Rhea County Courthouse was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
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