This might be one of the oldest postcards in my grandmother's collection. Look at the clothing styles and transportation! How genteel.
Not such a genteel part of Dayton's history is it's being the site of the famous Scopes Trial in 1925.
The "Scopes Trial" (Scopes v. State, 152 Tenn. 424, 278 S.W. 57 (Tenn. 1925), often called the "Scopes Monkey Trial") was an American legal case that tested a law passed on March 13, 1925, which forbade the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, of "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." The case was a watershed in the creation-evolution controversy.
John Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged on May 5, 1925 with teaching evolution from a chapter in a textbook which showed ideas developed from those set out in Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. The trial pitted two of the preeminent legal minds of the time against one another. Three time presidential candidate and former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan headed up the prosecution, while prominent trial attorney Clarence Darrow spoke for the defense. The famous trial was made infamous by the fictionalized accounts given in the 1955 play Inherit the Wind, the 1960 Hollywood motion picture and the 1965, 1988 and 1999 television films of the same name.
The UMKC School of Law Famous Trials Project website has a well-written short essay, including pictures, about Dayton at the time of the Scopes Trial in 1925.
You can view a 2006 photo of a small business located at 1438 Market Street (same street featured in this postcard) in Dayton here, and a 2006 photo of downtown Dayton (street name not indicated) here.
In summation, back to the Scopes trial and some quotes by mothers of two teenage boys who were called to the stand, excerpted from this biography (great piece!) of teacher John Scopes:
Howard Morgan's mom: "The teaching of evolution hasn't hurt me or my boy. I don't think any of us here in the mountains have studied evolution enough. I wish I knew more about it."
Harry Shelton's mom: "As far as I'm concerned, they can teach my boy evolution every day of the year." She adds that the subject threatened little harm because "he had forgotten most of his lessons" and "had to get the book out and study it up" for trial.
Some things never change.
But everything is always changing.