Maycomb is an old, sleepy southern town during the Great Depression. It is described as the kind of place in which rains turn the roads to red mud and "the courthouse sags in the square" (page 5). In other words, its buildings exist in a state of disrepair. It is often a hot place, where everything wilts and people have to move slowly. People aren't in a rush because, as Lee writes, "there is nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with" (page 6). Maycomb is an Alabama farm town in which most people have very little money, particularly during the Great Depression, and in which people know very little beyond the boundaries of the town.
In addition, it is a town in which everyone knows each other and each other's business. For example, everyone knows that the Ewells are a disgraceful family. It is also a town in which people often help each other; for example, during the fire at Miss Maudie's house, the men of the town help carry the furniture out of her house. Finally, it is a segregated town in which most white people subscribe to racist beliefs and in which a white woman's word--for example, that of Mayella Ewell--always counts more than that of a black man such as Tom Robinson.