Has the Lookout Valley Cemetery been forgotten?
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Somewhere behind a wall of woods and weeds on Drew Road in Lookout Valley lays hundreds of graves, including the remains of Native Americans, slaves and even relatives of former Senator Bill Frist.
For hundreds of years, Lookout Valley's Parker Cemetery has been a final resting place, but you'd never know it existed if you didn't know where to look.
A narrow road separates Charles Coley's property from the cemetery.
"Oh, I'd just love to see it cleaned up where you could even see through it," says Coley.
Some graves date back to the mid-1800s, but court squabbles are as recent as 2004.
"We never did get it resolved," says Steve Daugherty.
The cemetery used to belong to his late wife's family. Nearly a century later, it was sold to a man who allowed a large portion to be bulldozed.
A judge dismissed criminal charges against Miles Koger, finding that he had no criminal intent to destroy the cemetery.
There was no answer when we tried to contact Koger for this story.
"My conclusion is just small town politics," says Daugherty.
Eight years later, the cemetery looks worse than ever. The 1.8 acre lot houses hundreds of graves.
"You could actually see the rows, hundreds of them," explains Daugherty.
Daugherty believes new businesses are on top of some graves. To sort it out, local government could buy the property and fix it or the private property owner could restore the gravesites.
"It's the kind of thing that can cause hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars," says Daugherty. "What happens over time is just the evidence of a cemetery being there disappears."
Daugherty just hopes someone, sooner or later, will show respect to the ancestors buried there.
"I think they're entitled to that," he says.
Channel 3 contacted Councilwoman Deborah Scott about the issue. She admits she's not aware of the cemetery, but is interested in finding out how it's zoned.