Historic Cleveland landmark destroyed in crash - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Historic Cleveland landmark destroyed in crash

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - A historic piece of downtown Cleveland has been missing for several weeks. Residents are hoping a memorial -- that's more than 100 years old -- can be salvaged after it was destroyed by a car.

On Ocoee St. in Cleveland, history stands tall. But there's a piece missing -- one that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

"The history buffs around here know about it, but I wouldn't say everybody did," said Treasure Swanson of the Cleveland-Bradley County History Branch.

Late last month, a two-car wreck topped the Steed-Hardwick-Marshall Memorial. The impact sent a Chevy Cobalt flying into the stone structure that honors three young men who died in a fiery train wreck in 1889.

"We have quite a few pages here on the disaster," said Swanson, showing records of the tragic day. A bridge collapsed, killing 17 people on the passenger train in Thaxton, Va. Three of Cleveland's most prominent young men -- John Hardwick, William Marshall and William Steed -- were passengers on that train to New York City.

The families have rich histories in Bradley County, according to Swanson.

"This was their best young men," she said.

The deaths rocked the small community, and the memorial was made in their honor. At one time, it was at the center of local lawsuits and family feuds.

"It was taken down one time and put back up," Swanson said. But since 1911 it has stood in the same spot, so people could remember what happened.

No word yet on how much it will cost to fix the monument. It was sent to Baston Monuments for an inspection and repair assessment.
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