UPDATE: Statue of 'Scopes monkey trial' evolution backer unveiled
The Scopes Trial Festival is underway and those living in Rhea County will notice something different in front of the courthouse.
UPDATE: The Scopes Trial Festival is underway and those living in Rhea County will notice something different in front of the courthouse.
A statue of defense attorney Clarence Darrow is now across from the prosecutor in that case, William Jennings Bryan.
The controversial trial centered on a high school substitute teacher who was accused teaching human evolution in a state-funded classroom, which was against the law.
The Rhea County courthouse is known for being the site of the 1925 Scopes trial.
The prosecutor in the case is a familiar face for many in the area like Robin Howell.
"He represented what I believe is so much of the values that most of the Dayton people have and share," Robin Howell of Dayton said.
Artist Zenos Frudakis from Pennsylvania said Bryan's statue only tells half of the story.
That's why he sculpted a statue of defense attorney Clarence Darrow.
"I think because it's what really happened. There were two people here. One was a prosecutor and one was a defense attorney," Frudakis said.
Darrow defended John Scopes in the trial. A jury convicted him for teaching human evolution in a state-funded classroom, but that decision was later reversed on a legal technicality.
The unveiling of Darrow's statue drew attention from residents like Howell.
"I was just amazed and i wanted my children to be here to see this because I am sure should the Lord tarry that this will go down in history just like the trial did," Howell said.
Howell said she's against what Darrow stands for.
The Rhea County Historical Society approved the installment of the statue. Tom Davis with the organization hopes it will encourage people to look into the trial.
"I think having Bryan and Darrow not quite facing off, but crossing paths you might say might encourage somebody to 'Let's look into this. What actually happened here in Dayton?'" Tom Davis of the Rhea County Historical Society said.
Davis considers it another page in Rhea County's history, but Howell isn't so sure about the way it's being told.
"If you really delve into the history of both men, you'll see the vast differences. They were portrayed today as one of the gentlemen called them "frenemies" and I'm not sure that they were that good of friends," Howell said.
Davis said Bryan's statue has been around for 12 years.
The historical society said they were approached about a Darrow statue several years ago.
The festival continues until July 23rd.