Todd DeFeo

Famous Tennessee courthouse was backdrop to Scopes Monkey Trial

Rhea County Courthouse The Rhea County Courthouse as seen on Sept. 20, 2015. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

DAYTON, Tenn. — The Rhea County Courthouse was built in 1890-1891 and is today most remembered as the setting for the Scopes Monkey Trial.

The courthouse, a mixture of Romanesque Revival and Italian Villa architectural styles, sits int he center of Dayton, a town of about 7,200 located roughly 40 miles north of Chattanooga.

From July 10 until July 25, 1925, John Thomas Scopes was on trial for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a Rhea County school. Scopes was charged with violating the state of Tennessee’s Butler Act.

William Jennings Bryan, a three-time Democratic nominee for president, served as prosecutor during the trial. A statue of Bryan stands on the courthouse grounds, and a museum about the trial is located in the courthouse basement.

About Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and