The area what is now called Monterey, TN was called Standing Stone because of the
huge stone monolith that originally set on the western end of what is now Monterey,
said by early white pioneer settlers to resemble a large grey dog in a sitting position,
looking west with its
head hand ear up, originally standing about 10 ft. high.
No one knows what the Standing Stone was erected for by the
Indians of long ago.
Some guess it was a marker set to mark hunting grounds between the tribes, others
could have been used is tribal ceremonial worship.
By the time the railroad came through in 1893 and blasted it
into bits and pieces, the
Stone had been whittled by weather and souvenir seekers down to about three feet, six
inches above the ground. With its height of just over three feet, settlers in the late
1800s used the stone as a hitching
post just in front of the J.J. Whittaker home.
Whittaker was the earliest postmaster at “Standing Stone.”
Two of the larger pieces of the stone were pushed over to one side after the railroad
blasted it from their
path in Aug., 1893. The Narragansett Tribe No. 25 of the
Improved Order of the Redmen loaded the smaller of the two
large pieces on a railroad
flat car and took it to Cookeville.
“Nee Yah Kah Tah Kee,” meaning
“Standing Stone” and a tomahawk were inscribed
on the stone.
A dedication of the Standing
Stone monument was held on Oct. 17, 1895. The crowd
was said to be around 3,000. The stone had been brought back and
placed on a
pedestal for all to see on land donated by the Cumberland Coal Company. The
monument still stands
today in downtown Monterey, next to the Monterey Branch
The town began celebrating Standing Stone
Day in 1979, mainly through the efforts of Dr. Opless Walker, who had studied the stone from his youth.
While it dwindled in the last few years, Oct., 2008 and Oct., 2009 were
ones to be remembered, with an excursion train
filled with 500+ passengers, a huge car show, and the idea of bringing
the celebration moslty back to the downtown area. The revitalized Standing Stone Historical Association over the last three
years have always been looking for new things to add to the day. Don't miss the second Saturday in October, 2010. Keep
watching here and also at http://www.hilltopexpress.net and http://www.montereytn.com