city and county seat in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States

Dayton is the seat of Rhea County in Eastern Tennessee.


Though originally settled around 1820, what really put Dayton on the map was the famous Scopes Trial of 1925, where a teacher named John T Scopes challenged the Butler Act of the state of Tennessee which dictated teachers not teach in a way that denied the biblical account of mankind's origin, that is to say, it prohibited the teaching of evolution. The prosecution was led by William Jennings Bryan while the defense lay in the hands of Clarence Darrow.

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Rhea county courthouse usda
  • 1 Rhea County Court House, 1475 Market St, +1 423 775-7818. Where the Scopes Trial, or The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, but better known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, took place. The teacher John Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but it was overturned on a technicality. The prosecutor William Jennings Bryan would die five days later from complications related to diabetes and fatigue. The trial would bring light to the contention between religion versus rational thought in the curriculum of schools, and, in a bigger sense, between Fundamentalism and Modernism, but the Butler Act wouldn't be repealed until the 1960s. Pictures and news clippings relate the story inside the courthouse, while statues of Bryan and Darrow lurk outside.    


  • 1 Laurel Snow State Natural Area, 1098 Pockett Wilderness Rd #100. Daily 8AM-7PM. A natural area where you can visit tunnels and remains of a coal and coke mine, the Laurel and Snow Waterfalls, and Buzzard Point. The hilly topography is very serene.






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