I have been working recently in Atlanta, and as a result I have been driving back and forth a couple of times a week through Chattanooga. Each time I drove through I thought to myself "There is a monunment to Elder Standing somewhere around her. I should find out where and stop to see it." Weeks go by, but I usually drive by at dusk, far too late for this sort of thing.
For those who don't know, Elder Joseph Standing was killed by a mob in 1879. His killers were publically known and were taken to trial, but were found not guilty.
Sunday night as I was packing and I realized I would be in the right spot just after sunrise. So, I tracked down directions and plugged them into my GPS. As luck would have it, however, storms moved in late Sunday night and hung around early Monday morning. But as I drove south the storm moved on just ahead of me. The radio reported tornado warnings further south and a friend emailed me that the weather was really bad in Atlanta. Clouds clung to the rolling Tennessee mountains (you western folk would call them hills) and I thought that the next hill would drop me into the storm. But with each pass I crossed, the storm moved further south.
At exit 345 on I-75, I left the freeway. Downed branches and other debris let me know I had missed a big storm. Quiet roads told me I was the only fool driving around. A few miles later and I turned on Standing Road. It had been renamed after the the Elder killed here. About a mile later on my right was a small parking lot, which could perhaps hold 7 or 8 cars.
The first sign I see is the Private Property sign telling me the park was closed to the public after dark. I thought it an odd thing to be the first sign I saw and perhaps the first impression every guest sees. But the park is for the most part not monitored. There is no one there to make sure it is used properly.
I walked on back, passing by the sign identifying the this as a Joseph Standing Monument. The park was built in 1952, but this sign is much newer.
Further back, is a stone monument, with the inscription telling briefly who Elder Standing was, how he died, and who his companion was (Rudger Clawson, who would eventually become president of the Quorum of the Twelve), and a nod to W. C. Puryear and family who donated the land for the monument.
I recalled reading about how the Knoxville Stake Young Men and Young Women made a trip to the monument a few years back to clean it up and do some landscaping. Looking around this morning, it appears that someone is still taking care of the place. There were a few leaves around from the storm, but the care taken was obvious.
I wish I had time to stay as I pondered the sacrifice Elder Standing and other missionaries, but modern life called and I had to move on.