One of the jewels of the Tennessee State Parks system, voted “best in the Nation,” is Standing Stone State Park, an 855-acre reserve in northeastern Overton County. The rustic park, developed as a New Deal project in the 1930s, offers cabins and lodges, camping, hiking trails, fishing, and other facilities for active and passive recreation. The park is surrounded by the 11,000-acre Standing Stone State Forest, a remarkable working demonstration forest showcasing good forestry practices. The park and the forest take their names from the Standing Stone, a natural landmark that stood on the old Walton Road near Monterey, where a fragment of the stone is preserved in a monument at a local park.
Standing Stone State Park is located on the Eastern Highland Rim in the Mill Creek watershed. The creek is impounded by an impressive stone dam built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s forming the 69-acre X-shaped Standing Stone Lake, centerpiece of the park. The main park structures are located on a ridge north of the lake, with Cooper Mountain rising 1,455’ to the east and 1,493’ Goodpasture Mountain to the southwest.
The park was developed in the 1930s as a joint project by the Resettlement Administration and the Works Progress Administration. Beginning in 1935, farmers in the Mill Creek area were relocated and work was undertaken to combat erosion on their depleted farms and to restore the natural forest. Work was carried out by the WPA, the Resettlement Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps, all under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service. The area was leased to the Tennessee Division of State Parks in 1939. Work was suspended during World War II; after the war, cabins were renovated, Standing Stone Lake was drained and refilled, and the stone dam was repaired. The federal government deeded the reservation to the state in 1955.