By Jim Freeman
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Tragedy struck around midnight on this date 49 years ago. The community forever lost its favorite place for sweet treats and coffee as the Prim Bakery burned.
As a child, I was a patient at Children’s Hospital that week when my dad called to tell me the sad news. Losing the famed bakery was indeed a devastating loss.
“It burned down around midnight on Wednesday, June 21, 1972. The building was filled with Little Debbie Cakes, and it smelled like marshmallows as it burned,” said Elizabeth Prim Coffey. It took her father four to five years to build the building.
After the fire, the once sad looking building sat charred and empty for decades until the La Follette Utilities Board bought it, razed it and built a new structure using some of the same block from the original building. Who knew the building would come full circle, because Paul Judson Prim, who not only built the bakery, was on the crew that built the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Norris Dam. Now the property belongs to LUB which purchases power from TVA generated by Norris Dam.
Here almost 50 years later, the once beloved building known for sweets and smiles, P.J. Prim’s dream structure has been brought back to life after that long ago tragic, life changing night. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/21/2021-6AM)