TOP PHOTO: This is the City of Lafollette limits looking north. This is a picture of the two stone columns that were located on what we know today as North Tennessee Avenue. They were about 100 yards north of the Iron Street turn off at the railroad trestle. The picture shows the north side looking toward Big Rock.  The columns were removed in the 1980s by the city.

By Charlie Hutson

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It was 125 years ago this week when the area of Big Creek Gap that had been carved out for a town became official. A new town named Lafollette (named after Harvey Marion Lafollette became incorporated on February 1, 1897. Making Lafollette the newest town in Tennessee.

Lafollette was named after Harvey Marion Lafollette and became incorporated on February 1, 1897.

The town started with a population of around 300 people.  Lafollette boundaries back then were East to Massachusetts Avenue, West to 27th Street, South to Linden Street and North to a couple of stone columns on what today is North Tennessee Avenue about 100 yards past Iron Street.

Becoming incorporated meant Lafollette citizens could elect their own governing body and set forth rules and regulation allowed by the charter.

This is a look at what was the busiest street in the Lafollette back in the beginning of the town.  The street was filled with shops, stores and saloons and back in the day was considered the Main Street of the town. This was before many businesses were on Central Avenue. Today we know this street as North Tennessee Avenue; still a busy street.

Lafollette’s first mayor was Warren T. Evans. The first council included Grant A. Lafollette, Robert B Winkler, Thomas Bratcher, Issac N. Myers and Thomas Dabney. The City Clerk was J.R. Lett, and James K. Agee was City Judge.

Municipal Data showing the date of incorporation


3 Replies to “Lafollette marks its 125th year”

  1. These images are so cool! You should do a whole series of them with new photos taken from the same spot!

    1. Thank you for your response, Joe.

      Connect to Charlie Hutson’s Facebook page of “then and now,” and you’ll likely see those photos of then and now.


  2. Charlie, I enjoy your “Then and Now” photos and a bit of history about the photos. They’re a glimpse of an era that no longer exists and history in the making. Makes me want to know more about this area. Thank you.

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