Brownfield Redevelopment of Historic LaFollette Post Office

From 1936 to 2008 the former U.S. Post Office in La Follette, Tennessee was home to commercial buildings that were used for retail, warehousing, wagon storage and as stables. During the 1950s, the basement of the historic building functioned as a bomb shelter for the city.

From 2008 to 2013, the building sat vacant when La Follette Post Office operations moved into a new facility. In 2013, the city purchased the historic building and in 2014 the Campbell County Historical Society, approached the city to hold several different events within the building, thus beginning its transformation into an arts, culture, and history center.

PM Environmental conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on this property, which revealed records dating back to 1902. As Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) survey revealed the presence of asbestos throughout the building in floor tiles, window caulking, and insultation. Visibly peeling and chipped paint warranted a Lead Based Paint (LBP) inspection, which returned positive for lead throughout the building.

An Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) concluded with a recommendation of abatement via removal and off-site disposal.

The property is now called Postmark La Follette and is collaborative, creative placemaking project to establish and maintain an arts, culture, and history center within a historic structure to strengthen social and economic opportunities for the public through arts. In 2020, Postmark La Follette Arts, Culture and History Center received the 2020 Region Strong award from the Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association. The award recognizes exceptional contributions in their community including grant programs and community outreach projects in Campbell County.

The former postmaster’s office has now been converted into the Art Consortium, located with Postmark La Follette, and hosts several artists, artisans, crafters, and authors as well as musicians providing them the opportunity to showcase their handmade goods to sell within the space. The city of La Follette plays an integral role in the continued success of this adaptive re-use by providing utilities, including trash removal, electricity, and water at the Postmark. Many government agencies, community members, non-profits, foundations, and private sector entities came together to provide funding, services, and time making this adaptive re-use of a former brownfields a community asset for this rural Appalachian community of La Follette.


  • This disused post office was vacant from 2008 to 2013 and was then used as a community event venue
  • Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) and Lead-Based Paint (LBP) were found throughout the building
  • The restored building is now used as a local co-op artisan retail space


  • Phase I ESA
  • ACM Survey
  • LPB Inspections
  • ABCA
Project Details

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