Lupton City Losing Post Office - At Least Temporarily

Residents Of "City Without Mailboxes" Say Given Only Week's Notice

Monday, July 3, 2006 - by Adam Clagg
Postal boxes inside
Postal boxes inside
- photo by Adam Clagg

The more than 250 families who live in Lupton City will lose local mail service on Wednesday. Lupton City is located between Lupton Drive and Access Road and it is near DuPont-Rivermont Ballfields. The city is unique because the homes do not have mailboxes.

The city was built in the 1920s and 1930s to house Dixie Yarns workers and their families.

For nearly a century all citizens have used the Lupton City Post Office to send and receive mail. The village, as it is referred to by many residents, has its own zip code 37351. Twenty-four-hour mail pickup is available if you rent a post office box, or residents who receive their mail by general delivery can go by and get their mail during window hours.

Some citizens of Lupton City are retired mill workers or widows of mill workers. Some do not drive or have the ability to leave their home everyday.

On Thursday, the decision was announced to close the Lupton City post office and re-route all incoming mail to the Hixson Post office. Most residents were shocked after reading a letter in their post office box on Friday from John Robertson, manager of Chattanooga Post Office Operations.

The letter read as follows:


The operations of the Lupton City TN Post Office will be suspended effective at the close of business on July 3rd, 2006. This action is necessary due to structural concerns within the leased building housing the Post Office.

All customers who receive mail through the Lupton City TN Post Office will be able to pick-up their mail at the Hixson TN Post Office. There is no need to change your address, your mail should still be addressed to your current P.O. Box number or General Delivery in Lupton City.

The emergency suspension is a temporary measure until such time as alternate quarters are located.

Thank you for your understanding.

John F. Robertson, Jr.
Manager, Post Office Operations
Chattanooga TN 37421-9751


Many residents wonder why they were given less than a week's notice about this huge change. The letter also did not include a phone number to call if one had questions.

The post office is housed in a building operated by R.L Stowe Mills. Inquirers have been told the building has structural problems that the owners will not fix. The property is owned by AIC Ventures, NL Ventures V Mercer L.P. According to the AIC Ventures website: AIC Ventures provides capital to middle-market companies by acquiring their owned real estate via a sale-leaseback transaction. This delivers shareholder value and financial flexibility, enabling companies to invest in their higher-returning core business rather than real estate.

The Hixson-North River Community Plan published by the Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency says the following about the city. "During the early 1900's, more people began to reside and conduct business in the Hixson-North River area. Lupton City, a classic mill town, was established by Dixie Yarns company during the 1920's – the mill is still operating today and the area still retains some of its original inhabitants."

Lupton City is a suburb of Chattanooga. It was said that many have been contacting elected officials at the local, state and national levels.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture says the following:
At the turn of the century, Chattanooga emerged as a textile manufacturing center, particularly for cotton hosiery. The 1913 introduction of the process of mercerizing, which gives yarn a fine silk finish, enhanced local industry and generated a new corporation, Dixie Mercerizing Company, controlled by local capitalist John T. Lupton. In 1922 this company's success led to the establishment of Dixie Spinning Mills to supply yarn. Situated on one thousand acres north of the Tennessee River at a company town known as "Lupton City" outside of Chattanooga, the spinning mill began production in 1923 with twelve thousand spindles; within two years, thirty thousand spindles were in operation.

In order to secure and maintain a sufficient labor force, Dixie Spinning Mills built housing for its workers near the factory, a common practice among many New South textile firms. By 1929 Lupton City's first sixty houses had grown to two hundred. For one dollar per room per week, employees received houses equipped with such modern conveniences as electricity and indoor plumbing. The village had concrete sidewalks, a school, a post office, a church, and a general store. As the number of employees grew, the company eventually added recreational facilities, including a gym, a movie theater, and a swimming pool. A company doctor and dentist also provided services to the workers.

Dixie Mills drew its work force from the surrounding farms, and many farmers abandoned the vicissitudes of agriculture for steady factory wages of ten to fourteen dollars a week. The work week was five and a half days long, at 12.5 hours per day for men and 10.5 hours per day for women. Financially strapped workers obtained credit from the company in the form of credit scrips, or tokens, redeemable at the company store. Workers' lives revolved around the mills, which not only paid their wages, but controlled housing, material needs, and social activities within the "model" mill village of Lupton City.

On the web:

Site of old Lupton City Post Office
Site of old Lupton City Post Office
- Photo2 by Adam Clagg

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