“Taylor House Valle Crucis N.C. 1908,” reads the caption on this photograph, taken perhaps in the early 1970s. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
October 10, 1889
“The Throne of Iniquity,” a front-page item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, alleged that, “[n]ations engaged in war do not usually legislate until the smoke of battle has cleared away and the roar of the cannon and the rattle of musketry have ceased. But in this case, like Nehemiah and his noble band of Jewish patriots, we must wield the trowel with one hand and the sword in the other while we build up a glorious temple of sobriety. We must legislate on the battle field. And I tell you this is no mimic fight – no holiday tournament.” The “war” being engaged in was the struggle to enact temperance legislation, banning the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, a major party platform plank during this period of the Democratic party. “The foe is formidable,” continued the editorial piece, “vigilant and wily. He is Argus-eyed and wields tremendous money power. More than seven-hundred millions annually flow into his exchequer. Let us not underrate the skill, the might and numbers of the enemy. Let every good man and woman come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. ‘Curse ye Meroz.’” The author of the article, in addition to including biblical and classical allusions (Meroz was a city in the Book of Judges cursed by the Angel of the Lord for not “helping the Lord against the mighty,” and Argus was a multi-eyed giant guardian from Greek mythology), compared the struggle for prohibition to the Battle of Trafalgar and the American Revolution in the flow of his discourse. Noted the writer, “(w)hen Patrick Henry saw the storm of revolution coming he said, ‘Gentlemen may say peace, peace but there is no peace.’ In these United States the great disturber of the peace is the whiskey power, and until it is crushed there can be no abiding peace.”
Another item announced, “Mr. E Spencer Blackburn who obtained license recently to practice law, has decided to teach school in the new Academy in district No. 40, Banner Elk., this winter.”
A presumably pre-written notice read, “[t]he editor being absent this week the readers of the DEMOCRAT will please excuse all discrepancies that may occur, for when the editor is away the ‘devils’ will play.”
October 13, 1938
“NEW MOVIE HOUSE NEARS COMPLETION,” a front-page article this week, announced, “[w]ork is going forward rapidly on the interior finishing of the Appalachian Theatre and the owners, Messrs. Hamby and Winkler, believe that it will be possible to open the handsome structure to the public shortly after the first of November.” Under the sub-heading “Magnificent Theatre Expected to be Open to Public by the First of Month,” the story detailed that, “[t]he auditorium and upstairs offices are practically completed, the heating system has been installed, and the largest unfinished job is the placing of the colored glass surface on the front of the structure. This work, however, is expected to start by the end of the week and next week it is thought that a definite opening date may be announced.”