April 27


“Reverend Eber S. Gragg Holding His Birthday Cake.” Portrait of a noted local clergyman in later life. Rev. Gragg was a participant in the early years of the annual Grandfather Mountain “Singing on the Mountain” event. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

April 23, 1891

“The Green Park hotel at Blowing Rock will be completed for the summer visitors and Blowing Rock will be booming this summer,” reported a brief local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Many more visitors will be at the Rock this summer than ever before; however that is the prediction now.”

In related news, “[t]he turnpike from Linville to Blowing Rock will be completed some time in June[,] a hack line will be put on the route from Lenoir by way of Blowing Rock and Linville to Cranberry, this will no doubt be the grandest mountain scenery and finest road that can be found any where in the South.” The “hack line” referred to in this meandering sentence is a road designed to be traveled by horse-drawn “hacks,” or small passenger-carrying wagons, made for short trips in rural sections.

An anecdote published this week told that, “not long since, one of Watauga’s prominent merchants paid a visit to his ‘best girl,’ and so enamored was he of her charms, that when he started for home he left his trusty steed hitched to the fence and groped his way home through the darkness afoot, never thinking of the mistake he made.” Concluded the tale, “on arriving at his residence he was asked what he had done with his horse? He replied in great surprise: ‘He is hitched down the road about two miles, at Capt’s gate.” Readers of the newspaper at the time might, perhaps, been able to deduce who the young suitor was, from the allusion to the gate of a local Captain and other details in the story.

April 24, 1958

“Director Graduate Studies Is Versatile, Popular Tutor,” proclaimed a banner headline on the front page of this week’s newspaper. “The newly-elected director of graduate studies at Appalachian State Teachers College is a man of many talents. Cratis Dearl Williams is one of the most versatile and popular professors on the campus,” began the feature article. “Mr. Williams is a native of Blaine, Kentucky, where he was born in 1911. He received the A.B. degree and the M.A. degree from the University of Kentucky in 1933 and 1937, respectively. He has completed the residence and the examinations for the PhD. degree in English at New York University. He is now in the process of writing the dissertation for this degree on ‘The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction.'” In addition to his many academic accomplishments, the Watauga Democrat noted that, “Mr. Williams is one of the best known folklorists and ballad singers in the Southern Appalachian region. He is in constant demand as a story teller or singer at all sorts of public programs[,] professional meetings, and other group gatherings.” The article also noted that Williams had created a “Remedial Speller which has been published in mimeographed form,” which had been “used as a textbook in the spelling laboratory at Appalachian State Teachers College,” and which was “attracting widespread notice.” Reported the feature, “calls for the Speller are coming to Mr. Williams from many states.” Dr. Cratis Williams is consider the father of the discipline of Appalachian Studies; the Graduate School at Appalachian State University is named in his honor.


Published in: on April 29, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

April 20

Main_Square_in_Boone (1)

This view of Howard’s Knob from Downtown Boone shows Joe Todd’s service station on the location where Melanie’s restaurant now stands, and the Mountain Burley [Tobacco] Warehouse at the current location of Watauga County Public Library. A barber’s pole stands on the corner of West King Street and South Depot Street. Automobiles suggest that the picture was made in the 1930s or 1940s.

Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

April 20, 1893

A brief notice printed in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat carried a byline which indicated that the item had originally appeared in the Holston Methodist denominational newspaper. “A bully carries off from 10,00 to 40,000 [dollars] for knocking out a compedititor [sic] in a slugging match,” reflected the piece, “but if a preacher knocks the devil out in a hard-fought battle in a protracted [church] meeting, the people will take up a hat collection, and think they do nobly if they reward him with $10 to $40.”

An article entitled “Way Down South in Dixie” reported that, “[t]he solid basis upon which the agricultural, the coal and the iron interests now rests, and the promising outlook before them are duplicated in all other branches of business in the South. Everything is on a good foundation. The whole South, enthused with the certainty of freedom from political troubles[,] strengthened in all of its business operations by the experiences of the past, with more powerful financial influences working in its favor than ever before, starts the new year with the assurance that it is entering upon a career of greater progress and prosperity than it has enjoyed for thirty years.” Reflecting on recent changes since the end of the Civil War, the article announced that, “[t]en years ago the South’s agricultural, manufacturing and mining products aggregated in value about $1,200,000,000; now they are about $2,100,000,000. The increase in population during that period was only 18 to 20 percent.”

April 20, 1933

“Local Firms Expected to Handle Beer; Legal Commodity May 1” was the headline introducing an article detailing the local situation after the repeal of the prohibition of alcohol. “With legal beer only ten days away in North Carolina, indications are that for the first time in the history of the city the foamy liquid is to be offered for sale at several different points within the town of Boone,” reported the newspaper. “Three or four local business men have already signified their intention of securing dispensing permits, and one retail establishment has gone so far as to publish advance announcement today of the coming of the brew,” continued the article, although none of the local business owners nor establishments were named. Introduction of beer was expected to proceed uninhibited, the story detailing that, “[u]nofficial information is to the effect that the city officials will make no attempt at prohibiting the sale of beer locally other than to restrict the licensing in accordance with the State law.” Regulations were to require “a municipal tax of $15 where beer is to be consumed on the premises, or $10 ‘off premises.'” According to the Watauga Democrat, “[l]egal beer, which is rapidly becoming ‘old news’ in other parts of the country, is still a main topic of conversation locally, and an occasional bottle has filtered through to residents of the town, who have pronounced the beverage good but non-intoxicating.”


Published in: on April 22, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

April 13, 2016


“Reverend Eber S. Gragg,” photo from perhaps the 1940s of a venerable Watauga preacher. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

April 16, 1891

“The South ought to feel and no doubt does feel a great satisfaction in the prospects of the great West coming to her political relief,” opened a political opinion piece in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “ The West has lately signified in her municiple [sic] elections that she is tired and disgusted with Radicalism and will in the future be allied with the South in deposing the party that has well-nigh, mined this glorious ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’” The Democratic-party affiliated Watauga County newspaper apparently associated the Republican Party with “radicalism,” and saw the leaning of local political contests in western states towards the Democrats as evidence of a shift from this radicalism to an outlook in line with that of the local newspaper’s editorship. “The organs and politicians of the West have heretofore slandered and abused the South with all the bitterness that their extreme Radicalism could suggest,” continued the piece. “These radical men and organs are being regulated to the rear and sober men with better thoughts and policies have taken charge and genuine reform is now the watch-word. Such men as Benny Harrison, Blaine, Hoar, Lodge, and others will soon be retired to private life. A revolution has set in and the great West is moving and will join hands with the South to save our common country.” “Let as take heart and be lifted up for our deliverance will surely come[,]” continued the Watauga Democrat, “for radical men and measures are fast passing away, and a united country and prosperity will take their places. Radicalism is already dead in the South – and is now fast dying in the West. Little Ben Harrison will be the last President of the Radicals.” “Little Ben (or, Benny) Harrison” was a somewhat demeaning nickname for then-President Benjamin Harrison, who had been affiliated with the “Radical Republicans” favoring the Reconstruction policies for former Confederate states in the years immediately following the Civil War.

April 17, 1958

“Clean-up Campaign Will Start April 28th,” read a headline on the front page of this week’s paper. “Mayor Gordon H. Winkler has announced tentative dates for the annual clean-up, paint-up, fix-up campaign in Boone as Monday, April 28 through Saturday, May 10.” Details contained in the article announced, “[t]he intensified two-week drive for city cleanliness will be sponsored this year by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, said President James Winkler , Jr., who has appointed W.R. Winkler, Jr., to spearhead the campaign.” Additionally, on the local government side, “Mayor Winkler has announced that town trucks will be available at all times to pick up trash and debris and assist the clean-up in any way possible.” Another participating organization, the local Jaycees, it was announced, “will conduct a city-wide survey of homes, places of business, vacant lots, alleyways, and back lots, and make suggestions to owners or residents for painting or sprucing up their premises wherever the need is indicated.”


Published in: on April 18, 2016 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

April 6, 2016


“Snow on Poplar Grove Road,” a photograph which depicts automobiles perhaps from the 1930s almost completely covered by deep snow drifts in Boone. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

April 7, 1892

“The resurrection we call spring is now here!” exclaimed a very brief item at the top of the “Local News” column in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat.

“Later reports say that the man who killed Julius Miller and stole the horse, was seen in Buffalo Cove on last Tuesday,” related another news update, “and that parties were in pursuit of him.”

This brief post was followed by a fuller recapping of the incident: “A man stole a horse in Tennessee and made his way into Caldwell county, N.C. He was followed by the owner of the horse to Lenoir. Julius Miller and Mr. Small, in a cart, pursued him on the Wilkesboro road and overtook him near the Wilkes county line,” reported the story. “The thief jumped from the horse and ran, Miller jumping also out of the cart and took after him. Shots were exchanged between the two, and Miller was shot through the heart and died in a few minutes. The thief made his escape. He was surrounded near Blowing Rock in a thicket by a crowd of men, but he slipped out and made his escape.” Concluded the story, “[g]reat excitement prevails over the killing of Miller.”

The location of Buffalo Cove mentioned in the update is a spot in the Yadkin Valley about 17 miles from the town of Lenoir.

“Court commences next Monday week at Jefferson,” began another item. “We hope to meet our numerous subscribers in Ashe during court,” wrote the editor of the newspaper, “and expect them to pay us some on the DEMOCRAT.”

April 3, 1958

“Parkway Toll Proposal Killed” was a headline in this week’s paper. “Secetary of the Interior Fred Seaton tolled the death knell for Blue Ridge Parkway tolls Wednesday of last week,” reported, poetically, the Watauga Democrat. “He said plans to collect fees on the Parkway have been abandoned and promised they won’t be revived again.” The article’s author indicated that the Interior Secretary had “expressed his hope his decision finally disposes of the controversial toll idea, which has cropped up at intervals since 1940.” At a hearing before the U.S. Senate’s Appropriations subcommittee, “protests against imposition of tolls were carried to Seaton last week by a large North Carolina delegation including Gov. Hodges and the Tar Heel Congressional delegation.”

“Watauga Herfords Take Awards At Bristol Show,” proclaimed another headline. “Watauga Herefords demonstrated once more the quality for which they have been noted for years when three herds from this county came away with two first, two second, and one third place awards at the Tri-State Hereford Show and Sale in Bristol, Va., last Wednesday, reports B.W. Stallings.” The Hereford breed of beef cattle originated in Herefordshire, England, and spread to remote corners of the globe including Japan, South Africa, and the mountains of Western North Carolina. Local cattle raisers who won ribbons at the fair included the aforementioned Mr. Stallings, The Diamond S. Ranch, V.C. Shore, and Harry M. Hamilton, Jr.

Published in: on April 8, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 30


Appalachian School and Students, 1907

“Appalachian School and Students, 1907.” This image combines two photographs: the top gives a view of the campus of Appalachian State Teachers College and the town of Boone, and the lower portion a portrait of that year’s class of students. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

March 27, 1889

A poem printed on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, entitled “Her Charms,” was subtitled “written by a skeptical lover.” The verses began, “Her fair complexion, creamy and clear / Would dazzle and craze a saint; / I could gaze at it forever, and never tire – / But I wonder if it’s paint?” Continued the paean, “Her hair is wavy, and rich, and brown / The fairest I’ve ever known / No mermaid had tresses so fair – / But I wonder if they’re her own? / Her beautiful, even, pearl-like teeth / Behind red lips do lurk; / They’re fairer than the richest pearls – / But the dentist’s handiwork.”

Another humorous article in the same article, with the heading “His Substitute” and with a brief attribution to another publication simply titled “American,” informed readers, “’I’ll never use tobacco, no / It is a filthy weed. / I’ll never put it in my mouth.’ Said little Robert Reed. ‘I’ll never use tobacco, no: / Its use all woe begets. I’ll scorn the weed in ev’ry form: / I’ll just smoke cigarettes.”

A more serious item in news gleaned from across the nation reported that, “Archibald Campbell, while out driving near Cincinnati, pulled out his handkerchief to wipe his nose. Mrs. Osborne was at her gate, and thought he meant to flirt with her, and she followed him up and shot him in the arm.” The presentation of fancily embroidered handkerchiefs to the object of one’s affections as “love tokens” during the Victorian era seems to have been the source of confusion underlying this violent misunderstanding.

March 29, 1945

A letter to the editor this week bore the heading, “PVT. WINKLER WRITES.” The letter began, “Editor Democrat: Since I have been in the army I have received The Democrat, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy reading it. I see news in it that the folks back home don’t think to write to me.” Continued the missive from the front lines of World War II, “[w]hen the breakthrough came at St. Lo and we were moving through France so fast, the paper was two months old when it did catch up with me but I still enjoyed it very much.” The letter concluded, “I want to take time out now to tell you that the boys over here realize what a swell job everyone at home is doing now, and with such a swell job it means but one thing, and that is a quicker return for us boys over here. [Signed,] PVT. ROBT. C. WINKLER, Somewhere in France, Feb. 13, 1944 [a seeming typo for 1945 *].” The breakthrough mentioned at the French town of St. Lô was a part of “Operation Cobra,” the military advance of Allied forces during the Normandy Campaign, following the D-Day invasion towards the end of the Second World War.

*The bombardment of St. Lo by Allied forces, battle for liberation, and a second bombardment by German forces occurred in July of 1944. See http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/100-13/st-lo_1.htm.

Published in: on April 1, 2016 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 23


“Greer and Councill Families,” a family portrait from the Boone area in the early 1900s. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

March 22, 1894

“NEW GOODS CHEAP!” was the heading on a large advertisement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “I HAVE JUST RECEIVED MY SPRING AND SUMMER GOODS,” continued the advertiser, “and have a beautiful line of calicoes at 7 and 7 1/2 cents per yard; beautiful line of drapery at 9 cts. [cents], worth 12 cts.; black nainsook at 10 cts., worth 15 cts; one[-]piece silk plaids 12½ cents. Bed ticking, good, at 15 to 20 cents; bleeching 8 to 12; fancy lawn 5 cts.; challis, fine, 6 to 7 cents; Bedford cord dress goods, 12 cts., worth 15; nice crape [sic] 10 cts. Peracles 12½ cents, worth 18 cts.; black satine at 11 cts. And up; domestic 7½ cts. A large lot of cotton jeans from 16 cts up, and everything else at BED ROCK PRICES.”

Many of the terms used in this announcement are technical terms relating to fabrics and clothing.”Challis,” for example, is lightweight woven fabric, originally a blend of silk and wool developed in England in the 1830s. “Nainsook” is a specific kind of muslin, soft and light – muslin referring to a cotton fabric, particularly one which is printed or embroidered. The Boone merchant seems to have been promoting lighter-weight fabrics in preparation for the end of winter and the coming of warmer weather.

This merchant was also a buyer of locally-produced or gathered items. The advertisement declared, “WANTED! 500 pound of balm of Gilead buds, 5,000 dozen eggs, 500 pounds nice yellow butter, 200 pounds bees-wax, 200 pounds new feathers, and all other kinds of good country produce at highest market prices. I will want All the roots, barks, and herbs in the mountains this summer.” Concluded the notice, “[s]o when in need of anything in the goods line call and see me and I will do you right every time.”

The ad bore the signature, “Yours Anxious to please, WILL W. HOLSCLAW.”

No address or store name was given; local citizens of Boone at this time would presumably have known where Mr. Holsclaw’s shop was to be found.

March 23, 1922

“MARKETING WITH THE MOUNTAINS,” proclaimed a headline this week, which reproduced news from the Charlotte Observer. “A ‘staff correspondent’ of the Winston Salem Journal, who is up in the mountain section, sends that paper a quotation from the Watauga Democrat which uncovers a commercial project between the people of Watauga and Charlotte,” reported the front-page item. “The Watauga County paper is quoted as having learned that there is “a company being organized in Charlotte to operate produce houses in Boone, Blowing Rock, Hickory, Gastonia and Charlotte. This company will operate a fleet of trucks from Boone to Charlotte and will market Watauga county products direct to the textile country.” It is explained that, “the primary purpose of the company will be to buy and sell farm products, but a reasonable freight rate will be made on the return trip, which will enable the merchants to do what they have long wanted to do, that is to buy in their own State. They expect to start operations this Spring and will be prepared to handle the entire farm products of the county.”

Published in: on March 23, 2016 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 16


“Victorian Campers.” A scene of a gentile outing in Watauga County, circa 1900-1915. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

March 9, 1899

“The President’s Peculiarities”, a headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, introduced a letter to the publication which opened, “Editor Democrat. –Have you ever remarked upon the peculiarities of President McKinley? Especially would I refer now to his peculiar way of punishing crime, or rewarding a service. Some time since he imposed a penalty upon Brigadier General Charles Eagan, who had been court martialed and found guilty of a serious crime. The President says, ‘a crime prejudicial to the good discipline of the army,’ and he, the President, imposes upon the said Eagan the unheard of penalty of a furlough for six years with full pay, which is $5,500 per annum. That seems rather harsh, but when we further take into consideration the fact that at the end of the six years the said Gen. Eagun will be retired for the rest of his life with three-fourths full pay, or $4,125 per year, the severity of the sentence will appear appalling and is a striking illustration of ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’”
Continued the author of the missive, “But in McKinley’s severe punishment of Gen. Eagun he must not be judged too harshly. His reward to the Filipinos for good and valiant services will somewhat mitigate his seeming heartlessness in the Eagan case. The Filipinos took upon themselves the task of doing all the hard fighting in the Philippine Islands against the Spaniards until the surrender of Manilla. They drove the Spaniards out of the Province of Cavite and cooped them up in Manilla where it was only necessary for our warships to demand a surrender, and our victory was complete. For this gallant service our kind and tender hearted Pres. ordered that these same warships be turned against the Filipinos, and boasts are now made that in doing so there were thousands slain in one day. And these thousand were not all soldiers, but, according to Gen. Aguinaldo’s dispatch, consisted mainly of unarmed men, women and children, and our own dispatches virtually confess the truth of his statements.”
“The above is by no means all of President McKinley’s peculiarities, but enough for the present.” Thus concluded, the open letter was signed, “A. Davis.”

March 14, 1940

“Autoists Asked To Dim Their Lights,” a headline on this week’s front page, introduced a short notice which reported, “C.M Jones of the state highway patrol, requests motorists of this vicinity to dim their lights when driving at night and meeting other vehicles.” According to the report, “Mr. Jones states that the state legislature passed laws requiring dimming of headlights, and that he is anxious for the people to comply in order that accidents from this source may be minimized.” Concluded the article, “Mr. Jones further calls attention to the fact that every person actually operating an automobile must have a driver’s permit or a learner’s permit. The latter may be procured free of charge pending the issuance of a regular driver’s license.”



Published in: on March 18, 2016 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 9


Miss Jennie’s Millinery and School Supplies, a local Boone business from the early years of the 1900s. Photo courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and digitalnc.org.

March 9, 1893

“If you wish to learn something of the pioneer days of Watauga, we suggest that you read  carefully the long article to be found on the first page of this issue written by one of our aged pioneer friends,” recommend an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “His comparisons of the past and present are good,: and we heartily commend the article to our readers as an excellent production,” continued the editorial commentary. The article referred to was entitled, “Things Past and Things Present or the Memories of an Old Man,” with the sub-heading, “For The Democrat.”

In beginning his overview of Watauga history, the guest author began: “This winter will long be remembered as the cold winter of 1892 and ’03. I call it an old-fashioned winter, like those of my childhood days.”

Following a commentary on such childhood days, “happy days full of hope, joy and pleasure,” the author wrote that such recollection “reminds me of the topography of this country and the old pioneers who first came to this section in its virgin forests, watered by the tiny rivulets, sparkling creaks and flowing rivers. The forests then were teeming with all kinds of wild animals, such as bear, deer, wolves, panthers and many other kinds of small, game, and our fore-fathers found the native red man [sic] or Indian here, who was lord of all he surveyed, where ere he roamed. Such was the condition of this, our beautiful country, over a century ago.”

The author of this special feature, which continues on at much greater length, was not noted by the newspaper, but in the text of the article, the writer refers to “my grandfather Cutliss Harman [sic],” who “came to this section and bought the farm on which M.C., D.F. and D.C Harman now live, about the year 1781.”

March 7, 1940

“Travel Edition to Feature Boone,” a headline this week, made known that, “H.W. Wilcox, president of the Boone Chamber of Commerce, is in receipt of a letter from Highway Travel magazine acknowledging receipt of an article on Boone and Blowing Rock which will appear in the next edition of that publication.” Reported the story, “R.E Cochran, editor of Highway Traveler, states that the story is well written and well illustrated. When the magazine is off the press a number of copies will be available throughout this section.” Describing the authorship of the piece scheduled for national publication, the Democrat wrote that “Gene Wike, publicity director of Appalachian College, is the author of the article, while pictures have been gathered from the college.” Concluded the story, “Mr. Wilcox also reports that there is the possibility of another story, prepared by members of the Boone Chamber of Commerce, appearing in Trailway magazine at an early date.”

In other travel and tourism news, “Mayors Trip to Florida Success” reported that “Messrs. Gene Wike of Boone, and Grover C. Robbins, mayor of Blowing Rock, report the first annual mayor’s tour of Florida which ended last week a success, and already plans are under way for a similar tour next season.” Fifty-six regional mayors, along with chamber of commerce representatives, were reported to have toured the Southeastern United States, gaining publicity for their towns via newspapers, radio, and “banquets and luncheons [which] characterized every stop.”



Published in: on March 11, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 2

Construction_of_Downtown_Boone_Post_Office“Construction of Downtown Post Office,” King Street, Boone, North Carolina, 1938. Courtesy the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and NCDigital.org.

March 3, 1898

A front-page editorial attributed to “Our Washington Correspondent” in this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat presented the recent incident of the destruction of the U.S. battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, and the writer’s critique of the then-sitting Republican administration of William McKinley in responding to the incident. The Maine had been sunk on February 15 of that year, with two-thirds of the crew lost, and popular journalism of the time is sometimes suggested to have made the loss a pretext for war between the United States and Spain in the Spanish-American War. Wrote the Watauga Democrat‘s correspondent,

“How much longer Congress can stand the strain which has been imposed upon it by the action, or rather non-action of the administration upon the destruction of the battleship Maine and the killing of 250 of its men, in Havana harbor, without an explosion, is problematical.” Continued the article, “Mr. McKinley has disappointed many of his supporters, and nothing but the unwritten law under which Congress has always supported the President in all questions of policy affecting a foreign nation has prevented an outbreak before this.” Asserted the author, “[i]nasmuch as there are probably not 50 men in Congress who do not believe that the Maine was blown up intentionally, it is difficult to understand why Mr. McKinley and the Secretary of the Navy should so persistently assert their belief that the awful calamity was the result of an accident on board the Maine.” Later that year, partly due to pressure from the Democratic Party, the McKinley administration, previously hesitant to enter a war in Cuba, issued an ultimatum to Spain, which was followed by a declaration of war by Spain on the United States, to which the U.S. responded with its own war declaration. The United States was victorious in the war, and won temporary control of Cuba, as well as ownership of former Spanish possessions including the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

March 3, 1938

“Site for New Postoffice Is Approved; Work is Begun Wednesday On Property,” proclaimed a headline this week, introducing an article which detailed that, “[t]he procurement division of the Treasury Department has announced the acceptance of the Mrs. Emma Councill property as the definite location for the new postoffice building and Wednesday morning work had been started on the removal of the stone retaining wall on the front of the premises with the understanding that actual excavation work may be started by the end of the week.” Continued this announcement of the initial construction of Boone’s historic Downtown Station Post Office, “[t]hrough the cooperation of the city authorities, various interested individuals and the WPA administration, it is expected that the lot, which is directly opposite the present postoffice building, will be brought down to the grade required by the department in time for actual construction work to begin on the $75,000 structure by early summer. According to the authorities the building will be one of the most important structures thus far erected in any small city in this section.”


Published in: on March 4, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of February 24


“Men Threshing Grain,” an agricultural scene from Watauga County in the late 1800s. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library and DigitalNC.org.

February 27, 1890

“Edison’s Inventions,” a front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, began, “‘Do you know.’ asked a well(-)posted man of a group of citizens today, “how many patents that man Edison, we are all talking about, has secured?’ ‘A dozen,” one man answered; ten or fifteen, answered another.’ ‘Just 498,’ was the reply, ‘He has 131 patents in telegraphy alone. He has 180 patents in electric lights; 32 patents on telephones; 8 patents on electric railroads; 21 patents on the phonograph; 4 patents on ore milling and 73 miscellaneous patents. Besides all that, he has 300 applications for patents on all sorts of things now pending.'” Continued the anonymous commentator in this article, “[t]here is perhaps no living man so well posted on electric affairs as Mr. Edison. What he does not know about the world of electricity is not worth knowing;” and, on another topic, “[t]alking in telephones, he says the longest distanced telephone is 750 miles, between Portland, Me. [Maine] and Buffalo, N.Y..” The article also noted that, “[t]here are 170,000 miles of telephone wire in the United States, over which 55,000 messages are sent daily, and there are over 800,000 telephones in use. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are employed in the United States in business solely depending on electricity.”

“We are now trying to fix up the streets in our town,” reported a short article in the Local News section, “but it is rather a discouraging undertaking, when the streets are covered with hogs.” Exclaimed the author,”Oh! for the stock law,” apparently a reference to a wished-for (or existent, but not enforced) regulation of livestock roaming within town limits.

February 24, 1936

“New Ordinance Places Annual Levy on Taxis,” a banner front-page headline this week, introduced an article which relayed that, “[a]n ordinance passed by the city commissioners at their last meeting provides for the collection of $50 a year for each automobile operated in the city as a taxicab; and also levies a license fee of $25 on each truck used for hire.” Continued the item, “[i]n addition each taxicab owner is required to furnish a $10,000 policy on his car to protect passengers and property of others.”

“‘Briar Hopper Boys to Appear Saturday,” announced another headline. “The Briar Hopper Boys, whose musical renditions over radio station WBT have brought them national fame, are scheduled to appear in concert at the courthouse here Saturday evening at 8 o’clock. A second performance starts at 9 o’clock.” Noted the newspaper, “[t]he program is being sponsored by the Boone high school and the proceeds from a small admission charge will be used to aid the junior class in financing the junior-senior reception. Tickets will be on sale by students and later in the week at the Carolina Pharmacy.”

“$25,000 Allotted to Local College” announced that “George W. Coan, Junior, state WPA [Works Progress Administration] administrator, announced that $26,0010.13 had been allocated to Appalachian State Teachers College for the construction of six residences on the campus of the institution.” The new buildings were to be “modernly constructed from native stone,” and would consist of nine rooms each, for use by college faculty.


Published in: on February 26, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers