“School House in Wilkes County,” reads the caption to this photograph from the archives of the Historic Boone Society. Exact name and location unknown. Courtesy of Historic Boone.
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June 26, 1890
A poem entitled “Lovely Watauga” by H.C. Moore appeared on the front page of the Watauga Democrat on this date. The poem begins “O! ‘tis a pleasure / Far beyond measure / During the hot summer days, / To find a retreat / In Watauga’s hills / And gladly repeat / On her winding rills / Watauga’s unbounded praise.”
This issue also includes this advertisement: “Linville: planned and developing as a great resort located in the mountains of western North Carolina, a region noted for healthfulness and beauty of scenery, at elevation of 3,500 feet, with cool, invigorating climate, is being laid out with taste and skill, and with well-graded roads and extensive forest parks, a desirable place for find residences and healthful homes – good opportunity for profitable investments.” The notice encourages readers to submit a request “for illustrated pamphlet” by “address[ing] Linville Improvement Co., Linville, Mitchell Co., N.C.” The town of Linville was located in Mitchell County at its foundation, and until the formation of Avery County as the state’s 100th and newest county in 1911.
A feature entitled “Progress” reports on the state of things in Blowing Rock. “We have several new buildings going up now, and have sold several new lots on the north end of our village. A finishing touch has been put on a most excellent road to Linville, via Grandfather, and [we] have a brand new road to May View. The new telegraph line from here to Boone will soon be completed… all these things, and more, we have, but there are some few things we haven’t got,” proceeds this article. “We haven’t got a set of town commissioners,” laments the writer, “who will grant license to a proper party to conduct a decent beer saloon on a petition signed by a majority of voters in the incorporate limits, as yet.” Given that the author of the piece is signed anonymously as “Foreigner,” it may well be that his endorsement of such an establishment, which is recommended as “considered ‘very necessary at any Summer Resort’,” given that “there is not a case on record where a resort of any kind has grown and flourished on the total prohibition program,” may be as likely a piece of tongue-in-cheek editorial satire (from a pro-temperance stand) as an unbiased report on the town of Blowing Rock, its growth, and its prospects.
June 26, 1919
“Without debate or amendment the Senate passed a bill authorizing appointment of a commission to acquire an American cemetery in France in which would be buried the bodies of American soldiers who lost their lives in that country during the war,” reports the Watauga Democrat of this week. “The bill appropriates $500,000 for the establishment of the cemetery.”
A local report details “the 4th of July Celebration,” preparations for which in Boone “are being made as rapidly as possible, and, the weather being favorable, we [writes the editor] confidently expect the greatest gathering that ever assembled here.” Expected special guests were to include “the soldiery of three wars,” and, being that “any interruptions will not be tolerated,” the article proclaims that “the greatest confidence is placed in the soldiers that they will abstain from drinking on that day – they could not afford to disgrace their uniforms, and should any one else decide to ‘fill up on corn liquor’ for the purpose of making an exhibit of himself on that day,” notes the paper, “[he] will be promptly attended to by the town or county authorities… it is to be handled roughly, no matter who the offender may be.”
June 27, 1963
Front page items for this week include the “‘Daniel Boone Crosses the Blue Ridge’ Official Program,” “ASTC [Appalachian State Teachers College] Junior Crowned Rhododendron Queen,” and several items about the co-celebration of the Wagon Train re-creation and “the Watauga County observance of the Carolina Charter Tercentenary Celebration.” Those assembling to participate in the Wagon Train were to assemble at Ferguson, Wilkes County, then camp at Darby, followed by a next night’s stop at Cook’s Gap, finally proceeding to the Conrad Stadium of Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone. An interesting side item, “New York Taxi Drivers on Good Will Tour to Boone Saturday,” noted that “twenty-five taxi drivers from New York City selected for their talkativeness and charm arrived at the Smith-Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem Thursday night for a 3-day promotional tour of the Old North State.” The feature notes that the Big Apple taxi drivers were scheduled for a greeting in which “the actors who play the Daniel Boone and Indian roles in the ‘Horn in the West’ outdoor drama will ‘ambush’ the cabbies’ bus.” The hoped-for result of the drivers’ visit was to “spread the word about North Carolina’s ‘Variety Vacationland’ among thousands of potential New York tourists.”
Ross Cooper is a member of the Reference Staff at the Watauga County Public Library in Downtown Boone. The microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from its beginnings in 1888 up to the current year, are available to the public at the Watauga County Library. The photographic archives of the Historic Boone society are also housed at the Library, and are available to the public during hours of operation.
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