The Week of August 27th, 2009

1949 Watauga Centennial Photo

This photograph bears the caption of “Cecil Miller, Nell Linney, and 1949 Centennial.” Watauga County celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1949. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society.

August 30, 1923

In “Stony Fork News,” with a dateline of “Stony Fork, N.C., Aug. 27,” it was noted that “a movement has been started to build a graded road from the post office here to the highway. Some of the men gave several days work last week blasting and clearing out the roadway. This is something that has been greatly needed and it will mean a great deal to the community when completed.”

Also, “Miss Flora Green went yesterday to Jefferson to visit relatives for a few days and to have some dental work done.”

A lengthy article on a new law requiring registration of motor vehicles told, “[r]egistration of all automobiles and other motor vehicles, including trucks and motorcycles, by their manufacturers’ and engine numbers is required by the new law, which also makes it unlawful for a person to operate a car on or after Oct. 1 unless registration has been made or applied for.” The article also claims that “[i]t was said at the time the act was presented in bill for the legislature that that out of more than 200,000 motor vehicles in North Carolina over 7,000 were stolen and that the majority of the operators of these automobiles were ignorant of the fact, not knowing at the time of purchase that they were buying stolen property.” Also related in this article, “registration blanks will soon be mailed [to] automobile owner[s], accompanied by copies of the new act. The registration blanks must be filled out and mailed to the secretary of state with the nominal license fee required. The money derived from the fees will be deposited to a special trust fund, part of which may be used in maintaining a corps of deputies authorized with police powers to enforce the new act and other traffic regulations.”

August 25, 1940

“Public Schools of County Will Open on Monday” heralded the news that “all of the public schools of Watauga County will open for the 1940-41 session on Monday morning, September 2, it is announced by County Superintendent W.H. Walker.” A disclaimer was included to the effect that “[d]ue to the flood damage to roads, it is expected, the school buses may not be able to get to the end of all the bus routes, but will go as far as possible. School children are asked to co-operate for a few days and walk to where they can be met by the buses. At V.D. Ward’s the children will cross the Watauga River on a footbridge, where another bus will be waiting to take them to Cove Creek school.” The epic flooding of 1940 was still being most tangibly felt as the new school year strove to begin in a normal fashion. The same article notes that “high school students are requested to bring $2.40 to pay their book rental fee in order that they may get their books on the first day. Text books for elementary students are furnished by the state without cost.”

August 27, 1959

“Horn in the West Gains Scant Local Help,” a feature subtitled “Writer Says Actual Work Done by Few,” chronicled the perennial financial woes of Boone’s historical outdoor drama by opining that “[e]ver since the official audit of the first season of the ‘Horn’ revealed with certainty that its financiers were backing something less than a big money maker, there has been a waning ardour for colonial culture, and for historical preservation, among many of its backers… quite truthfully, it has been a matter of too little, too late.” According to this article by Ralph Tugman (Democrat Staff Writer), “[t]he brunt of the load has been, and still is, carried on by five men, each of whom serves without compensation. Those men are James Marsh, G.C. Greene, Jr., R.D. Hodges, Jr., Dr. L.H. Owsley and Hugh Hagaman. Upon their heads falls much criticism, to their side rushes but precious little aid from any of us. They have repeatedly told us they need our help desperately.” The Watauga Democrat author, while proclaiming that “it is not the purpose of this writing to proclaim the value of Horn in the West,” nonetheless suggests that the brave endeavor of producing the outdoor drama might well be worthy of consideration for support by the local community.

Mountain Lumber ad

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 20th, 2009


Photo Caption:

This photo, without caption or inscription, is filed in a box of the archives of the Historic Boone society along with a reprint of a 1969 newspaper article on a great flood which afflicted Boone some seventy years earlier. Perhaps this unidentified gentleman is surveying the damage of this same flood, which reportedly did considerable damage to Boone’s downtown area.

August 19, 1926

“Mayview Manor sold to Gresham for $270,100,” although carrying a bold subheading stating “sale unconfirmed,” was a feature article on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “E.B. Gresham, of Charlotte, was the purchaser of Mayview Manor, one of the biggest resort hotels in the East, for $210,100, sold at public auction at Blowing Rock Tuesday.” The unconfirmed nature of the sale at press time was because “[t]his sale is subject to the confirmation of the federal court under order of which the hotel and other property of the late Walter L. Alexander was being sold.” The total property included “the hotel and annex, the girls’ dormitory, Mayview Laundry, two large garages and some other property, considered part of the hotel.” The buyer, Mr. Gresham, was noted to have had “a string of hotels to his credit,” including such properties “in Spartanburg, Charleston, Columbia and Florence and other Southern cities.” Among other portions of the Mayview properties which had not been sold in this transaction but were being sold off separately was the “Green Park Norwood golf course” which was “bid in [sic] by L.P. Henkel of Statesville.” Says the article, “[t]his is an 18-hole course and adjoins Green Park Hotel.”

“Rainbow Trout are Now Available at Hatchery” announced that “[t]he Democrat is in receipt of a letter from J.K. Dixon, Chairman of the Department of Fisheries, to the effect that the commission will have for distribution at the Boone hatchery 70,000 rainbow fingerlings. Interesting is that the eggs from which these fish were produced were taken from the wild fish in the State of Michigan, and in the opinion of experts along this line fish produced in this way are stronger and thriftier than those taken from domesticated stock.” The feature concludes that applications for a share of the trout could be obtained at the office of the Watauga Democrat or from “J.W. Bryan, local fish warden.”

August 24, 1950

“Police Chief Called to Navy” reported during this week that “Police Chief Coy Greene, member of the Naval reserve since the war, was called last week back to the service and reported today to the Great Lakes Naval Base, as Hospital Corpsman third class, being the first of the local reservists called back, so far as has been announced.” Greene was noted as having “served the city well in the capacity of both patrolman and police Chief, and the administration regretted his resignation.”

“Baptist Association to be Held Tuesday, Wednesday, Aug. 29-30” announced that “[t]he 1950 session of the Three Forks Baptist Association will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 29 and August 30, and will be presided over by Rev. R.C. Eggers, the moderator.” The two days of meetings were scheduled to be held initially at Perkinsville Baptist Church on Tuesday, then move “across the hill to the nearby Three Forks Church” for the Wednesday session. Among the items on the agenda were an address by the moderator, committee reports, “the annual sermon by Rev. Raymond Hendrix,” election of officers, another sermon “by Rev. Bynum Trivett,” and a memorial service.

“Number Telephones in Boone Shows Increase” reported that “H.M. Inabinet, manager for the Bell Telephone Company, said that there were 757 telephones in service in Boone today, as compared with 345 at the end of 1945. There are 11 long distance circuits as compared with five years ago.”

August 18, 1977

“Few Changes Expected as Students Return to School” was the lead headline in this week’s installment of the Watauga Democrat. Among the “few changes” which were noted was “the absence of a school superintendent who has been suspended pending a court hearing on charges of misusing school credit cards and forgery and the shuffling of two principals due to another school board investigation.” Valle Crucis and Bethel schools were both rewired over the preceding summer, and “every school will have at least two classrooms refurbished with furniture and carpet.” It was also reported that “the schools will initiate Governor Hunt’s reading program this year with partial funding,” with emphasis on teaching reading being supported by “three [teaching] aides … added at Blowing Rock and five at Hardin Park,” in addition to continuation of three aide positions already hired for Parkway School. According to the article, “[t]he Watauga County School system has been putting its emphasis on reading for the past several years and according to [school board liaison officer] Mrs. [Lucille] Barnett, ‘Our teachers feel that reading is an area that needs to be stressed.'”

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 13th, 2009

Daniel Boone Hotel

Photo Caption:

The Daniel Boone Hotel, as pictured in a postcard from “Asheville Post Card Co., Asheville, N.C.” (no date). The hotel stood in downtown Boone from its opening in 1925 until it was demolished in 1982. Daniel Boone Condominiums now occupies the site. Image courtesy of the  archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 15, 1901

“There is no kind of advertising so cheap as newspaper advertising and there is no kind that produces such immediate and satisfactory returns, says the Worcester Spy,” claims a report in the Watauga Democrat of this date. “The posting of bills, the use of street car signs and the mailing of circulars cost infinitely more per thousand for the same amount of advertising, and it is seldom effective.”

“Tell a boy to do as he pleases and he will do it without a murmur,” opines a brief feature.

In international news, “[a]ccording to the representatives of the Venezuelan Government here… the rebellion there has been put down; it was never begun; and it doesn’t amount to anything anyway.”

Fashion reporting noted that “it is said that Chicago dudes have sent to Paris for a Frenchman who will teach them how to dress. They did well to send, but why did they go so far as Paris?”

“The Census discovered only one donkey in Washington,” relates a national news item. “Evidently Congress was not in session at the time, notes a writer.”

A merchant’s ad began, “ho for Blowing Rock! This is the watch-word now for thousands of people in the crowded cities, towns, and country who are longing for one sweet, deep, long draught of our pure, life-giving atmosphere. And they are pouring in daily.”

August 16, 1934

“Majestic Demonstration at Local Hardware” records that “Mr. Guy E. Bissette, factory representative for the Great Majestic Ranges, is at the Farmers Hardware Store this week, where daily demonstrations of the improved range are being made. Something of the popularity of the Majestic is revealed in the fact that more than fifteen ranges were disposed of in the same period last year.”

“TVA Cannery Has Run for 3 Weeks; Prices are Rising” states that the “Tennessee Valley Authority cannery at Cranberry, operated under the Carolina Mountain Co-operatives, is now running full-blast three weeks after its establishment, and information coming from Mr. L.W. Arthur is to the effect that prices being paid are advancing, especially as regards blackberries, which have been bought in huge quantities from pickers in Watauga County.”

“Final Routing of Parkway is Expected Soon” was a front-page feature detailing planning of the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to the story, datelined Washington, “Secretary Ickes of the Interior Department Tuesday mapped the somewhat zigzagged course which he will follow in reaching a final decision on whether the Shenandoah National Parkway shall take a westerly course after reaching Blowing Rock, N.C, into Tennessee or continue on through North Carolina and enter the Smoky Mountain National Park via Asheville and Cherokee.” The Interior Secretary was planning a trip to visit the potential sites for the routing of the Parkway.

In “Wilkes Murder is Still a Mystery,” the Watauga Democrat reported on the conclusion of “the trial of the most sensational murder case in northwestern North Carolina’s history.” According to this report, “[t]he murder of Leoda Childress in Wilkes County remained as much a mystery Saturday afternoon after a Superior Court hearing as it did when the young woman was found dead by her neighbors at her country home last December.” Four defendants were released after the judge “announced that the State had not put up sufficient evidence to hold any of the five defendants on the charge.” The fifth defendant was still held in custody “pending trial in the murder of Andrew Eldridge seven years ago.”

August 18, 1955

“Board Told of Excess AHS Pupils” reported that the “overcrowded conditions prevailing at Appalachian High and Elementary Schools occupied the attention of the Board of Education and County Superintendent at a special meeting held last week,” resulting in the decision “to reassign certain students, who had been coming to Boone, so that they will attend their own districts.” The meeting included “representatives of Appalachian State Teachers College, of which the Boone High and Elementary Schools are departments,” among whom were “Mr. Chappell Wilson, Mr. John T. Howell, Dr. A.B. Crewe, [and] Mrs. Frances Greene,” as well as the State Bus Route Supervisor. Mr. Wilson, dean of the Appalachian State Graduate School, had drafted a letter to the School Board at the close of the prior year stating that “the Appalachian High School and the Appalachian Elementary School were faced with extreme overcrowding and that unless additional facilities could be built it would be impossible to enroll the anticipated number of students in these schools for the 1955-56 school year.” During the August meeting, Mr. Wilson “pointed out that the High School in Boone started out with 175 students, and that the enrollment [had] increased to 475.”

“Robert Thomas Plays Difficult Horn Role,” an article by Bob Isbell, noted that Boone’s outdoor drama, Horn in the West, featured the “monumental” figure of “Robert Thomas of Oxford,” a “towering” figure of six feet, five inches in height. The actor portrayed Dr. Geoffery Stuart in the 1955 Horn in the West season, and had previously made a television appearance “on Arlene Frances’ ‘TV Talent Patrol,'” where he was “declared winner” after competing on “a series of shows.” Thomas had also appeared in productions by Chapel Hill’s Carolina Playmakers.

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 6th, 2009

NL & Addie Mast Home & Store - circa 1905

Photo Caption:

The N.L. and Addie Mast Home and Store in Mast, N.C., circa 1905. Photo courtesy of Terry Harmon, Diane Williams, Anna Lynn Turner, and Randy Feimster.

August 7, 1919

“Let Us All Get Back to Work” was the heading of a front-page item in this day’s edition of the Watauga Democrat – a title, as revealed in the text of the article, taken from “Bearnad M. Baruch, chief of the economic section of the American Peace Commission.” The story begins with the assertion of the newspaper writer that “[w]ork is the world’s salvation. It has been work, yea hard work that within the short space of three centuries has made America the richest country on the globe, and it will be good, honest work that will make the future secure.” After this introduction, the feature goes on to cite some of the ideas of Mr. Baruch, and his “excellent words on work.” According to Baruch, “work is the cure all for envy, hatred, malice, avarice, and general satisfaction. It is the talisman for contentment, comfort, self-respect and above all peace. A man who really works is too busy looking after himself and his family to engage in bitterness toward others. But, of course, the work must be rewarded so that he is better than a slave. It must be done under such conditions that he can keep his head high and feel himself the equal of all. We must eradicate the gross disparities that have existed.” Mr. Baruch is also quoted as saying that “we want no war between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’,” and that “each man should have the reward that comes from effort.” In the aftermath of World War I and the recent Russian Revolution, perhaps the American Peace Commission’s representative was concerned with the possibilities of further war and upheaval as a result of class inequities.

In the same issue, “Trust-Busting to Come” notes that “it begins to look as if the job of trust-busting undertaken by the American people and their government a few years ago was left so incomplete or was so largely undone during the war, that it will have to be tackled afresh.” One arena in which this newspaper article suggests there are still monopoly-like controls are among “the meat packers,” who were “steadily acquiring a monopoly of many of the chief food products of the country.” In fact, reports the story, “their grip is not confined to meats but is rapidly reaching out and fastening upon numerous other products.” The meat packing companies “contend that such concentration of commercial power eliminates waste of effort, saves expense, makes for greater efficiency, renders smaller profits possible, and thus benefits the public by providing lower prices than can be secured in any other way.” Interestingly, the article’s author contends that “[t]his is the familiar argument of the advocates of state socialism, to which system majority opinion is opposed, and the packers will hardly be able to convert the public to such a view” and asks,” [i]f we cannot trust the Government to administer the food supplies of the country, still less can we trust a huge private combination which has nothing in view but the accumulation of wealth for itself.”

August 6, 1959

“Plans Made for Museum Opening: Crittenden and Greer to speak at Dedication of Tatum Cabin” notes that “the Southern Appalachian Historical Association will officially open its museum Friday, August 14, when the dedication of the Tatum Cabin will be held.” The story relates that “the cabin, located on Horn in the West grounds, was presented to the Southern Appalachian Historical Association by I.T. Tatum, a descendent of the Revolutionary War captain who built it.” The cabin had been kept in the same family until the prior year’s donation, “when Mr. Tatum gave it to the historical association to be the nucleus of a proposed museum” of the era of Daniel Boone. The site was to be dedicated in an evening ceremony, presided over by “Dr. Christopher Crittenden, head of the N.C. Department of Archives, of Raleigh, and Dr. I.G. Greer, president of Southern Appalachian Historical Association, of Chapel Hill.” The 7 p.m. dedication was “to be over by 7:45, in time for attendance of Horn in the West.”

“Masonic Picnic Will be Held Next Saturday” announced a picnic at Camp Rainbow “located in the beautiful Hills at Foscoe,” which was to be “a revival of the custom of holding an annual Masonic picnic, abandoned some thirty-five years ago.” The event was to include a meeting, a tour of the camp, recreations, a vesper service, and a covered dish picnic. “All Masons, their families and Eastern Star members are invited to come out and bring covered dishes,” concludes the notice.

August 9, 1976

“Blue Ridge Parkway Sets All Time Monthly Record in July” reports that “more than two million visits, an all-time monthly high, were reported on the Blue Ridge Parkway during July, helping push year-to-date visitations over 13 percent ahead of 1975, the record year.” A drop in Parkway visits in June led Parkway Superintendent Joe Brown to speculate that “many potential visitors had delayed their vacations until after July 4 bicentennial events, and that the remainder of the summer would see greatly-increased travel,” which seemed to be borne out by July’s record-setting figures.

“Waldensian Celebration is Planned” tells that “[t]he town of Valdese, which was settled by the Waldensian people from the Cottian Alps during the last century, will hold a ‘Waldensian Celebration of the Glorious Return,’” a commemoration of the return of the Waldensian Protestants “to their native valley during the 17th century after persecutions of Louis XIV had driven them out.” In addition to “native games, foods, and crafts,” an antique auto parade, dance demonstrations, tours of the Waldensian Church Museum, and performances of the outdoor drama “From This Day Forward” were to highlight the celebration.

1916 plow ad

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 12:20 pm  Comments (3)