The Week of October 29th, 2009

Coe Gragg Brown 1949 Centennial

1949: Centennial of Watauga County - Jerry Coe, Mayor Watt Gragg of Boone, and Wade Brown

1949 Celebration of the Centennial of Watauga County. Pictured are (left to right) Jerry Coe, Boone Mayor Watt Gragg, and Wade Brown, in front of the Downtown Boone Post Office. Photo courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society.

October 7, 1907

“Facts about the Appalachian Training School” listed these details about the institution which would one day become Appalachian State University: “1. Two large school buildings; a sixty-room dormitory for women, and several boarding houses for men; 2. A faculty of seven experienced teachers; 3. Two hundred and ninety students last year; 4. Free tuition to public school teachers; 5. Expenses are very reasonable.” This feature concludes, “for more facts, address the SECRETERY OF FACULTY, Boone, N.C.,” and noted that “the next term begins September 6, 1907.” It would appear that this advertisement had been running for some time prior to the current issue, and was continued past the commencement of the aforementioned fall term.

Brief items in “Local News” included, “W.H. Parker, the music man from Lenoir, has been here several days talking pianos and organs,” “[a] country barn is being erected on the jail lot. A lot of horse racks for the convenience of the people would now be in order,” “Mrs. C.D. Taylor has returned  from her visit to her mother in Brooklyn, New York, where she spent two months vacation,” and, “[t]he cabbage wagons are now on the road thick and the vegetable is only bringing 60 cts. per hundred on the Lenoir market. And yet some men are opposed to a railroad.”

November 1, 1934

“Armistice Day Event Planned” reported that “[t]entative arrangements are being made by the Watauga Post, American Legion, to celebrate Armistice Day, November 11th, with a parade and other ceremonies and a public speaking, in which all the people of the county are expected to participate. It is planned to have all veterans, their wives and children, join in a parade at 2:30 p.m., after which the other ceremonies will be held at the courthouse.” Arrangements, including the keynote speaker, were incomplete as of the press time of this article, but it was noted that “[e]fforts are being made, it is said, to have a speaker of national prominence deliver the principal address.”

“Sheriff Captures Two Escaped Prisoners” published on this day that “[l]ast Friday Sheriff A.Y. Howell captured two escapees from the State Prison on Watauga River. Hoke King, formerly of South Carolina, serving a sentence for second-degree murder, was taken with Frank Campbell of this county, who had escaped the second time from prison where he was sent for forgery and larceny. The two men are being held in the county jail pending word from Raleigh.”

“Phillips Says Teague Cast Him in Boiling Mash,” a news item with the lengthy sub-heading “Blowing Rock Man Faces Charge of Throwing Wilkes Citizen into Vat of Boiling Still Sop – was Aiding Federal Officers in Destroying Illicit Outfit. Wataugans are Arrested on Serious Charge,” reported on what the Watauga Democrat called “one of the most interesting cases to come before the Federal Court.” Details of the alleged incident, which had taken place “several month [sic] ago,” indicate that “Hal Teague, Blowing Rock youth” was arrested as being the party believed to have “grabbed [Mr. Phillips] and thrown him into a large container of boiling mash,” following identification by Phillips of “the man who came very near to ending his life.” Teague was being held under a $5,000 bond, which he “has been unable to fill so far.”

November 1, 1956

“Winners are Announced in Jaycee Fire Prevention Week Essay Contest” told this week that “[t]he Junior Chamber of Commerce recently sponsored an essay contest on fire prevention in the four high schools of the county,” and that the first place winner was “Lenny Glenn, a junior at Bethel High school.” The winning essay was entitled “Why Fire Prevention is Important,” and was reproduced in full in the article. Cash prizes for the event were provided by “the Watauga Fire Insurance Agency of Boone.”

“Initial Plans for Burley Opening” noted that the “Board of Directors of the Boone Merchants Association met at noon Tuesday to discuss preliminary plans for an intensified trade-at-home, sell-at-home campaign aimed at promoting Boone as the best tobacco market and Christmas shopping center for the people of Watauga County.” The combined burley tobacco exchange and Christmas shopping bonanza in Boone was suggested by noting that “Boone warehouses will be open to receive the leaf beginning November 15.” Joe I. Coleman, “of the R.C. Coleman firm, operators of the Boone burley tobacco market,” was quoted as saying that “[i]t will be to the best interests of the entire county if Watauga farmers will sell their tobacco on their home market and trade in their home stores.”

Halloween of Yesteryear

A cartoon entitled "Halloween of Yesteryear," by A.B. Chapin, which was included in the October 25th, 1934 edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. From the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 22nd, 2009

Boone Fire Department, 1960

Boone Fire Department, 1960

“Boone Fire Department, 1960.” As listed in the accompanying inscription, fire department members pictured are, left to right, first row: Lewis Reese, Howard Cottrell, Charles Blackburn, Raleigh Cottrell, Joe Crawford; second row: Grant Ayres, R.D. Hodges Jr., Phil Vance, Cecil Greene, Cecil Carter, and Cecil Farthing. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

October 30, 1890

“Railroads in North Carolina” reported on this day that, “[a]lthough railroads are running to only sixty out of ninety-six county seats, they are running their trains within the borders of all but twelve of the counties of North Carolina. These counties are Hyde, Tyrell, Dare, and Greene, in the east; Stanly and Davie, in the center; Allegheny, Ashe, Watauga and Yancey in the northwest; and Transylvania and Clay, in the extreme west. In four of these, Stanly, Davie, Yancey and Transylvania, railroads are now in process of construction. A year hence we shall have railroads to sixty-three county seats and within the borders of eighty-eight counties.” Although the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad had been chartered in 1866 by the Tennessee General Assembly, and had reached Cranberry, North Carolina, by 1882, a line to Boone was not added until almost thirty years after this article, in 1919.

“This issue of the Democrat will be the last until after the election,” announced another item. “In our next we will publish the result, and it is with the democrats to say what the result shall be. If you go to work and work vigilantly until the sun goes down on the 4th of Nov. and bring out all the voters, you will gain a victory to be proud of. The republicans are unusually active and will vote every man in their party. Boone township is wide awake and will do its full duty, and will roll up such a majority as will astonish the natives. Every man to his post and fight the battle of the ballot to its finish and victory is ours.” It was also not until some thirty years after this issue that the newspaper publicly proclaimed itself “politically independent”.

October 25, 1934

“John D. Rockefeller Jr. to Pay Brief Visit to Mrs. Milton at Blowing Rock” captured a featured spot in this week’s edition. “John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Mrs. Rockefeller left Blowing Rock on Tuesday of last week, after having been guests since the previous Saturday of Mrs. David Milton.” Reported the Democrat, “[t]he coming and going of the celebrated oil magnate’s heir and his wife were veiled with such secrecy, it is said, that even the residents of Blowing Rock were unaware of their visit until after it had ended. Since that time, however, there has been speculation as to whether or not the Rockefellers may establish an estate in the Blowing Rock country.”

“Bulwinkle Cites New Deal as Boon to Great Masses” was another front-page item in this edition. “Hon. A.L. Bulwinkle, Major in the Thirteenth Division during the World War and representative in Congress from the tenth district for the past twelve years, answered the foes of the New Deal in an address to a large crowd of Wataugans who gathered in the courthouse Tuesday evening… Repeating the charges being made by Republican leaders that the liberties were being taken from the people, Mr. Bulwinkle entered into a vigorous endorsement of the Roosevelt era and decried the kind of liberties which brought hunger, cold, and general unemployment to fifteen million breadwinners in a land of plenty.” Also in defending the Roosevelt Administration’s policies, “Mr. Bulwinkle declared that mistakes were bound to occur in putting over such a stupendous recovery program, especially as regards the direct relief, but stated that the life of one hungry child was worth the expenditure.”

October 29, 1979

“Dedication,” a caption to a front-page photograph, reported that a “larger crowd than the meeting room could accommodate gathered Sunday afternoon for the renaming of the county senior center to the Lois Evans Harrill Senior Center, in memory of Mrs. Harrill who died this spring. Mrs. Harrill was instrumental in acquiring services for the elderly in Watauga. She also founded and served as director of the Project on Aging.”

“Halloween is for Little Kids” quoted then-Sheriff Ward Carroll as saying that, “Halloween’s the night for little kids, not grown folks,” emphasizing the commitment of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office to making Halloween a safe night for young Trick-or-Treaters and preventing dangerous and illegal activities. According to the article, “[t]wo of the most dangerous pranks that Carroll warned against doing are throwing eggs or blocking small county roads with stones or trees.” Tips on safe trick-or-treating from the Boone Police Department were also included.

Daniel Boone Hotel, once located in Downtown Boone

Daniel Boone Hotel, once located in Downtown Boone

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 15th, 2009

Cranberry, N.C.

Cranberry, N.C.

For a time in the early Twentieth Century, ore mining operations existed in such High Country locales as Elk Knob and Cranberry. Pictured here is the Cranberry operation, in a photo inscribed with the date of 1923. Image from the archives of the Historic Boone society.

October 17, 1929

“Two Imprisoned on Forgery Count” was among the local news items in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “A young man clad in working clothes, and unknown to the officials at the Watauga County Bank, appeared at one of the windows last Wednesday afternoon and sought to have a check in the sum of $43 cashed.” According to the story, this “check was charged against the account of Mr. A.C. Watson, but Cashier Hagaman was quick to note a discrepancy in the signature and refused to honor the draft.” The suspicious personage was pursued by a law enforcement officer, who “apprehended him a short distance west of the city.” The suspect had “made a complete change in his clothing” during the time after his exit from the bank, and was described as “well dressed, neat, and thoroughly presentable” when arrested.  A similar incident occurred the following day, when “a second offender, giving his name as Bynum Holman, attempted to buy a suit of clothing at the Davidson Store and offered a check in payment which was said to have borne a forged signature.”

“To Honor Memory of Late Educator” reported that “[p]lans are rapidly nearing completion for the memorial services which are to be held in the auditorium of the Appalachian State Teachers College on Saturday evening.” The program was organized to honor the then recently-deceased co-founder of the college, D.D. Daugherty, and it was expected that “former students of the institution from all over North Carolina as well as from other states” would gather for the memorial. The planned order of the event was to include a song, an invocation, an address entitled “Life and Character of D.D. Daugherty,” a vocal solo, and the unveiling, presentation, and acceptance of “life-size portrait of the well-loved scholar.”

An advertisement placed by Boone Drug Company announced “Prevent early colds! Colds caught in the Fall often last all Winter. Build up bodily resistance now by taking PEPTONA, our Best Tonic for enriching the blood, toning the nerves, increasing appetites and strengthening the system. Sold only at Rexall Stores.” The product’s advertised price was “Full Pint $1.00.”

October 17, 1963

“Lost Lad was Only Visiting” related on this day that “Jerry Ralph Hodges, the 14-year-old youth who ran away from his Trade, Tenn., home last Saturday night, was reported found shortly after the Democrat went to press last Tuesday. The boy, in good condition, was discovered at his grandfather’s home in Meat Camp, where he apparently had spent Sunday night and Monday. He returned home with his mother on Tuesday.”

“Watauga Citizens Sell Bonds for Shoe Plant,” an article with the sub-caption “Breakfast on Monday Kicks Off Campaign,” reported that “Watauga Citizens., Inc., a nonprofit corporation formed by the Watauga Industry Committee to construct and equip the new Blue Ridge Shoe factory of Melville Shoe Corporation, which is now under construction on Greenway Road and is expected to begin operations early next month, is presently making an offering of $650,000 of its 4 ½ % 15-year bonds at a purchase price of par plus accrued interest for sale in North Carolina to only bona fide residents of North Carolina.” This announcement was made “at a breakfast meeting at the Gateway Café in Boone” by Stanley Harris, “secretary-treasurer of the organization.” Members of the organization were encouraged to sell investment bonds in the company prior to their next scheduled meeting at the Gateway.

October 15, 1984

“County Retail Sales Record Set in July” reported positive economic news for the area, noting that “Watauga County recorded its highest monthly total of retail sales ever during July, according to a report from the N.C. Department of Revenue.” A figure of $25,345,660 was cited for the gross retail sales total in that month, exceeding by over one million dollars the prior record, which had been set in July of the previous year.

“Boone Construction is Setting Record Pace,” “Leaves Attract Crowds,” and a photo of motorists with a caption stating that “[a]ttendance records were broken at several area attractions” were other front-page features reflecting a boom economy in the Boone area.

On a more somber note, “Forest Becoming Vulnerable to Fire” highlighted the dangers of the autumn forest fire season. This article featured fire prevention tips from North Carolina Forest Ranger Ruby Johnson, who stressed that many Watauga County wildfires were caused by burning of debris gone out of control and “improperly maintained” electric fences. Recommendation for safety precautions in these areas were detailed in the article.

“Students are Getting Job Help” noted that, although many Appalachian State University students were able to enter the job market immediately after college, the economy had created a situation where “the job market [was] very competitive,” so that “[e]ach year, many students graduate from college only to be rejected by one potential employer after another.” The University’s Career Planning and Placement Office was listed as a resource for job-seeking students. A “sooner the better” job search policy was particularly recommended, both in job-seeking and utilizing career advisement opportunities at the Office.

Do you have historic photographs or other memorabilia about the Blue Ridge Parkway which you would be willing to share with the public for the upcoming 75h Anniversary of the Parkway? Please email if you have photos to share!

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 8th, 2009

1920s downtown Boone

1920s downtown Boone

Bearing the caption “down town Boone, 1920s,” this old photograph shows an unpaved King Street with automobiles of the period. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

October 11, 1900

“Dr. J.M. Hogshead, Cancer Specialist, Banner’s Elk, N.C.” had an advertisement in this issue of the Watauga Democrat, under the heading “No Knife; No Burning Out.” According to the ad, “[h]ighest references and endorsements of prominent persons successfully treated in Va., Tenn., and N.C.” attend this physician. The notice also urges, “[r]emember that there is no time TOO SOON to get rid of a cancerous growth – no matter how small. Examination free, letters answered promptly, and satisfaction guaranteed.”

Another public notice entitled “Attention, Please” read, “I am now situated in the old post office building in Boone. WHAT FOR? To sell goods, and I will sell them cheap FOR CASH, too. I carry Notions, Groceries, Laces, Lace Curtains, Lace Pillow Shams, Curtain Poles, Stationary, etc. Also a full line of spice, cloves, ginger, nutmegs, chocolate, shredded cocoanut [sic], seedless raisins and flavoring extracts, etc. Give me a call and be pleased. YOURS FOR TRADE, (Mrs.) R.M. Green.”

In news of the week, “Washington Duke, of Durham, the great benefactor of Trinity College, has again given that Institution the princely sum of $100,000, making in all over a half million of dollars he has given to the school. The College now has an endowment fund of about $700,000, which, it is said, makes it the richest College in the South Atlantic States. This enormous endowment fund was created nearly entirely by the Duke family.”

October 10, 1940

“Famous ‘Tweetsie’ Gains Temporary Salvation in War” was a headline on this date. According to the article, datelined “Raleigh, Oct. 4,” the “[w]ar now raging may mean at least temporary salvation for ‘Tweetsie,’ rather famous train that operates on the only narrow gauge railroad east of the Mississippi. The August floods damaged the line of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway to the extent of about $50,000, so the company asked the interstate commerce commission for permission to abandon the line between Cranberry and Boone. Now it develops, conservation department officials said last week, that the 60-odd miles of lines between Johnson City, Tenn., and Boone form the only railroad outlet to a section rich in iron and other ores needed in wartime. Therefore, there is a possibility the I.C.C. will refuse to let the road be abandoned, and that tourists still may see and ride on ‘Tweetsie’.” Despite this optimistic report, the train line to Boone was not continued, and tourists were only later able to see and ride the historic locomotive after its restoration in a theme park setting in the 1950s.

“All Must Register – These Are Exempted” was another notice relating to the crisis of World War II. “You must register for draft unless: You are already in the armed forces or in the armed reserves, subject to call,” began the announcement, which continued with the allowed exemptions for those whose draft number was drawn, who would be expected to report for active duty unless falling into a specified set of criteria, including physical unfitness, having dependents who would be placed in hardship by the absence of their provider, conscientious objection, being “a member of a religious sect which does not permit military service,” holding the status of “a minister of the Gospel or a student in a theological seminary,” being “engaged in some industry the draft boards declares to be of the ‘essential class,’” or being “mentally deranged”.

October 11, 1956

The banner headline “Old Grads to Gather For Homecoming at College” called attention to several events slated for the upcoming celebration of Homecoming Saturday at the Appalachian State Teachers College. “All efforts at the college on that day will be toward welcoming back for the annual Homecoming celebration visiting alumni and their families, friends of the institution, and other visitors,” announced one article. “One traditional event of Homecoming – the annual ‘Old Timers’ reunion will be held in the college auditorium at 10:00 a.m.” Especially encouraged to participate in this year were “those who graduated from Appalachian before 1929, when it became a four-year college.”

“Registration Start Set for Saturday” made notice of a perennial occasion at this time of year – voter registration. “The registration books for the general election will open Saturday of this week, and will also be open Saturday October 20, and Saturday October 27, states R.T. Greer, chairman of the Watauga County Board of Elections… [v]oters who have reached the age of 21 since the last election and those who have moved into the county qualified under the residence section of the statute must register if they are to vote in the November 6th election. There is no general new registration, however.”

1918 ad for Swift Meat

1918 ad for Swift Meat

Fight! ad

Fight! ad

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 1st, 2009

Bingham House Hospital DB Inn

“Hospital – Boone” reads an inscription on the reverse of this photo, which also contains the handwritten note “Dr. Bingham Home (now Daniel Boone Inn)”. The Bingham residence served as a hospital for Boone until the building of a brick-and-stone edifice, which survives as Founders Hall at Appalachian State University. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

October 1, 1925

“Tells of Wonderful Growth of Miami” was a front-page headline in this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat. “We are using a paragraph from a letter recently received from Mr. H. W. Horton of Miami, Fla.,” reports the editorship of the Democrat. According to the letter in question, “[t]his town has enlarged its boundaries so as to take in some territory that has built up over the edges of the old corporation, and has more than doubled its population. We now have about 250,000 people, and if they had taken in Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Hialeah, all of which is really part of the city, there would have been another 100,000 population, and they are coming so fast that the railroads cannot haul material fast enough to build homes for them. There is demand for all the men that can be found, but the question is getting material fast enough for housing them.”

‘Confederate Resolutions” reported on this day, “Confederate reunion for the year 1925, camp Nimrod Triplett No. 1273: we the committee on resolutions, in behalf of the veterans tender our thanks to the faculty and students of the Appalachian State Normal College at Boone, Sept. 24-25, for their tender care, keeping and feeding veterans and friends through the reunion, and the cordial invitation to hold the next Reunion by kindness of the Normal School. E.M. GREER, GEORGE ROTEN, Com.”.

September 29, 1938

“Log Cabin Craft House Opens Oct. 7” made announcement that the “opening date for the log cabin craft house of Watauga handicraft is set for Friday, October 7th. At this charming little log house in Boone, on Highway 221, open house will be held all day with the public especially invited for a brief program and tea from 2 to 5 in the afternoon.” The article continues, “Everyone interested in seeing this building and the display of handicrafts from various parts of western North Carolina, or to know about the work to be carried on, are invited. Classes in weaving and other handicrafts will begin Monday, October 10, and registration may be made at any time. There is no charge for this instruction, which is under the supervision of the state department of trades and industrial education.’

“Goes to market” made announcement that “John Conway, manager of Belk-White Company store here, left Monday for New York City, where he will shop the northern markets and buy merchandise for the new Belk-White store which will open in Spruce Pine sometime in October. Mr. Conway will also buy merchandise for the local Belk-White store.”

October 8, 1964

“Watauga Craftsmen Will Exhibit at Winston Fair” announces that, “[a]mong the arts and crafts exhibits displayed at the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, October 6-10, will be the work of several well-known Watauga County craftsmen.” Among those exhibiting were Wood Lay artist Anne Moore, a “former art instructor at Appalachian State Teachers College,” whose craft was described as a “raised form of veneer pictorial decoration,” combining “the beauty of drawing and wood textures”, Mrs. Howard Carlson, “famous for her skill in weaving”,” “Mrs. Evelyn C. Nichols” with “the almost forgotten art of mixing potpourri”, “Mr. And Mrs. James McKinney, who operate the Gem Mine in Spruce Pine,” with handcrafted jewelry, Ben Hensley (a Spruce Pine ironworker), and “well known area wood carver Baxter Presnell,” who was “also known for his interest in folk music, which he plays expertly on the dulcimer.”

“The Mountain Came Down” was a front-page feature, illustrated by a black-and-white photograph of a local landslide. “The mountain came down last Wednesday after heavy rainfall in the area,” reads the photo caption. “A spokesman for the highway department said the big slide on Highway 321, about a half-mile below Green Park Hotel, occurred around midnight, Sept. 30 – Oct. 1. Last spring a slide piled up at the same place – in front of an overlook where traffic fortunately could be diverted. A bulldozer clears the highway: rock and dirt is stacked in the gutter directly behind the dozer.”

An advertisement for the A & P Supermarket announced in this issue “Super-Right” Heavy Corn-Fed Beef Steak (Boneless Top Round) for 85 cents per pound, Eastern Golden Delicious Apples at 2 lbs. for 29 cents, mild cheese for 45 cents a pound, and vine-ripe tomatoes for 19 cents a pound. “Open all day Wednesdays,” proclaims the A & P ad, as well as “open each Friday evening ‘til 8:00 p.m.” The A & P store was once located on the site now occupied by the Watauga County Health Department’s facilities, near West King Street and Poplar Grove Road.

The Mountain Came Down

“The Mountain Came Down” photo – a Rivers photo, courtesy of the Watauga Democrat newspaper (October 8, 1964)

1938 political cartoon

1938 political cartoon

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment