The Week of April 24th, 2011

“Village of Blowing Rock, N.C., Altitude 4090 feet” reads the heading on this early photographic view of the town.

April 21, 1904

Under the heading “Tracing the Leaks,” from the “Washington Capital,” an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat begins with this quote:

“’I have stopped talking to you fellows about the plans of this department,’ bluntly declared Secretary Shaw to a newspaper friend the other day. ‘I know, of course that I can trust you but I have learned not to talk to anybody when I am maturing an important movement. Now take this last refunding operation. Why man I said nothing to anybody about that and still news of it leaked out before I was ready for it.” The narrative continues with the press member: “’How did it get out?’ asked the newsman. The keen, gray eyes of the Secretary of the Treasury twinkled. He screwed up his face until it looked like a funny mask. ‘That’s what I’d like to know,’ he said. ‘Do you know,’ he went on to say, ‘since I come to think it over I do remember that I wrote one letter about it.’ ‘To whom?’ insisted the inquisitorial journalist. ‘To the President, sir, to the President sir,’ exclaimed Mr. Shaw, ‘but I clean forgot to tell him not to say nothing about it.’”

“President Roosevelt is trying to be real conservative (!) because he does not regard this as his own administration,” reported another item, “because he does not regard this as his own administration but as the filling out of that of his predecessor. All he asks is free reign in his own administration. Then something is going to drop.”

An item entitled “Facts about Russia,” taken from “The World’s Work,” relayed in staccato style these facts about the Russian Empire at that time:

“Two and one-half times as large as the United States and Alaska. 30,000 miles of coast line, half of it ice-bound. 36,000 miles of railroad, of it owned by the government (meaning unclear in the original). The United States has 53 times as many miles of telegraph, and send(s) 15 times as much mail. The United States has 23 times as many factories. One twentieth as much coal is produced, and one-sixth as much iron as the United States. Total exports, $320,000,000. Next to the United States as a grain producing country. Populations 66 per cent (ethnic Russians?), Pole 7 per cent, Finns 5 per cent, Turco Tatars 9 per cent, and Jews 3 per cent. Average laborer get(s) one fourth as much wages as in the United States. Only 90 daily papers.”

April 20, 1939

“Boone Folks to Attend Centennial at Duke” told in this week’s issue of the paper that “(a) number of Boone people will go to Durham Friday where they will attend the centennial program at Duke University, which is to continue through the remainder of the week. In all more than 1,000 people are to participate in the varied programs and processions.” Relating to local personages, it was reported that “Dr. Amos Abrams and Prof. J.M. Downure are the delegates from Appalachian College,” and “(o)thers from the city who will attend are Dr. and Mrs. W.M. Matheson.”

“Treasure Hunt Began Saturday,” with the sub-caption “City’s Retailers Start Unique Sales Event; More than 50 Prizes to be Given” announced that “Boone’s second annual Treasure Hunt got under way last Saturday, at which time visitors to the shops of the city were given trade tickets with their purchases, on the basis of which more than 50 valuable prizes will be given away at the end of the event on May 17. “ According to the article, “(l)ast year the Treasure Hunt brought hundreds of shoppers to the city and now, with an expanded prize list and with a more concerted  effort on the part of the merchants, it is expected this event will be far more successful than the previous effort.”  The Treasure Hunt was sponsored by the Boone Merchants Association.

April 23, 1970

“Wey to be Welcomed as New President of ASU”  reported that “Friday in Boone is Inauguration Day, and, from all advance reports, the community and the campus together will cancel its normal afternoon activity to welcome Herbert Wey back to Boone as the new president of Appalachian State University.” Tells the write-up, “nearly all businesses in town will close their doors from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., so that employees can attend the inaugural ceremony in Varsity gymnasium on the campus.” In addition, “(a)ll classes on the campus” were to be cancelled “beginning at noon,” and, “to permit the university’s staff members to attend the ceremonies, all departments, except for a skeleton crew in the campus steam plant, infirmary and the telephone switchboard, will be closed from noon until after the post-inaugural reception in the Plemmons Student Center.”

In other events, “Pollution Protest March Set” announced that a “protest-rally-march against the pollution of their campus and community is being conducted this week by the Student Government Association of ASU.” According to the story, “(t)he march was to start from the ASU soccer field at 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, as the climax of a massive day of clean-up efforts here and plastic bags were to be distributed Wednesday at the Student Center.” Those participating in the clean-up “were to leave the soccer field and go along the Blowing Rock Road toward town, picking up trash along the way. The march would then continue through town, terminating at the county Courthouse where the YDC’s car engine will be ‘lying in state.’ Then the marchers and the funeral procession would join for a grand march through town. On the soccer field, the trash that had been picked up would be dumped into a huge pile. In a celebration there-following, the last rites would be said over the car engine before its burial.” The news item, which seems to have been written prior to the events described, apparently omits clear definition of the “YDC’s car,” perhaps an already known feature of the community or of this event, but the elaborate ritual is described as having approval from the (University) Senate Steering Committee and the Community-Campus Relations Committee.

1938 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 17th, 2011

“America’s Switzerland” is the name given in this photograph to the “unrivalled Blowing Rock Country.” The picture captures the “famous ‘Blowing Rock’ (altitude 4090 feet) near Blowing Rock, N.C.” with an intrepid motorist in a motorcar bearing a sign proclaiming “Asa (or “Ask”?) Berringer”.

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

April 20, 1899

“I.O. Rich, the photographer, will be in town during court for the purpose of taking pictures,” reports an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “First-class work done, at reasonable prices and finished for you before you leave town. Give him a trial.”

An item reproduced from the “Newton Enterprise” read, “(a)t the beginning of the campaign last year some county papers laid down the rule that they would not support any county candidate who did not show his appreciation of their support by becoming a subscriber. Other papers intimated that men had been elected to office who not only declined to subscribe for their county papers but even sent to foreign cheap john printing offices for the little job printing which they had done, or at least wrote for the prices in order to beat down the home office. It is now in order for the papers to begin reporting their experiences with the men they kept their ink flowing and the presses rattling for last fall.”

A notice signed “W.H. CALAWAY, SHERIFF” reads, “I have notified all of my deputies to make levies for the collection of taxes immediately after court. This is positively my last call for taxes, and if you wish to save cost you had better settle up by the time named above, as I am determined to collect the taxes at once.”

April 18, 1940

“St. Luke’s Church has Building Plan – Brick Structure for One of Town’s Oldest Congregations Will Be Erected Soon” was the headline to a front-page item, accompanied by an “(a)rchitect’s sketch of the proposed new Saint Luke’s church, which is to be erected in this city during the summer.” The article details that “(a) handsome new church building is soon to be erected for St. Luke’s Episcopal congregation in Boone, on a lot owned by the church near the demonstration school.” The site was said to be “contiguous to the college campus, (and) is ideally suited for the church building, which will take the form of a chapel, designed to take care of the local members and friends of the church, as well as the faculty and student members who are in residence at the college.”

In related news, “Bishop to Visit Valle Crucis – Eighteenth Annual Session of Episcopal Diocese at Valle Crucis Next Week” told that, “The Right Reverend Robert E. Gribbin, D.D., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, will preside over sessions of the 18th annual convention of the Diocese meeting at Holy Cross church, Valle Crucis.” Notes the report, “(t)his will mark the first time the convention has met in Watauga county.” Scheduled events included two communion services, one accompanied by morning prayer, an evening service, an address by the bishop, and “moving pictures of the missionary work of the church, presented by John E. Burleson.” The priest-in-charge of Holy Cross church and the principal of the Valle Crucis school were named as hosts for the event. Closed the article, “(t)he general public is cordially invited to attend all sessions and services of the convention.”

April 18, 1963

“375 Workers Will be Employed – Shoe Plant to Be Established in Boone: 56,000 Square Feet (sic) Building Will be Constructed” was the banner headline across the front page of this week’s newspaper, with a subtitle proclaiming “Governor Gives Industry Full State Support”. The article following, with a dateline of “New York, April 9” tells that “Melville Shoe Corporation has completed plans for the establishment of a new shoe factory at Boone, North Carolina, its second production facility outside of New England.” Says the story, “(t)he plant will be completed in November and will be operated as the Blue Ridge Shoe Company division of Melville.” The report states that “(t)he company, with the rapid population growth of the south and west in mind, surveyed possible locations in many areas of North Carolina and selected Boone following discussions with a citizens’ group in Watauga County.” North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford was quoted as saying that the Melville company had “selected a splendid county in which to locate this facility.” The Governor also was cited as saying, “(w)e pledge the full cooperation of the state and its agencies to the Melville Shoe Corporation.”

“President Directs Agencies Give More Aid to Appalachian Area” reported that “President Kennedy  said Tuesday of last week he is directing federal agencies to give greater assistance and special consideration to the economically depressed Appalachian States.”  The President cited figures giving an unemployment rate of twelve and one half per cent in Appalachia, which was double the national average at the time. One proposed initiative was “a joint federal-state committee on the Appalachian region” to student problems and possible solutions, as well as Kennedy’s personal direction of “every department head and agency head responsible for programs which can properly contribute to the economic  development of the Appalachian region to review present programs and to make appropriate changes under present authorities and budgets in order to give greater assistance to the economic development of the Appalachian region.”

This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.


Published in: on April 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 10th, 2011

“Chetola Lodge” gives a glimpse of the famous Blowing Rock resort in an earlier era. Date of photograph unknown.

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

April 11, 1912

A poem run in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat with the parenthetical subtitle “with apologies to Edgar A. Poe” reads, in part: “Teddy upon a midnight dreary / Pondering – weak and weary; / Ruminating if the nomination / Would be his, as ‘twas before / When lo, there came a tapping / As of someone impatiently rapping, / Like of old at the White House door. / “’Tis some ‘Heeler’ in want,” he said, / “Simply that and nothing more.” The parody of Poe’s “The Raven” continues, at considerable length, with the appearance of “a ghastly form – a crow / As black as a howling midnight storm” who “perched upon the bust of Nero / Just above his office door.” The spectral bird responds to Roosevelt’s question, “Tell me quickly, I implore / Who will get the nomination / At the Chicago convention? / Will they give it to me as before?” with the response “Quoth the crow, Theodore, never, never more.” The Republican Party chose William Howard Taft as its Presidential nominee in 1912, rather than Theodore Roosevelt, who had already served as President for two terms during the years 1901 through 1909.

“Glorious News” proclaims a heading which continues, “comes from Dr. J.T. Curtis, Dwight, Kans. He writes: ‘I not only have cured bad cases of eczema in my patients with Electric Bitters, but also cured myself by them of the same disease. I feel sure that they will cure any case of eczema.’” Continues the claims of the item, “(t)his shows what thousands have proved, that Electric Bitters is a most effective blood purifier.” The thinly-disguised advertisement concludes, “(i)t’s an excellent remedy for eczema, tetter, salt rheum, ulcers, boils, and running sores. It stimulates the liver, kidneys, and bowels, expels poisons, helps digestion, builds up the strength. Price 50c. Satisfaction guaranteed by all druggists.”

April 11, 1935

The headline “Snow Flurry” introduced an article reporting, “(a) sudden flurry of snow came with a considerable drop in the temperature Sunday night, and fruit trees bore full blooms covered with ice. However, it is not believed that any appreciable damage came, since sunshine did not accompany slowly rising temperatures.” The news item concludes, “(i)ntermittent showers continue, and farmers are unusually late with their work, few potatoes or garden crops having been planted.”

“Western Girl is 1935 Rifle Champion” related on this date, “Shirley Frazier of the University of Washington Misses All-Time Target Record by One Shot.” The text of the article, which was accompanied by a photograph of the champion shooter in action, told that Ms. Frazier “shot six rounds of 100 shots as follows: 100, 100, 100, 99, 99, 100.. or, 598 out of a possible 600.”

“Belk-White Store to open Friday Morning” announced to the Watauga populace that, “(t)he Belk-White company’s new department store will open its doors to the people of the community and county next Friday morning, according to Mr. Cyrus White, executive of the company, who came up from Columbia, S.C. Tuesday evening.” White was reported to have “just returned from New York City, where he spent a week buying the merchandise for the local store,” and had told the newspaper that, within a few days time, the new establishment would have “a stock which will compare favorably to those carried by the metropolitan Belk establishments.”

April 14, 1955

“Bus Strike Cancels Boone Runs; Travelers are Re-Routed,” subtitled “Local Points Hurt Worst,” reported during this week that “(t)he strike of Atlantic Greyhound’s bus drivers, which has stopped the big transportation system’s vehicles throughout the states, has caused the minimum of inconvenience to travelers in and out of Boone, employees of the Boone Bus Terminal said Tuesday.” According to the report, “the bus terminal people say they have been able to take care of 95 percent of the travel through the facilities of the Trailways system.” A notification from Boone’s Postmaster, however, indicated that daily bus service to Winston-Salem via the Greyhound bus had been cancelled due to the strike, causing some delays in mail service. “No other local mails are handled by bus,” reported the item, which also noted that “Mr. Glen Wilcox at the bus terminal says that travelers can still go most anywhere by making detours on Trailways, but the service to North Wilkesboro, Mountain City, and local points have been crippled.” A resolution was hoped for, with “(u)nion spokesmen and company officials… trying to negotiate a settlement of the strike against the company, which normally handles about 43,800 passengers (per) day.”

Advertisements from the Watauga Democrat newspaper, Boone, North Carolina, USA, 1912.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 3rd, 2011

Three prominent businesses of Downtown Boone in days gone by – Farmers Hardware, the Northwestern Bank (in the location of the former Watauga Bank), and Western Auto – are shown in this photograph (date unknown).

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

April 4, 1912

A segment entitled “At the Training School” in this week’s installment of the Watauga Democrat noted that “(t)he different rooms are being greatly improved by various pictures and mottoes being hung on the walls. Nice table spreads and vases of evergreens are on the tables. This is being done by the students.” Other news from the forerunner of Appalachian State University included a report that “(t)he grand jury spent one half a day visiting the school. They went into every school room in the buildings and spent some time at the boarding houses.” Regarding school expansion and access, “Mr. Roy T. Brown, State Road Engineer gave a practical and interesting talk at morning prayer on Wednesday, on the location and building of roads. Assisted by Prof. D.D. Dougherty Mr. Brown surveyed a four and one half percent grade road from the old ‘Muster Field’ to the school farm on New River. This road will bring the farm within two miles of the campus. The road when built will be a most beautiful drive way.”

“Local News” began with the announcement “Easter next Sunday, let happen what may,” and contained several church-related announcements related to the holiday. “Rev. J.A. Yount, pastor of the Watauga parish, will preach at Mt. Zion church on Meat Camp on Good Friday also on Saturday and Sunday, with communion on Sunday,” read one such notice.

April 1, 1948

“Local Choir Goes on Tour – A Capella Choir to Give Concert Here Before Starting on Brief Tour” was a front-page headline, beneath a photograph of the Choir Director, “Miss Virginia Wary.” Reported the article, “(t)he Appalachian A Capella Choir will present a concert of choral selections in the college auditorium on Monday night, April 3, at eight o’clock.” According to the article, “the program has been carefully selected, with music drawn from all periods of composition, bearing always in mind to strike a balance between the light and the serious and, at the same time, neglecting neither the educational values of fine concert nor the elements of pure entertainment.” In the “short tour” following this event the newspaper reported that the choir “will sing in colleges and high schools as well as present a radio program over WLIX in North Wilkesboro.” Members of the choir included “Rachel Ann Vance and Stanley South, both popular singers of Boone.”

“Dimes Won’t Work in Parking Meters” told that “(m)any people persist in putting dimes in the parking meters, it is stated by Mayor Winkler, who points out that the machines are designed to work when nickels and pennies are inserted.” Says the story, “(t)hose using dimes, are not only wasting their money, but are liable to get a traffic ticket to boot.” As a helpful conclusion, the article suggests that “(t)hose not familiar with the operation of the meters are asked to read the instructions thereon.”

Another item, in the “King Street” segment authored by editor Rob Rivers, reported that “Boone will continue to build and grow… All the local contractors say they have their hands full… Most everybody wanting to build a house, a business building, or just do some repairing… One of the builders tells us that the high prices are little deterrent, and that as a matter of fact, a lot of folks are finding their most favorable time to build. When prices were low, they had no money. Now, prices are way high – but funds are forthcoming… anyway Boone will experience a busy year, from the talk we hear.”

April 5, 1962

“Spy Satellite,” a news brief on the front page this week, reported “(g)ood progress in development of a system of spy satellites designed to detect Soviet missile launchings almost instantly has been reported by United States officials.”

In related news, “Fear Soviet Trap” relayed that “(t)wo prominent Senators said that the United States should not be ‘trapped’ into delaying atmospheric nuclear shots by resumption of test-ban negotiations with the Russians. The chairman of the Senate’s Disarmament subcommittee, Hubert Humphrey, said he regards Russia’s announcement in Geneva a means of gaining time to prepare a propaganda drive against resumption of American tests. Senator Aiken (R., Vt.) feels there is pressure within the Administration against resuming testing.”

“Dougherty Named to N.C. Education Hall of Fame” recorded on this date that “Appalachian’s first president and co-founder, the late Dr. Blanford Barnard Dougherty, has been named to North Carolina’s Education Hall of Fame.” The article not only reported the posthumous honor to B.B. Dougherty, “who died at age 85 in 1957,” but included biographical details and career highlights of the noted educator. According to the segment, “Dr. Dougherty has been quoted as saying that he never planned to be a college president, or to build an institution. His chief ambition was to be a teacher of teachers, probably in some college. His work at the University of North Carolina, where he was the first student of Dr. M.C.S. Noble, was mainly in ‘pedagogy.’” Another reminiscence related that Dr. Dougherty “never married because he was married to Appalachian College.”

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment