“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.