This photograph bears the caption, “Watauga County Court House. Boone, N.C. Altitude 3332 feet. Highest East of the Rockies.” The building shown was built in 1904, designed (as were many other period North Carolina public buildings) by architect Oliver Duke Wheeler and company, and was torn down in the 1960s to make way for the current Watauga County government complex. Similar courthouse structures built in Avery and in Ashe Counties during the same era still stand today. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
June 13, 1901
News of the Boer War found its way onto the second page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “The truth as to South Africa is now coming in,” read one news item. “Several important British defeats have been admitted during the past week, and columns of casualties incurred in battles of which the outside world had never heard, have at last been published in the British papers.” Another short article reports, “it is said that within the next three months the British government will have to float another loan, unless the Boers give in before that time.”
In local matters, an article noted that, “Mr. W.W. Presnell is the possessor of a knife that is quite a curiosity. It was picked up in Ashe county some time since; resembles a Barlow very much, only longer; is an English knife and bears the date of 1760 plainly engraved on the blade. On the handle is rudely carved the name ‘J.M. Hartley.’ It was doubtless the property of some pioneer hunter long gone. Even the handles of the knife are in a fairly good state of preservation, and the owner prizes it very much.”
“From the Statesville Landmark,” relayed another item, “we learn that Grover, the 12 year old son of G.A. Critcher, formerly of this county, was thrown from a bicycle and seriously hurt, on Wednesday of last week. No bones were broken but a number of painful cuts and bruises were inflicted on his person. That paper thinks he is doing nicely, and that he will soon recover.”
June 10, 1937
“Tonsil Clinic at Valle Crucis” was an article in this week’s edition which told that, “(t)he Valle Crucis school took the form of a hospital Tuesday, when a tonsil clinic, sponsored by the county health department, was held on the premises.” The story reported that, “some twenty operations were performed, Dr. Robert H. King, Dr. H.B. Perry, Dr. W.O. Bingham, and Dr. R.H. Harmon composing the medical staff.” Three nurses assisted, including the school’s nurse, “Mrs. Glovier,” who “utilized several of her students during the progress of the clinic.”
“Boone Baptist Church Dates to 1871; Concise History Given” was the headline of a front-page feature, which proclaimed that, “(i)n connection with the opening of the new Baptist church in this city, the following brief, but rather complete history of the denomination in Boone, is timely and of more than passing interest.” The historical article lists seventeen founding members who comprised the original congregation of the First Baptist Church of Boone when it was originally organized in 1871. The first pastor was William M. Baldwin, who was elected to this office by the founders. This original group “worshipped in the original courthouse until it burned in 1873, when they moved into a Masonic hall and worshipped there until 1875, when the first building was completed.” The short historical article lists all seventeen pastors who had served the church up to the time of the publication of this account. W.L. Bryan and W.C. Coffey were named as instrumental in the building of the first sanctuary for the congregation.
June 11, 1973
“Blue Ridge Parkway is Ablaze with Blossoms” was the banner headline on the lead article of this week’s issue, which announced that, “(t)he floral display is continuing across the Blue Ridge Parkway, according to Granville B. Liles, Superintendent. The Parkway, considered one of the world’s most scenic and enjoyable drives, annually puts forth spectacular wildflower shows. The mountains blaze with color in spring and early summer when flame azaleas and purple rhododendron bloom.” To this glowing description was added an analysis by Parkway Superintendent Liles that, “(t)here were days of ice and frost earlier in May and then came the torrential rains of the Memorial Day weekend,” but, “as much of the bloom had not begun at the middle and higher elevations, the damage was not extensive.”
“Rain Damage to Highways is Estimated” told that “James Doughton, district highway engineer, estimates damage to the highways during recent flooding in eight Northwestern Carolina counties at $448,752, with roads in Watauga being most extensively damaged.” Members of the team which assessed the damage, including government employees based in Atlanta and Raleigh, “were scheduled to tour the area with Doughton by helicopter but because of weather conditions they came by car.”
“State Agency to Aid Airport Plan” reported this week that, “(t)he North Carolina Department of Transportation and Highway Safety, announced today that it will play a key role in the development of a State Airport System Plan. When completed, this plan will identify the means for developing a balanced system of airports to meet the needs of all segments of civil aviation in North Carolina.” The report, issued from Raleigh, described a statewide program in response to a nationwide initiative called for by the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970. To “offer the general public the opportunity to present their views on the plan (sic) development,” said the story, “public hearings of a conference nature will be held throughout the state at three stages of the project,” which was scheduled to wrap up by early 1975. The article did not offer speculation on what development in airports or air travel in the Watauga County area might be considered during this process.
This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.
1973 advertisement from the pages of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, Boone, N.C., U.S.A.