The Week of December 25, 2011

A wintertime view of a snow-clad Appalachian State campus scene (date unknown). Courtesy Historic Boone

December 24, 1914

“Moving Ahead” was the heading of an article reprinted in this week’s Watauga Democrat, reproduced from the Durham Sun. “Business continues to improve. There is no more cheerful theme, and all of us may be pardoned if we seem unduly joyous over the tangible evidence that commerce of all kinds is getting better,” narrated the item. Economic conditions were described as “better last week than at any time since the start of the European war,” according to “(n)o less authority than Dan’s Review.” “That there is improvement in trade is made clear in reports from all parts of the country,” continued the article, “(h)oliday buying is developing very well, and the colder weather has stimulated retail distribution and also helped some wholesale departments.” The feature concluded with the claim, “(i)t looks as if business has already improved to the point where it can ‘sit up and take a little solid food.’”

December 26, 1940

“Theatre Party Is Decided Success,” proclaimed a headline in this week’s newspaper. “The theatre party, arranged by the management of Appalachian Theatre, with the co-operation of the women’s Club and the Lion’s Club organization, and held Sunday afternoon was a decided success, with Santa Claus distributing toys and confections to three hundred of the poorer children of the community and county. An entertaining Christmas program had been arranged for the theatre gift party, and the kiddies assembled started off their holidays with a genuine good time.”

In other news, “Nazis Claim Liverpool ‘Worse than Coventry’” relayed that, “’Worse than Coventry’ was the phrase used last night by several Bomber and observation fliers in describing the damage inflicted on Liverpool last night by the Luftwaffe in a concentrated attack by ‘several hundred planes.’”

December 24, 1964

“Boone Stores Will Observe Christmas Day” was the heading of an article which announced this week that, “(i)t is recommended by the Merchant’s Association that Boone stores remain closed Christmas Day [Friday, that year] and Saturday. However, a good many of the stores have indicated they will reopen Saturday as usual.” The item indicated that local banks would be closed on both Christmas Day and the Saturday following, and that all “county offices will be closed starting Thursday at noon, for the remainder of the week. Town of Boone offices will be closed Friday and Saturday as will the postoffice (sic).” The conclusion of the article noted that “it is recommended that stores be closed both Friday and Saturday next week due to New Year’s falling on a Friday.”

“Ski Activities at Blowing Rock” was an item containing this calendar of events, from the Blowing Rock Ski Lodge: “Dec. 25 – Santa Claus will visit the lodge at 3 p.m., en route back to the North Pole. A torch light parade will be given by the ski professionals at 8 p.m. Dec 26 – Dancing. Dec. 27 – Races among skiers. Dec. 29 and 30 – Entertainment by the Cherokee Sweethearts. New Year’s Eve, Dancing and torch light parade.  Jan. 1 – Live entertainment. Jan. 2 – Ski racing and dancing.”

 A 1964 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina.

Published in: on December 25, 2011 at 1:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 18th, 2011

A portrait with the simple inscription “W.B. Greer” shows a Watauga area resident, perhaps from the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Courtesy Historic Boone

December 19, 1912

“Dirty air is far more deadly than dirty water or dirty food,” asserted a brief item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “Dirty air killed at least 6,000 North Carolinians last year. It will probably kill about the same number this year. Will you be one? It is largely a case of take your chances or ventilate.” The item did not mention either a source of statistics for the statewide fatalities reported and predicted, nor more precise details about the action urged by the term “ventilate.”

An advertisement under the heading, “Drives Off a Terror” read, “(t)he chief executioner of death in the winter and spring months is pneumonia. Its advance agents are cold and grip (sic). In any attack by one of these maladies no time should be lost in taking the best medicine available to drive it off. Countless thousands have found this to be Dr. King’s New Discovery. ‘My husband believes it has kept him from having pneumonia three or four times,’ writes Mrs. George Place, Rawsonville, Vt., ‘and for coughs, colds, and croap (sic) we have never found its equal.’ Price 50 cts. And $1.00.” Concludes the ad, “trial bottles free at all druggists.”

December 21, 1939

“Burley House to be Built for Season of 1940,” announced a banner headline on the front page of this week’s newspaper. According to the article, “(s)tockholders in the Mountain Burley Warehouse and other interested persons met Monday evening and laid concrete plans for the building of a second burley warehouse in Boone, and definite assurance is given that the new floor will be open for the opening of the burley season in December, 1940.” Said the write-up, “(t)he new warehouse will be a distinctly separate corporation from the Mountain Burley, it is pointed out, and land for the construction of the second house has already been secured adjoining the present structure. Financing reported by the new company indicated that “sufficient stock  having already been subscribed to take care of the transaction,” the new warehouse’s “papers of incorporation [had been] applied for,” with the chance to purchase stock certificates to be available to “interested persons in this region” in the future.

In related news, it was noted that the already-existing Mountain Burley Warehouse had “sold more than a million pounds of leaf for an average price of around $18.00 per hundred (pounds)” already in the 1939 tobacco auctioning season.

December 17, 1964

“Technical Job of Planning New Hospital Is Going On,” read a headline in this week’s paper, accompanying a photograph captioned “What goes here? Wataugans passed the joint school- hospital bond issue in the fall of 1963. The construction site, formerly the Greer property which is located on Deerfield road, seemed vacant, except for this sign [the photo shows a vacant field with a sign reading, ‘Future Site of Watauga County Hospital’]. The accompanying news article by Rachel Rivers detailed how, “(w)hen the staff of Watauga County Hospital moves into the hospital to be constructed on Deerfield Road, even the food and linen supplies will be there,” thanks to a “great deal of work [which] has been put into planning the new hospital during the last several months.”

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 11th, 2011

“Dairy Barn” reads the caption to this photograph from a collection of scenes of the school which is now Appalachian State University, as it appeared during the decade of the 1920s. Courtesy Historic Boone

December 12, 1912

“The public drinking cup is missing from the Southern train, and it will not be replaced,” began an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, reproduced from the Salisbury Post. “The traveler must carry his individual drinking cup, for health and cleanliness have decreed that the public cup must go. The law prohibiting the cup on trains went into effect the 16th and no cup adorns the old ice box at the end of the day coach where the masses of folks drank from the same broken glass cup.  The roads may later provide individual paper cups for the traveler, but the better way is for the public to provide its own cup.” Although the shared “broken glass cup” may have been more metaphorical than literal, the language of this announcement captures, perhaps, a recognition of the threat of disease transmission in public venues which was of heightened concern at this time in U.S. history.

December 11, 1941

“U.S. Is At War With Japan,” was a prominent headline in this week’s paper, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Washington, Dec. 8. – America declared war on Japan today after that nation’s air bombers had dealt the navy the severest blow in its history and inflicted losses which raised the harsh possibility that the Japanese fleet may now enjoy temporary superiority in the Pacific,” read the text of the report.  Continued the article, “(s)ome details of the savage Japanese attack – which admittedly cost the navy a battleship, a destroyer, a number of smaller craft, and killed or  wounded 3,000 – was given to the nation last night by President Roosevelt.” The Presidential address was said to have “supplemented the brief message with which he asked Congress for a declaration of war Monday – a request which both houses followed up with action that was breath-takingly swift and, save for one vote, unanimous.” The one abstaining vote-caster, not mentioned by name in this article, was Montana Republican and longtime pacifist Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

In a related story, it was reported that the “bitter resentment felt in this locality over the assault by Japan on United States territory, is strikingly reflected by a conversation between some merchants on the street Tuesday. They agreed to sort out all toys and trinkets from their stocks labeled ‘made in Japan’ and burn them in a demonstration on the square.” The same article related that another “rather large retailer stated that his firm had quit buying Nipponese goods many months ago, regardless of price consideration, not waiting for a major demonstration of Japanese infamy.”

December 10, 1964

“Jaycees Sell Yule Trees on King Street,” announced an article in this week’s Watauga Democrat. “The Boone Jaycees will sell Christmas trees again this year on the Wheeler’s Produce lot on King Street in Boone. They hope to have the trees available to start sales this Saturday, Dec. 12.”  This sale was called “the most rewarding for club members,” as the “proceeds of the tree sales will be used to help the needy children of the county have a Merry Christmas. Last year some 40 children shared this experience with the Jaycees and received clothes, toys and other needed items.”

A 1907 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper

Published in: on December 11, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 4, 2011

This view of the campus of the Appalachian Training School for Teachers (A.T.S.) from the 1920s shows a bucolic central area with the main buildings of the institution in the background. Courtesy Historic Boone.

December 5, 1912

“Horrors of a Cholera Camp” was a lengthy feature on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which bore a byline crediting the item to the Constantinople Dispatch. “Heartrending scenes of suffering, distress and misery are enacted daily at the Turkish cholera camp at San Stefano. The correspondent of the Associated Press, accompanied by the secretary of a foreign embassy and by Major Clyde S. Ford, United States army, who is here on leave of absence, paid a visit there.” The descriptive passage include the details, “a group of tents stood in the center, where four of five Turkish soldiers, wearing the armpiece of the Red Crescent, stood on guard. Inside the sick and dead lay in groups. The doctor on duty counted 22 patients in one tent, while double that number lay just outside… a water tank drawn by a donkey passed along the road. Those of the victims who were able to raise to their feet went unassisted toward it and struggled feebly for a drink.” The news item concluded that the place described was “not the worst cholera camp,” as another “at Hademkeni, near the Tehatalja lines, is still more extensive,” noting that of the disease-stricken there “it is certain that there are many thousands, and most of these Anatolians came from Asia Minor to fight for the defense of the Ottoman capital.”

December 2, 1943

“Crop and Feed Loans Available to Farmers” was a headline in this week’s paper. “Emergency crop and feed loans are now available to the farmers of Watauga county, according to C. Gordon Taylor, field supervisor of FCA,” told the story, “and applications are now being received at his office in the courthouse. Due to war conditions, the farmers are being urged by the manufacturers, says, Mr. Taylor, to buy their fertilizer early this year in order that delivery may be assured.”

An article entitled “New Bus Service Boone to Zionville” told that, “(t)hrough the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, an improved bus service was started between Boone and Zionville as of November 30.” The report noted that “(t)his new service permits people living between Boone and Zionville to arrive in town at 9:45 a.m., and return on the afternoon schedule,” with the return trip leaving Boone at 5:05 and reaching the western Watauga stop at 5:37. “The service is provided by the Greyhound Lines,” ended the piece, “and local plans are to later have connections at Zionville for Mountain City and Elizabethton.”

December 1, 1960

“Maximum Store Hours For Christmas Cited By Official,” proclaimed a bold heading this week. With a byline of Raleigh, the news item conveyed that “State Labor Commissioner Frank Crance today reminded Tar Heel employers of the maximum working hours permitted for women and minors under the State Labor Laws during the pre-Christmas rush of business.” Under the then-existing laws, women over age 18 “employed in mercantile establishments employing nine or more persons, may work a maximum of ten hours a day but not more than six of the seven consecutive days from Dec. 18 through Dec. 24.” Minors were limited to nine-hour work days for 16- and 17-year-old boys with work permits; girls of the same age were permitted “the same maximum hours and days of work but may be employed only between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.,” the notice reported.

Published in: on December 4, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment