The Week of January 1, 2012

“Watauga Academy,” the first incarnation of the educational institution which would become Appalachian State University. First founded in 1899 under the Watauga Academy name by brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty, the school was originally housed in the building pictured in this photograph of unknown date. Image courtesy of Historic Boone.

January 4, 1940

“City Water Fails As Mercury Drops To Season’s Low,” proclaimed a bold headline on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which continued under the caption, “Tuesday Finds Town Without Water, Even For Home Consumption; Appalachian College Comes to Rescue and Water Made Available to Most Residents in Afternoon.” According to the story, “(t)he city water system, drained by thoughtless householders who left spigots running throughout Monday night to prevent frozen pipes, definitely went out of business in the early morning hours Tuesday and the town was definitely and literally dry, except for small amounts of the life-giving fluid carried in buckets from springs or wells of the more fortunate residents.” Apparently the town of Boone’s water supply had been “so weakened at the intake” from a “prolonged drought” that the week’s weather, in which “near-zero temperatures came following several days of intermittent snowstorms,” had caused conditions in which “the system froze in places.” Due to the exacerbation of  the situation by some residents leaving water running, “the town board [was] doing everything possible to persuade the people to conserve the water supply so that no further calamity would occur,” in part by passing an ordinance “setting a $10 fine as the penalty for leaving spigots running during the night.” An infusion of water from the Appalachian College, “pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons into the mains,” had made water available to some town residents, although “on some of the higher eminences in residential sections, water buckets were still bringing in enough of the fluid for cooking purposes” on the afternoon of Tuesday. Early morning temperatures were recorded as hovering between two and four degrees above zero.

January 3, 1957

“Yule Buying Hits New Boone Record: Quiet Holiday; No Crashes, Few Arrests” was a headline on this week’s front page. “Cash registers rang a merry Christmas tune for Boone merchants, as holiday shoppers thronged the streets and stores in an unprecedented wave of gift buying,” reported the feature. Though specific dollar totals were not yet available, it was reported that “local stores reported substantial gains in all gift categories over 1955’s record dollar value,” despite an “unusually warm December [which] caused sales to lag during the first weeks of the normal Christmas shopping season.” Most shopping was done in the last week before Christmas.

There were no traffic fatalities in Watauga County during the holidays, and the county sheriff’s department reported but a few criminal arrests (“four arrests for public drunkenness, one for driving drunk, and two for shooting firecrackers”). “Boone Police Chief Glenn Richardson reported an even quieter week end, with no arrests being made by his department.”

The same front page, however, reported “Bold Burglars Make Front Door Entrance” in a robbery at “Parkway Company, Inc., hardware store” in Boone during the week before the New Year, and the item “Penick Home Bulglarized” reported the removal of “a small amount of cash” from a pocketbook and the theft of about $200 worth of clothing, including a wedding gown, while the Oak Street home’s residents were visiting neighbors.

This narrow column advertisement announced the January 1940 movie selections at Boone’s Appalachian Theatre, “Western Carolina’s Finest Theatre.”

Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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