The Week of March 25th, 2012.

“Old Greene Inn – Carolina Pharmacy site,” reads the handwritten note on the reverse of this photograph. The image includes a sign indicating the name of the business as “Watauga Drug Store,” as well as Coca-Cola advertising and the results of a significant snowfall.

Courtesy Historic Boone.

March 27, 1919

“Part of a Soldier Boy’s Diary” was the heading of a front-page article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. Introduced as being written “somewhere in France” by “C.P., son of Mr. and Mrs. H.H.P. Dougherty,” the letter was said to be “of interest to his Watauga friends.” Began young Dougherty’s account, “I left home on Easter Sunday, went to the depot that afternoon and boarded the train Monday morning for Camp Jackson, arriving there at two o’clock Tuesday morning. I had to fill up a bed sack with straw, and retired. About six o’clock I heard a bugle, the call for us to arise. I stayed in the Depot brigade 156, and was there almost one month, when I went to the field artillery on the 25th day of May and stayed there until the 25th day of July, when I left Camp Jackson July 25th, and went to Camp Mills, New York, where I remained until Aug. 9.” The young recruit was next transferred to Boston, then back to New York, then “from there sailed for France, arriving at Lillerby, England, on Aug. 25,” after which the youth “sailed across the English Channel,” followed by a three-day train journey through France. A political cartoon just above this article entitled “Not Ashamed of the Bill” depicted Uncle Sam holding a scroll with “Cost of Victory” inscribed at the top, followed by a list of sites of battles in France, and ending with “army of occupation on Rhine” – perhaps the same force in which “Charles P. Dougherty, Battery F., 315, A.A.E.F. (Allied-American Expeditionary Force)” was serving.

March 30, 1944

Rats were very prominent in the news of this week. “Sanitarian Gives Timely Information As to Rat Control” was the headline to a story in which “Wade E. Eller, health department sanitarian,” relayed “some timely information as to rat control, and point(ed) out that the rodents, besides spreading typhus and bubonic plague, every person is said to pay $20 each year for damage done by rats.” The feature had recommendations concerning keeping rats out of buildings, use of poison and traps, and recommendations under the subheading “Can Rats Be Starved?” which answered in the positive, with tips including, “do not mix garbage with rubbish” (one of these presumably including food refuse), “throw no garbage into streets, alley, lots or yard,” and “keep all garbage in tightly covered metal cans.” Another front-page news item, “City Is Co-operating With Health Dept.,” reported that “Mayor Gordon H. Winkler has given authority to inspect all premises in the town for rat harborages and other health hazards, and to make frequent reports to the city hall of conditions in this regard.” In emphasizing the Town’s commitment to the local health agency (headed by Wade E. Eller), the “mayor expresses the desire of the city administration to co-operate fully with the department, and expresses the belief that the citizens generally will do likewise,” reported the newspaper.

March 25, 1965

“Bids were opened and contracts were let for the construction of the new Watauga County Hospital at a meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Court House, with the Board of Trustees, the Watauga County Commissioners and the architects in attendance,” related a front-page news story in this week’s edition. The article told that the winning low bid for the project was for a price tag of $996,500, submitted by “C.P. Street Construction Company of Charlotte.” Boone Mayor Wade E. Brown was referenced as having said that “all bids will be reviewed before the contracts are actually let,” and that “all concerned were very well pleased with the bid amounts as submitted.”

A 1944 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina.

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The Week of March 18th, 2012.

“Paul Arch Coffey, father of Paul A. Coffey, who served as county commissioner, tax supervisor, banker, and owned the old Parkway Hardware across from the downtown station, USPS. He was in his early 20s when he died,” reads the caption to this photograph.

Courtesy Historic Boone

March 20, 1919

“Produce Maple Syrup on Grandfather,” was the headline of a front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “The first modern equipment for the production of maple syrup from the sugar maples of western North Carolina has recently been installed by the Linville Improvement Co., Linville, on the north side of Grandfather Mountain,” reports the article. The company was headed by Mr. Hugh McRae of Wilmington and “his son, Capt. Nelson McRae.” The operation was said to have been “at the present time making a very fine grade of maple syrup.” According to the article, “(f)rom all over the mountains owners of sugar maples are coming from many miles to see the equipment and a number of them have expressed their determination to buy an evaporator, and other similar equipment, for operating their orchards during the future years.”

“I had hoped the Russian masses would get down to tacks in time,” began an article under the simple heading, “Russia.” Continued the column, “season after season passes, and the country’s still a crime: day by day the same old story, till the narrative’s grown hoary – how the butchers crazed and gory wade knee deep in blood and slime.” The graphic description, credited as having been a reprint of an article by “Walt Mason in (the Raleigh) News and Observer,” lamented that the hoped-for peace after the conclusion of World War I (described as when “old Kaiser Bill got his”) was overshadowed by the fact that, due to the civil war in Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution, “in Russia blood is flowing, there the scythe of death is mowing; never was so grim a sowing under the winter sun.” The author wrote that, “(w) e can only hope that later Russia may be safe and sane, when, the demagogue and traitor have been rounded up and slain; when the people get the notion that there’s nothing in commotion and prescribe a deadly potion for old Trotsky and his train.” The rhyming structure of this editorial seems to have been a signature feature of Mason’s opinion pieces.

 March 16, 1944

“Reds Encircle Another Group of Nazi Troops – Ten Thousand More Nazis Killed in New Push of Russian Army; Four Thousand Captured in Intense Fighting in the Southern Ukraine Section” proclaimed a headline of front-page war news in this edition. The details told that “(t)he Russians ‘encircled a large German grouping composed of several divisions. The enemy launched several attempts to break out of the encirclement but were repulsed. In these attempts (the Germans) lost up to 10,000 officers and men.” The Soviet commander reported that, “(o)ur troops in this area captured more than 300 guns of various calibers and took prisoner more than 4,000 German officers and men.”

March 18, 1965

“Million-Dollar Student Center To Be Built At Appalachian,” read a heading on this day. “Preliminary plans have been completed for a modern million-dollar student center at Appalachian State Teachers College, according to Ned Trivette, business officer, and H.R. Eggers, dean of student affairs. The facility will serve as a center for various indoor activities of the 3,500 students on the campus. The two-story structure will house a post office, lounges, offices and meeting rooms, snack bars and recreation areas.” The project was to be financed by “a Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency loan at an annual interest rate of 3 5/8 per cent over a 40-year period,” with “the debt… to be liquidated through student fees.” Stated the article, “(o)peration of the center will be on a self-sustaining basis.”

A March 1965 print feature from the Watauga Democrat newspaper, Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  

The Week of March 11th, 2012.

“W.R. Lovell, Lawyer, Boone, N.C.” is the caption inscribed on the front of this image. John Preston Arthur’s 1915 work A History of Watauga County refers to the location of “the law offices of Lovell and Fletcher” on a corner in Boone where once stood a residence built by George and Phillip Grubb.

Courtesy Historic Boone

March 13, 1919

“As a Northern Lumberman Sees Timber Conditions in Watauga,” read the headline to an interesting article on forest conservation in this week’s installment of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “Prof. B.B. Dougherty is in receipt of the following letter from Mr. J.D. Loizeaux, of Plainfield, N.J., who was in Boone some time ago, and is published in full by request of the school,” began the feature. “’I was in your town recently, and was sorry not to have been able to see you for a little while, which I had anticipated. Of course you do not know me at all, and I will simply say that we are lumber dealers, operating in your county to some extent for the past two years, and hope to continue it, increasing the production,” began the letter to the co-founder of what would become Appalachian State University. The correspondent says that, “(t)wo things have stood out before me as being most essential for the welfare of your beautiful mountain county. The first is that the forests are being wantonly depleted without any thought of recuperation. ‘” The letter, as reproduced, does not ever say what the second crucial thing is on Mr. Loizeaux’s mind, but he continues at some length on the matter or deforestation in Watauga County. “Your country, to my judgment, is essentially a forest region most valuable for that purpose, and what has already been put into cultivation certainly can be made very valuable for dairy purposes.  But, to think that this splendid forest land should steadily be denuded, would seem to me most to be regretted.” The letter-writer proposes that “(i)f the timber were cut judiciously, say about 50 per cent of the trees cut down, there would be at least 80 per cent of the timber harvested which is growing on the land, while the remaining 20 per cent embodied in 50 per cent of the trees is almost valueless as far as lumber is concerned. Yet, in 20 or 30 years this young growth opened up to the sunshine and relieved of the larger trees which take up the strength of the ground, will very quickly mature into beautiful lumber again.”

March 9, 1944

“Womanless Wedding Is Sponsored by Lions” reported an article in this week’s newspaper. “A womanless wedding, under the sponsorship of the Boone Lions Club, will be held at the Appalachian Theatre on March 14, with performances both afternoon and night. The majority of the members of the local club are in the cast, and a program of fun and frivolity is promised. The proceeds from the entertainment will go to the Lions Club blind clinic and for the benefit of the crippled children of the county.”

A short news feature headed “Vets Ask for Big Bonus” relayed, from Washington, that “(f)ive veterans’ organizations joined Monday in proposing that the government pay members of the armed forces bonuses up to $3,500 each for home service and $4,500 for overseas service. Seven members of the house introduced legislation to achieve this, submitting identical copies of a bill entitled ‘Veterans’ Adjusted service Pay Act of 1944.” The set of acts which came to be known as the G.I. Bill, providing educational opportunities and resources for ‘Servicemen’s Readjustment,” became law later the same year.

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 4th, 2012

This image shows a view of the 1960s “Wagon Train” event, in which locals from Wilkes and Watauga counties sought to re-create the trek of Daniel Boone and others over the Wilderness Road to Kentucky. Courtesy Historic Boone.

March 6, 1919

“North Carolina is sure to get there as soon as she has the modern highways on which to strike the pace,” began a short item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper (reprinted, according to the byline, from the Wilmington Star). “Other people can come into our midst as soon as they can come on good roads.”

Among the column entitled “Valle Crucis Items,” news of returning veterans of World War I relayed that, “Mr. Bob Campbell, who has been at Camp Sevier, is again at his old job, cler(k)ing in W.W. Mast’s store. Mr. James Farthing of Beaver Dams, who has been at Camp Greene, is again on his job at the Valle Crucis Bank. We are indeed glad to have the popular young soldiers back in the valley again.”

A story entitled “In Nebraska Blizzard” began, “Friend T.M. Greer, formerly of Watauga, but now of Bloomfield, Neb., in remitting to the Democrat, writes: ‘We are enjoying good health at present. Just had one of the worst blizzards for ten or fifteen years… We have snow drifts in our yard from twelve to fifteen feet deep. This part of the country suffered some in the loss of stock, however, we were fortunate enough as not to lose any.”

March 2, 1944

“Plan To Speed Rate Of Military Draft” reported in this week’s newspaper, “(o)fficials of the local selective service board are expecting a sharply accelerated draft rate as a result of the President’s order for an immediate review of occupational  deferments and a speedy start on making up a 200,000 deficit in army inductions.”

In related news, “Miss Hodges Enlists in U.S. Cadet Nurses Corps” told that, “Miss Willie Lee Hodges, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Finley Hodges, of Boone Route 2, has enlisted in the U.S. Nurses Cadet Corps. She is now at Shelby Hospital, Shelby, N.C., where she is taking training.” The article notes, “Miss Hodges is the first young lady from Watauga County to enlist. She received her education at the Appalachian High School.”

March 4, 1965

“Broyhill Is Named To GOP Committee” was the header of a front-page news item of this edition, which told that “Congressman James T. Broyhill of North Carolina’s 9th District has been named to serve on the Republican Policy Committee of the House of Representatives in the 89th Congress. The North Carolina Congressman will continue in the post to which he was first named two years ago.”

In other news, “Chapter Is Registered: Wagon Train Officers Named At Darby Meet: Limit of 80 Wagons Is Set For ’65 Event” related on this day that, “(t)he charter for incorporation of the Daniel Boone Wagon Train has been received from the Secretary of State and registered with the clerks of the Superior Courts of Watauga and Wilkes counties.” The Wagon Train was told to have been “(o)riginated by (Clyde R.) Greene in June of 1963,” and had subsequently become “an annual event.” Orginally “(s)ponsored by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, which controls the outdoor drama, ‘Horn in the West,’” the Wagon Train had been “delegated by the Association last fall to begin a movement for incorporation between Wilkes and Watauga counties.” The 1965 Wagon Train event was to assemble for its start in North Wilkesboro, then travel to Ferguson, Darby, and Triplett, finally ending up in Boone, thus “traversing the southern prong of the Wilderness Trail cut by Daniel Boone on his way to Kentucky.” The article noted that the “(wagon) train was originated as part of the statewide Tercentenary Celebration in 1963 – the three-hundredth anniversary of the Carolina Charter.”

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm  Comments (5)  

The Week of February 26th, 2012 (delayed)

“IRC Groundbreaking, 1953: ?, Watt Gragg, Alfred Adams, Glenn Andrews, Dempsey Wilcox Sr.,” reads the caption affixed to a photograph recording the inception of one of Watauga County’s longest-extant manufacturing enterprises. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

February 24, 1910

This week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper featured an article drawn from the Charlotte Observer which ran under the title “A Foolish Measure.” According to the story, a “bill has been introduced in the legislature ofKentucky making it a misdemeanor for a candidate after election to break his campaign promises.” The proposed bill would have required candidates to “announce their position in regard to all pending bills,” and stated that “these declarations are to be filed with the clerks of the counties of the respective candidates.” The newspaper report critiques this idea for having “little real force,” claiming that, “(t)here are few politicians who could not dodge such a law,” alleging that, “(i)f they can pull the wool over their constituents’ eyes, they would have no trouble in convincing a jury that they had violated no campaign pledge.”

February 25, 1926

“Chamber of Commerce In Interesting Meeting” related in this week’s paper that, “(o)n the third Monday night of this month, being the 15th of February, there was a very interesting meeting of the Boone Chamber of Commerce at the Critcher Hotel. The program was in the charge of the State Normal (School).” Several professors from the Appalachian Normal School were reported to have addressed the assembly, including “Dr. Rankin” who “was asked to discuss the relation of the school to the town,” and “Professor (I.G.) Greer,” who “was asked to discuss the relation of the town to the county.” Dr. Rankin’s address was reported to have been “very interesting from every viewpoint,” and Dr. Greer’s talk was said to have “suggested many things that we should do, all of which should be carried out.”

News from Advent Christian Church in Boone reported this week some progress in Sunday School attendance (“The church membership is less than 80. The Sunday school attendance averaged 32 for the month of January… (o)ur goal for next Sunday is 60”), reported that the “Lutheran Sunday School attended the preaching service and everybody was delighted to have them with us at both services,” and reported on the close ties with the Christian Church in the Foscoe community. Special announcement was made that “Elder R.N. Baldwin, pastor of the church” was planning “by special request of the church at Foscoe” to present “a series of sermons combating the theory of Evolution. He has given much time and study to the arguments on both sides of this question and is prepared to present his views, which are non-sectarian, but at the same time a clear-cut defense of the Bible, to any community which may wish to avail themselves of his services,” reported the church news column.

February 28, 1957

“Farmers Plan Limestone Use” announced on this day that “(m)any farmers are ordering limestone early this year, since experience has proven that lime ordered early is delivered more nearly on time. Since the weather is a problem before seeding time, it is advisable to have lime delivered to the farm as soon as delivery trucks are able to get to the fields. 529 tons have been ordered early already and approximately 200 tons are being ordered daily.”

Another short news item reported that, “Indiaformerly inaugurated the first nuclear reactor in free Asia.”

Published in: on March 4, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment