The Week of April 29th, 2012.

“1950 Opening of Shirley-Ragan Service Station,” reads the caption to this photograph, showing the festive heralding of a new business venture in Boone.

Photo Courtesy of Historic Boone

April 25, 1907

“Lost.,” was the simple and solemn heading to an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat of this date. “A black and brown Scotch Collie dog, a fine young shepherd and I will give a suitable reward for the dog, or for information that will lead to his recovery. J.C. Horton, Boone, N.C. April 15th 1907.”

A letter to the paper reflecting thanks for the custom of “pounding,” or bestowing pounds of household necessities such as sugar and butter upon a preacher, gave this account, under the heading of “To the Good People of Boone”: “I desire to take this method of expressing my profound gratitude for the very kind favors bestowed upon us in the very severe pounding given us on the night of April 17th 1907. I hope to be able in some small degree to live so as to show my appreciation of friendship so abundantly proven. May the blessing of the kind heavenly Father rest abundantly on all the good people of Boone, is the sincere prayer of your sincere servant, J.F. DAVIS.” The “severe pounding” was apparently most gentle in its intent and bounteous in its bestowal.

April 25, 1935

“Cottrell Named For Boone Mayor; Board Is Changed,” a headline of this day, announced further, “Old Board Defeated, Except One Member.” Reported the story, “D. Jones Cottrell is the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Boone, as a result of a second-ballot decision of the nominating convention held in the courthouse held Tuesday evening at which twenty-six citizens of mixed political allegiance participated in the routine business of the meeting.” Reported the story, “[t]hese nominations are tantamount to election, since Republicans do not offer a ticket in this overwhelmingly Democratic municipality, and there is no indication Wednesday morning of any independent nominations.” It seems that, within the Democratic party’s local dynamics, changes were afoot: “Dr. H.B. Perry , a veteran member of the Board of Aldermen, was the only incumbent to receive a vote of approval, and his running mates are to be Charles Rogers and L.T. Tatum. Dr. J.D. Rankin, dean of Appalachian College, was a runner up in the aldermanic balloting.” The ending of the article noted that, “a new registration of voters is going on at City Hall with Mrs. Fran Williams as registrar. However, it is reported at the office that surprisingly few voters have become eligible for the franchise since the registration books have been open.”

April 24, 1969

“Dedication May 4: New Todd Post Office Is Reminder of Busier Times,” announced a headline in this week’s newspaper. U.S. Senator Sam Erwin Jr. was among the “important visitors to Todd” expected for the “[d]edication ceremonies of the new Todd Post Office.” The article reflected on the history of the community, including that “[i]t was the deer and elk that crossed through the valley that prompted the first settlers to name the settlement Elk’s Crossing. In 1837 first post office was established.” The article also noted that the “community decided to change its name later to Todd, in honor of a local man, a Colonel Todd who was a Civil War hero,” and that “early in this century, the demand for lumber brought a thriving new aura to the economy of Todd,” with the community boasting “eight or ten stores, a bank, a drug store, Masonic and Elk lodge halls, four doctors, a dentist, and numerous enterprising lumbermen.” Also, “[t]he hotel did a thriving business.”

1907 advertisements from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina.

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 22nd, 2012.

“Russel D. Hodges, Sr., was an outstanding citizen of Watauga County and known by all – from his student days at A.S.T.C. (Appalachian State Teachers College) to his service in the U.S. Navy to his contributions to his friends and neighbors,” reads a typewritten caption on the reverse of this portrait. “During the flood of 1940, Mr. Hodges served as the Chairman of the (Red Cross) Chapter’s Disaster Relief Organization. This picture was taken in 1920.”

Photo courtesy of Historic Boone

April 21, 1892

“There is no denying the fact that political matters are the leading topic in North Carolina at this time. But at no time in the history of the State has there been so much uncertainty,” began a front-page story in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, with a byline of “Raleigh, N.C.” and bearing the heading “North Carolina Politics.” “The republicans, who claim a ‘fighting chance,’ are very quiet. They don’t seem to be sure about a ‘fighting chance,’ even, this year,” continued the analysis. “Side (sic) from a few personal encounters between alleged bosses and a number of ‘cussing bees’ that some more of the alleged bosses have taken part in, there has been nothing to disturb the usual tranquil flow of party spirits in the State… The republican organs say to their people, ‘Let’s wait and see how many mistakes the democrats will make and then keep an eye on the third partyites all the while.’ The democrats are going ahead without knowing what to do. Perhaps the general feeling can be defined in this way: ‘We are all right if the third party don’t get us, we are all right if we get it.” One portion of the article  characterized the “two or three campaign organs in the Western part of the state” affiliated with the Republican Party by alleging that, “the tone of these are very much like the appearance of a dog whose master is engaged in eating fried chicken – they appear to be waiting for the bones.” The feature appeared during an election year when third parties – including the Prohibition Party, The People’s Party, and  the Socialist Labor Party – were making a showing on the political stage.

Other news this week, from the “Local News” column, included: “Spring showers;” “Grass is growing nicely;” and “Mrs. Dr. Councill has been very unwell for some days, but is now slowly improving.”

April 26, 1923

“Counterfeiters Fall Prey to Slouths [sic] Who Seize Mammoth Plant” was a prominent headline in this week’s edition of the newspaper. Tells the article, “United States officers assisted by Sheriff John Hardwood, of Durham county today effected the arrest of four men alleged to be part of a southern branch of Chicago counterfeiters, when a raid was made upon the home of Tom Davis, several miles from this city, on the New Hope Valley road and equipment for printing United States bank notes [was seized].” According to the account, seven men, all surnamed Davis, were being “held in the county jail under heavy bonds, three of which are $5,000 each.” The story also reported that, “Charles Davis, son of the man in whose house the printing outfit was found, was arrested in Chicago recently as a member of a gang of counterfeiters,” and the same member of the family was “said to have had a long and varied criminal record in North Carolina, and at one time served in the State Prison for forgery.” The Governor had, in the latter case, issued a pardon for the individual in question. The counterfeiters were said to have passed their newly-printed fake money “in Salisbury and other sections of the State,” but the false notes were described as “only fair specimens of counterfeiting.” Said the report, “[t]hey were printed on two thin pieces of paper with silk threads carefully placed between them,” so that “upon closer examination the notes can be readily detected as counterfeit.”

A 1948 advertisement for a show at the Appalachian Theatre,

     from the archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, N.C.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 15th, 2012.

“King Street crash circa 1950,” reads a notation on this photograph recording an unfortunate combination of automobile and local business. Photo courtesy of Historic Boone.


April 18, 1907

“Attention, Confederate Veterans!” began an announcement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “To the Veterans of Camp Nimrod Triplett No. 1273: You are hereby called to meet in Boone on Monday the 6th day of May, 1907, for the purpose of electing delegates to the National Reunion, which will be held in Richmond, Va., May 30th and 31st, and June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1907, and to transact such other business as may come before the body. E.J. Norris, Com. April 11, 1907.”

A posting entitled “A Card of Thanks” read, “(t)he undersigned desires to thank the kind friends in and about Blowing Rock, who at Easter time presented him with a purse of thirteen dollars, accompanied by a note unsigned but in words which meant more to him than dollars, causing him to resolve earnestly to strive to merit the sincere friendship evidenced thereby, and filling his heart with gratitude to God for the bearing of friends, whom he has formed during his short residence among the mountains of the old North State. William R. Savage.” The same individual’s name was listed in the “Church Directory” under “Episcopal Church – Third Sunday, 11 a.m. Rev. W.R. Savage.”

April 18, 1935

“Local Beauty Wins Coveted Honor,” proclaimed a bold headline on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. Reads the feature, accompanied by a sizable photograph, “Miss Ruby Hodges, daughter of Mr. W.B. Hodges of Boone, last Friday night was crowned queen of the Second Annual Blossom Festival at Southern Pines, N.C. Miss Hodges, who has spent the past several months at the famous resort, won the coveted honor by a margin of 1,120 votes over her nearest rival, Miss Mary Welch.  The festival was brought to a close with the colorful Queen’s Military Ball at the Southern Pines Country Club.” The featured photograph was credited as appearing “Courtesy Charlotte Observer”.

“Dirt May Fly on Parkway During Coming Summer” announced another headline of this week, with an article which related that, “(w)ork on the Great Smoky Mountains Shenandoah National Parkway will reach the dirt-moving stages early this summer, according to information coming from Washington and Raleigh.  R. Getty Browning, chief locating engineer for the North Carolina Highway and Public Works Commission, has expressed opinion that work would begin this summer, and in Washington Senator Reynolds, after a conference with Secretary (of the Interior) Ickes, expressed the belief that dirt would be flying on the Parkway in six weeks.” Other news in the same article included that an engineering “party at Boone is making the preliminaries at this time in the region between Bamboo and Aho near Blowing Rock.”

April 17, 1969

“Seven Area Counties Join Effort on Crime,” with a sub-heading “U.S. Funds to Sustain Local Action for Law,” was the headline of a story by Watauga Democrat writer Larry G. Julian in this edition. “Improved and extended law enforcement is the future for Watauga and six other northwestern Tar Heel counties following the establishment of the AWWASYA Law Enforcement agency.” The new agency’s creation was linked to a “Governor’s Committee on Law and Order” created by North Carolina Governor Dan K. Moore, which itself was created “following the passing of the Omnibus Crime Bill in Washington.” As part of the initiative, “(o)ver three million dollars will be spent in North Carolina alone to research the crime problem and take measures to upgrade law enforcement.”

Published in: on April 15, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 8th, 2012.

“Boone High School Band, c. 1939,” reads the caption to this photograph. Local photographer Palmer Blair is noted in an accompanying document as the second band member from the left on the front row.
Photo courtesy Historic Boone

April 11, 1907

News items in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat included the following: “North Carolina people seem to love to be swindled. A fellow recently turned up in Greensboro, who claimed he could tell fortunes. The women flocked to him and he, in order to tell their fortunes and avert pending calamities, etc., must have left in his possession money, jewelry or something of value belonging to the person whose fortune was to be freed from impending danger and calamities. Well he’s gone now and Greensboro women are out about $10,000 in jewels and money.”
Another notice read, “(a) ruling has recently been made by the postal authorities at Washington, which is this: Where a man keeps a vicious dog about the premises that endangers the carrier if he delivers the mail, such deliveries may be omitted.”
According to another brief note, “(t)he per capita of money in circulation in America at the present time is $32.33.”

April 11, 1935

“Bristol Man Caught With Over 100 Gallons Liquor,” told the headline of a front-page news article this week. “A man giving his name as Gene Dakin, hailing from Bristol, Va., and carrying 105 gallons of blockage liquar (sic) in a Ford pick-up, was captured by Policeman Gross a short distance out on the North Wilkesboro road Sunday afternoon. The capture was effected after a chase of about six miles. A companion to the driver escaped.” Concluded the story, “Dakin was fined $75 and the costs in Recorder’s Court Tuesday.”
“Snow Flurry,” announced another headline. Reported the item, “(a) considerable flurry of snow came with a sudden drop of the temperature Sunday night, and fruit trees bore full blooms covered with ice. However, it is not generally believed that any appreciable damage came, since sunshine did not accompany slowly rising temperatures. Intermittent showers continue, and farmers are unusually late with their work, few potatoes or garden crops having been planted.”

April 10, 1969

“Parking Cases Fail To Stand Up In Court Test,” proclaimed a bold headline on this edition’s front page. “The Town of Boone has lost its right to enforce parking regulations in the business district following a court battle to prosecute six people charged with failure to pay final notices for overparking,” according to the article. The body of the story related that, “Chief District Judge J. ray Braswell agreed with a brief submitted to him by attorney Stacy C. Eggers Jr. which claimed that the town had been using parking meters to gain revenue rather than to regulate parking on the street.”  The brief referenced was noted to have cited several precedents in similar situations, including a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of North Carolina which stated that “the lawfulness of parking for lesser periods than the meter allowed rested not on the demands of public convenience and necessity, but rather on the amount of money deposited in the meter.”

In other local news, “County Planning Board Is Named” announced that the “Watauga County Board of Commissioners Monday named a seven-member Planning Board to be in charge of zoning, water and sewer planning and other matters important to the county’s future,” earlier that same week.

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of April 1st, 2012.

Friday Afternoon Club – 1925-’27

“Friday Afternoon Club – 1925-’27,” reads the caption to this photograph, which identified those depicted as, “Front: Grace Councill, Carrie Bingham, Lucy Greene, Moe (?) Johnson, Bessie Casey, Mae Greene; Back: Mrs. Woosley, Tula Rankin, Mrs. Will Winkler, Mrs. Sproles (?), Hessie Limney (?), Annie Clay, Jenn(ie?) Critcher. Taken at the home of Austin and Mae Bell South.”

Photo courtesy of Historic Boone.

A longtime Boone resident has generously provided this additional information:

“Grace Councill was my first grade teacher in 1944. The fourth person on the front row is Mae Johnson (not Moe). She was the daughter of Etta Mae Greene, the sixth person on the front row. She was generally known as Etta, not Mae.

Etta was Etta Dougherty Greene, wife of Richard Greene of the Greene Inn and sister of the Dougherty brothers who founded the college there. In my family she was called ‘cousin Etta’ because she was married to ‘cousin Richard’ who was my grandmother’s double first cousin, his parents being brother and sister of her parents.”

      – Thanks for these additional details!

April 4, 1907

“A college professor of Ottawa, has written a book, ’Greater Canada’, in which he ventures that Canada will never be part of the American union,” began an article excepted from the Washington Post in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. The article, entitled “Canada and the United States,” goes on to opine, “(t)hat is as fate may determine. Fate has played a heavy role in the history of both countries since the middle of the eighteenth century. American independence was gained at Quebec the day James Wolfe met a glorious death on the plains of Abraham.” The summary of the unnamed professor’s book continues by suggesting that the British rout of the French in this conflict had the eventual effect of strengthening the cause for independence in the thirteen colonies, and posits that, at the conclusion of the War of Independence, “when the peace treaty was negotiated, England was anxious to ‘throw in’ Canada, but Washington would have none of it,” fearing a French claim on the territory in return for aiding the independent colonies. Since that time, the piece continues, Canada had “become the most valuable of all colonies and the most loyal, as was shown in the Boer war” (then newly concluded in South Africa). The author of the article believes, though, that, “if we (the United States) had Canada, it would carry immense satisfaction to the rulers of England. It would make American politics positively Anglomaniac. If the pear were ripe, she would certainly fall into our lap, with all her love for the mother country. In a few years she would be a dozen states with a score of United States senators, with no telling how many members of the House of Representatives.” The writer envisions a solidly pro-British North America, creating a world in which, “if England had America for an ally, she would not have to walk the floor again this century,” in the realms of war and diplomacy. The article concludes, though, “(f)ate may yet cut some capers for England, Canada, and the United States.”

April 4, 1935

“Cove Creek Boy is Essay Winner – James Brown Wins District and State Prizes for Paper on Farm Question”  was the headline of a story which reported in this week’s paper that, “(t)he faculty and student body at Cove Creek High School, and more particularly the students of Vocational Agriculture, are extending enthusiastic congratulations to Mr. James Brown, sophomore at that institution, who was recently notified that his essay on ‘The Importance of the Rarer Elements in Crop Production and in Animal Nutrition’ had won a district prize of $15.00 and also first prize of $25.00 for the whole state.” The newspaper article noted that, “Mr. Brown has won a great honor for himself and the Cove Creek department of Vocational Agriculture – an honor of which both he and the school may be justly proud.”

April 3, 1969

In a short item headed “Will Attend Nixon Dinner,” it was reported that “North Carolina’ state Republican chairman, Rep. Jim Holshouser, and his wife will attend a formal White House dinner next Tuesday, Republican state headquarters said Thursday.” Noted the article, “(t)he dinner will be for Prime Minister John Gorton of Australia.” Said the Watauga Democrat report, “the Holshousers are the first North Carolinians to be invited to the White House with the exception of ministers of the administration and Congress.”

1944 advertisement for the Red Cross, sponsored by the Northwestern Bank, from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina.

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