This aerial view of downtown Boone by photographer Palmer Blair shows the Daniel Boone Hotel in the near-right foreground, with the sizeable burley tobacco warehouse on the site currently occupied by Watauga County Public Library above and behind it. No date is affixed to the photograph, but the image probably was made sometime in the early 1950s.
Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
September 26, 1912
“The big wagon factory at the Mission School at Valle Crucis was destroyed by fire on Saturday evening last,” reported a news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “We are told that the fire started from a spark from one of the engines, and was beyond control when discovered. The loss is variously estimated at from $5,000 to $10,000. The loss of this valuable plant is a matter of deep regret to the people of the entire county.” The exact type of “wagon” produced at Valle Crucis and the type or extant of the factory are not further indicated in the story, but similar manufacturing in this year elsewhere produced early prototype automobiles, and the engine spark mentioned may suggest the presence of internal combustion engines for self-propelled vehicles.
“The programme (sic) for the Confederate reunion in Boone last week was carried out beautifully, and is said to be one of the most enjoyable meetings the camp has ever had,” told another feature. “The Rev. J.G.W. Holloway preached a sermon to the veterans on Thursday afternoon that is very highly spoken of. The Reunion closed Friday afternoon with a general handshaking among the soldiers and their many friends who were present.”
This week’s edition had several announcements and reports of a seasonal County Fair, and included this interesting notice, apparently relating to a travelling act which had become a regular, perhaps annual part of the Watauga County Fair festivities: “The Jones Show that exhibited in Boone last week will, as soon as possible, erect at the grave of Mrs. Sheridan, who is buried in the cemetery here a nice stone to her memory. Deceased was a member of the show; and died here in 1908. Those who are now with the show are in no way related to the dead woman, but through the kindness of their hearts, they are doing this without reward or hope of reward, their last tribute to a dead friend.”
September 24, 1942
“Eight of the ten convicts who escaped last week from the local prison camp are still at large, and have successfully eluded prison guards and other officers who have conducted practically a night and day search throughout this section,” according to a news feature on this week’s front page, which ran under the headline “Eight Escaped Convicts Still Elude Capture – One Other Escapee Taken Near Deep Gap; Luther Moretz Shot By Convict; Flees Scene and Leaves Car Stolen from Bristol Man.” As revealed by the heading, one escapee, “Dearman Williams, (was) taken into custody near Deep Gap,” and “A.G. Kiser was captured a few hours after the break on a wooded hillside near town.” The tragic death of Luther Moretz, “resident of the Rich Mountain section,” occurred after the victim was “shot by one of the three men who last Monday stole an automobile” from the ill-fated local resident, subsequent to the break from prison of the gang of convicts.