The Week of October 28th, 2012

Bearing the caption “Dutch Creek Falls,” this photograph of an unknown date shows an unidentified gentleman in front of the Valle Crucis landmark.

Courtesy Historic Boone

October 31, 1889

“A Curious Clock,” an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper announced that, “(o)ne of the most curious clocks ever made will soon be finished. A bronze figure four or five feet tall, and worth $700, grasps a rod which runs through a hollow brass globe, nearly eight inches in diameter. The globe is engraved with meridians and the parrallels (sic) and the various countries of the earth.” What perhaps made the clock most distinctive were the facts that “none of the machinery appears,” all the works being “hidden within the globe and within a little pill box affair behind the glass dial,” and that the clock was a multi-time zone instrument, wherein “a glance will show you the time of day at any city you may name.” The feature declared that, “(w)hen this clock is finished it will be marked a fancy figure, and will find a ready sale.” The $700 value ascribed to the statuary figure alone would be equivalent to about $17,500 in 2012.

October 28, 1926

“Two Boone Ladies Are Signally Honored: Mrs. Moretz and Mrs. Huggins Elected President and Secretary of Third District Federation,” an illustrated front-page feature this week, announced that, “Mrs. J.M. Moretz, president of the Worth While Club, was elected president of the third district of the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs at the closing session of the district meeting in Statesville last Wednesday, and Ms. F.M. Huggins was elected secretary. And in addition to this the ladies from the metropolis of the mountains landed the next district meeting.” According to the report, the “next meeting of the district will be held in Boone in the fall of 1927 either in late September or early October.” The just-concluded Statesville meeting was said to have included “a round table discussion of various club problems,” and a presentation by the state chairman, who “discussed some items of the year’s programs in club work, etc.”

October 29, 1942

“Scrap Campaign In County Yet On; Results Lag,” related that the “campaign for the collection of scrap metal in Watauga county continues, and despite the fact that Watauga county is near the bottom of the list in the tabulated state totals, this situation will change materially when the junk which has actually been gathered in the various communities of the county, is brought in to places where weighing facilities are available.” Stated “County Salvage Chairman Harry Hamilton,” some “former delays in providing transportation and lack of scales at many of the collection points, have kept the official score for the county down, but that now the state highway trucks are hauling the scrap and soon complete figures will be available on Watauga’s efforts.”

An ad from a 1954 edition of the “Watauga Democrat” newspaper of Boone, North Carolina

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Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 21st, 2012.

“Dr. and Mrs. William Matheson – Dentist Office,” reads the brief caption inscribed on this partially-damaged photograph.

Courtesy Historic Boone

October 17, 1889

An article under the headline “Waiting for Gabriel” reported in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat that, “(a) rumor that the little band of Adventists located at Eatontown, N.J., had fixed upon midnight to-night as the end of the world, and that a farewell of all things earthly was to have been taken yesterday, attracted several curious people to the pretty little village yesterday afternoon. It had been asserted that these followers of the doctrine of William Mille(r), the Massachusetts enthusiast and the founder of the secret (sect?), were ready with their ascension robes and were wainting (sic) in the full expectation that the sun was going to rise but once more and that with the coming of Oct. 7, the dread trump would be sounded and the ‘third woe’ of Revelation made manifest.” As reported by the local Watauga newspaper, the expectation of a specific date and hour was “proved to be incorrect,” and, at least according to one Adventist leader cited (“Ezek Wolcott, the local leader” in Eatontown), the non-ending of the world was attributed to differences between the Hebrew and Roman calendars, with the prophesied end having been forecast for “the seventh day of the tenth month,” which had since been discovered to be according to the ancient Israelite reckoning rather than the modern Gregorian calendar. The article reported that “careful and exhaustive research has convinced present believers that they have at last, in their possession the key to the mystery, and that there cannot possibly be a mistake this time.” According to the report, many in the extended Walcott family were members of the group, and one, during a prior anticipated apocalypse in 1873, “mounted to the roof of his house, and there waited until it became dark,” at which time “a brilliant meteor shot across the sky,” whereupon “the Elder took the flight of this heavenly wanderer as a signal; and, crying with a loud voice, ‘The hour has come!’ he leaped into space.”  Those  “in the lower part of the house were startled by a large crash at the same moment, and they ran out to see the elder shoot through a grape arbor and land partly on his nose and partly on his stomach.” The ill-starred Elder survived with one broken arm and emerged “so bruised that large amounts of liniment were found necessary to ease his pain.”

October 21, 1926

“Election Returns By Radio,” a front-page news item in this week’s paper, narrated that, “In an effort to render the best possible service to Democrat subscribers and friends, the management has arranged with the Boone Electric Company to install its very best radio set in The Democrat office on election day, so that those interested may come in election night and receive state and national returns. The machine to be used is of the best make and there will be no difficulty in hearing reports from the various states. A cordial invitation is extended to all to be our guests at that time.”

October 22,1942

“American Airmen Rain Bombs On Japs (sic) in Solomons,” announced an article with a dateline of “Washington, Oct.20,” which told that, “(i)n a strenuous effort to disorganize Japan’s big Solomon island offensive before it can really get started, American flyers are showering enemy troops and supply dumps with bombs in a non-stop series of raids, it is reported  tonight.” Guadalcanal was a particular target during the bombing campaign. As of press time, however, it was reported that “there was no means of telling… whether the air raids had altered Japanese plans, or whether the enemy was following a prearranged schedule of getting set and fully prepared before launching a land offensive designed to wrest the vital Guadalcanal airfield from the American marines and army men.” After fierce fighting on land and by sea over the next two months, Japanese military commanders eventually decided to withdraw from the island of Guadalcanal.

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of October 14th, 2012.

Construction of the Downtown Boone Post Office, circa 1938. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

October 11, 1900

An item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat filed under the heading “The Association Muddle” and opening with the address “Editor Democrat” made claim that, “(w)e, the members of Watauga Baptist Church, wish to rectify some mistakes made by G.W. Trivett in his article of Sept. the 16th.”  The letter-writers, including J.L. Barlow, Gen. Berry, Ruffin Berry, Charley Coffey, A.C. Calloway, and E.M. Gragg, wished it to be published that although Trivett had “stated that he was informed that we had no board (food provisions, in this case – R.C.) for him or any one who voted the democratic ticket,”  “(w)e say that this is untrue, for anyone would have been welcome in our homes, regardless of their politics. As for his preaching almost without pay,” (another claim apparently included in Trivett’s earlier article), “we say that he was not justifiable in that statement.” Continued the clarification letter, “(h)e also stated that not a single member of the church, save two, invited him home with them, and we, the undersigned, do solemnly swear that we gave G.W. Trivett a cordial invitation into our homes.” The signatories to the letter also reported that several of them had “invited (Trivett) to get down, turn his horse on pasture, and have dinner,” on the first day of the local church Association meeting, “but he said he had been to dinner.” The letter to the editor concluded with the weighty declaration, “(s)worn to before me this 1st day of Oct. 1900,” with the names of the signatory parties following.

October 7, 1937

“10 Property Owners Offer Site For Federal Building,” announced a headline in this week’s edition, which detailed planning for the construction of the Boone Downtown Station Post Office, currently undergoing renovation some 75 years after its construction was first planned. “Boone citizens offered the postoffice department (sic) ten different lots for the construction of the new federal building, in sealed proposals opened publicly by Postmaster Hartzog Monday morning, the prices on the realty ranging from $2,000 to $13,750.” The article listed the ten local property owners and the proposed sites for the Post Office building, including “the King street property where the Jones residence (today’s JonesHouseCommunity Center) stands,” which was offered for a price of $11,400. The report noted that the local postmaster “has made his report of the offerings to the department and expects the site agent to come within a reasonable length of time to inspect the properties offered and to make his recommendations as to the location of the proposed structure.”

October 9, 1958

“First Killing Frost Is Seen In Watauga On Tuesday,” reported a headline in this week’s newspaper. “The first ‘killing frost’ in Boone was noted Tuesday morning when temperatures dropped to 28 degrees. This was about three days before the average time of Jack Frost’s arrival, according to an observer.” The unidentified “observer” was also cited as relating that, “(s)ometimes,” although October 10 is a usual date to expect the first freeze in the High Country, “killing frost(s) have occurred in this area in the early days of September.”

“Palmer’s Photo Shop Remodeled” announced this week that “Palmer’s Photo Shop on East King Street, operated here for many years by the late Palmer Blair, has recently undergone a remodeling and expansion program by its present owner, George A. Flowers, Jr., who assumed operation of the shop early in 1957. The studio for portrait sittings has been moved from the rear portion of the store to several rooms on the second floor directly over the photo shop, where there is a well-appointed studio, reception room, dressing room and office.” The renovations meant that “space was provided downstairs to enlarge the dark room to more than double its former size,” and thus “to increase the service facilities of the shop and studio many-fold,” according to Mr. Flowers.

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, October 7, 2012

This photograph is inscribed with identification as a fire at the Hodges Building, and captures a conflagration at a downtown Boone building, as well as a period telephone booth. The image likely dates from the 1950s.

Courtesy Historic Boone

October 4, 1900

Among the items of “Local News” in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper was this item: “[a] few days since some one (sic) went into the orchard of B.F. South, of Deerfield, skinned several apple trees, and did other damage to crops, etc., Mr. T.L. Critcher was in and gave us this bit of news, and said it was some of South’s close political friends who did him this ‘dirt.’” The “friends” were apparently so designated with a touch of irony.

“The State’s appropriation for school purposes this year, is 15 cts. Per scholar,” according to another brief article, “which will give Watauga between seven and eight hundred dollars. This is about the same appropriation we had last year.”

October 6, 1932

“Montana Man Pays Visit To His Native County” reported in this week’s paper that, “Rev D.O. Ray, Baptist minister of Miles City, Mont., who was born and reared to young manhood in Watauga, is spending an extended vacation with his father, Alex Ray, at Deep Gap, and on last Thursday paid The Democrat a visit. Rev. Ray is pastor of the Pleasant View Baptist Church at Post Falls, Idaho, and speaks interestingly of the Watauga colony in that state. L.D. Eggers, Bob Hodges and Grady Hodges, all of whom are natives of the Zionville community, are located at Post Falls, where they have succeeded well, he states.” The feature continues to describe the phenomenon of westward migration by this Watauga County native thus: “[b]ack in 1901 Mr. Ray was employed by the Dougherty brothers, in Boone, and states that he hauled the first load of lumber that was used in the building of the old Watauga Academy [note: now Appalachian State University]. He left Boone and for several years resided in Caldwell County, where he entered the ministry. Sixteen years ago he went West and located in Miles City, where he has since made his home.”

October 3, 1974

“Peak Parkway Color Expected Mid-October” was the headline of an article this week, which related that, “[p]ark rangers along the Blue Ridge Parkway are beginning to observe some autumn coloration at higher elevations along the length of the Parkway. Visitors to the mountains wishing to follow the progression of the coloring of the leaves can begin this weekend at higher elevations, particularly north of Peaks of Otter in Virginia and at the Craggy Gardens area north of Asheville, North Carolina, where the stunted forest community, beech, birch, and buckeye, often called ‘orchards’ by mountain people, have completely changed colors. Scattered here and there in the forest canopy are the flaming reds of black gum and red maple. The hickories and the tulip trees are also showing some yellow.”

“Discarded School To Be Site For Workshop,” another front-page article, detailed that “(a) sheltered workshop for Watauga County should be in operation in one week following the announcement last week that a site and a director have been named. The announcement was made by Watauga Opportunities, Inc., the non-profit organization which will serve as a board of directors for the workshop. The old Junaluska School, located off Bear Trail, was officially named as the site for the workshop after arrangements were finalized for the purchase of the old school and approximately 2.5 acres of land from Jim Weaver and Associates, of Durham.” The Junaluska school building had formerly served the historic African American Junaluska community in Boone. Watauga Opportunities continues its mission to this day, now in expanded quarters on Greenway Road, to “enable self-reliance and enhance independence through the provision of vocational, residential, and community opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment and community involvement.”

Published in: on October 7, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment