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.”