The Week of Sunday, December 30th, 2012.

“1915: Picture taken at Old Justice Hall, ATS (Appalachian Training School)” shows five young students of the institution in its early days.

“1915: Picture taken at Old Justice Hall, ATS (Appalachian Training School)” shows five young students of the institution in its early days.

December 31, 1903

“The Library In Boone,” an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, began, “(t)his is no new subject to many of us but can we talk too much about it? It is by far one of the best moves ever made in our little village. In the first place our people love to read and then think of the little children here in town and of their future. Let’s all pull together shoulder to shoulder for the success of the library. So much depends upon it. Good books are our best friends. No young person is in much danger who forms a taste for reading useful books and read them they will if they are put within their reach. Let’s do all we can for the younger people and we can think of no way that they can receive greater benefit than by putting them in touch with good books. Let’s make a success of the library.”

December 23, 1920

“On Across A Wilderness” reported this week that “(r)ecent discovery of new and rich oil fields in a remote part of Canada has served to impress the people with the vastness of the country.” Reported the story, “Fort Norman is the nearest point to the locality of the oil, and Fort Norman is 1,000 miles from a railroad.” Confronted with this geographical challenge, however, the writer asserted that “London heard of the oil discovery and of the predicament developed, and at once set about to solve the trouble.” The proposed transport solution was “utilization of the war tank for transportation service.” With this solution, “the guarantee is to move freight across any ground, such as prairie, deserts, ditches, small drifts and gullies, scrub and treeless jungle, forests of trees not more than 18 inches in diameter three feet from the ground, also swamp, ice and snow.  The tanks are capable of a speed of 15 miles per hour, and are said to be cheaper in operation than agricultural caterpillars.” Commented the article, attributed to the Charlotte Observer, “(t)he fever for oil these days seems akin to that of the fever for gold in the (18-)40s and new and strange sights are being staged for the great wilderness that intervenes between civilization and the remote territory which is now to be brought under exploitation by the overland oil tank transportation line.”

December 31, 1959

“Building Boomed In 1959,” a front-page headline, introduced a news story which related that “(p)ermits for nearly a half million dollars of construction” were issued during the year by the Watauga County building inspector Howard Cottrell. The estimated total included “permits for 17 new residences… at a total cost of $268,000” as well as “additions to two homes for $3,500,” and for “eight new business buildings and renovations at a cost of $158,000, and one new apartment house at $44,000.” Not included in the county figures were additions at the Appalachian State Teachers College, which also had seen additions during the year, including “a new wing to East Hall Dormitory for women,” an “addition to the college library,” and “a new steam boiler.” Together the collegiate and private building projects “boosted total building in the town to over a million dollars,” roughly equivalent to eight million dollars in 2012.

Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 23rd, 2012.

Historic Boone 5.45_Addie Clawson 1957 Christmas card o

This 1957 greeting card was left by High County mail carrier Addie Clawson in the mailbox of a postal customer. The reverse side bears the greeting “May You Have a Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year,” as well as a list of special postal rates for the upcoming year. “Special Delivery” service (“First Class and Air Mail”) for items not more than 2 pounds in weight was listed as thirty cents.

Courtesy Historic Boone

December 24, 1903

An article reprinted from the Charlotte News in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat reported, “(a) well posted gentleman of this city, stated today that over 80 per cent of the cotton in this section had been sold. There is very little cotton in the warehouses and not much remaining in the country. The farmers who have cotton unsold are jubilant over the high price being received but the jump came too late to benefit them very much.”

A much shorter, and more enigmatic, item of agricultural news relayed from the Queen City told briefly, “Charlotte is waning in the throes of a pumpkin famine, according to the Chronicle.”

Short pieces of counsel included on the front page advised, “(o)nly those get to heaven who help others get there,” and, “(s)ome rules work both ways, and some others won’t work either way.”

A feature listing the various “Wonders of the World,” ancient, modern, and natural, listed these features as comprising the seven wonders of the New World: “(t)he Brooklyn bridge, the underground railroad, including tunnels to Jersy (sic) City and Brooklyn, the Washington monument, the Capitol at Washington, with its dome weighing eight million pounds, the modern steel sky scraper, the Echo Mountain searchlight of 375,000,000 candle power and the United States Steel Corporation.”

December 22, 1921

“No Paper Next Week” told the readership of the Watauga Democrat this week that, “(a)ccording to our time-honored custom the Democrat will not make its usual appearance next Thursday morning, for we feel that as we near the end of another laborious year, we are entitled to share of the festivities of the joyous Christmas season.” The editorship took the opportunity in print to “thank our multitude of friends for their loyal support during the past year, as well as the thirty-one preceeding (sic) years.”

In news of the day, “Training School News” included the report that a “recital was given by the Music Department in the School auditorium on Monday evening which was very much enjoyed by those present. The programme consisted of both vocal and instrumental selection (sic) all of which were good, some of the instrumental being especially good, showing musical talent of no ordinary character on the part of student and skill on the part of teacher. The choruses by the Chorus Class were very much enjoyed.”

December 24, 1959

“Stores Close For Christmas,” announced a headline this week, which reported that, “Boone merchants will close their stores Friday for an extended Christmas holiday, according to statements by leading store owners and managers along the town’s King Street.” The public was advised that, “(m)any of the town’s service establishments, such as laundries, dry cleaning plants, photo studios, and so forth, will observe the extended holiday,” but told that “druggists said their stores would close for the 25th only, and dime store operators are observing Christmas Day only.” Christmas Day fell on a Friday in 1959. Those observing a long holiday planned to reopen on Monday the 28th of December.


Historic Boone Addie Clawson 1957 card r

Published in: on December 23, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 16th, 2012.

Historic Boone_Welcome to Boone Sign

“This 1960s town entrance sign stood west of Boone on U.S. 421 right in front of the old Lovill home,” reads the caption affixed to this photograph.

Courtesy Historic Boone

December 17, 1903

“Blunders are sometimes very expensive,” began a small advertisement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Occasionally life itself is the price of a mistake, but you’ll never be wrong if you take Dr. King’s New Life Pills for Dyspepsia, Dizziness, Headache, Liver or Bowel troubles. They are gentle yet thorough. 5c, at M.B. Blackburn’s.”

In North Carolina news of the day, it was reported that, “(t)he action of the Trinity students together with the slang of Professor Basset(t) will not be calculated (to?) swell the matriculation of that institution.” Historian John Spencer Bassett was a professor at Trinity College, the forerunner of Duke University. The “Bassett Affair” of 1903, as it became known, centered on the professor’s founding of the South Atlantic Quarterly journal with the express purpose of furthering the “literary, historical, and social development of the South.” An article in the journal by Professor Bassett, “Stirring Up the Fires of Racial Antipathy,” was a challenge to the dominant interpretation of race relations in history of journalism of the time, and praised African Americans such as Booker T. Washington. Apparently this perceived affront caused the editorship of the Watauga Democrat to predict that the college would suffer with fewer interested students. Basset offered his resignation under great pressure from the Democratic Party and media outlets in the state, but the Trinity College Board of Trustees chose to refuse the resignation in a stance for academic freedom which was later praised by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt.

December 15, 1921

“Training School News” reported on this day that, “(t)he school basket ball (sic) team played a game with Crossnore team on Monday of last week and won another victory.” Another Appalachian Training School news item was the mention that “(t)he Camp Fire Girls gave a bazaar (sic)at the new drug store on Monday of last week , one-half of the proceeds to go towards erecting a marker at Mr. Arthur’s grave and the balance for the benefit of the organization.” John Preston Arthur was the author of the 1915 book A History of Watauga County, North Carolina (with Sketches of Prominent Families). His grave stands today within the old Boone town cemetery, now enclosed inside the campus of Appalachian State University.

In another bit of collegiate news, “(o)n Saturday the chapel at the school had the rare privilege of having three of the State’s efficient men to make short talks,” reported the Democrat. “These were Prof. A.T. Allen, Director of Teacher Training, Prof. John J. Blair, of the Building Department, and Mr. G.M. Nelson, the Architect who is now drawing plans for the new Administration Building for the School.” The decade of the 1920s was one of considerable building and expansion at the college.

December 17, 1959

“Drama To Be Revised: Better Than Ever Horn Promised Next Season” reported under the subheading “More Intense Promotional Effort Slated” that, “a ‘greatly improved’ Horn in the West can be expected next year, according to information given the Executive Committee of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, in session last week discussing plans for promoting the 1960 production of the drama in Boone.” Following the historical outdoor drama’s eighth season in 1959, the newspaper reported that “several changes are planned in the script,” and that “these changes are expected to make the story move faster and be more entertaining.” Hopes were high that “persons who have seen the drama in previous years will want to see it again,” and a campaign of promoting the dramatic saga of the Revolutionary War era was planned for “all this winter.”  The article reported that “folders are expected to be printed soon to help in the promotion.” The summer drama was schedule to run from “July 1 through August 28, nightly except Mondays.”

Published in: on December 16, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, December 9th, 2012.

Linney Law Office Demolition

“Knock ‘Er Down, Boys,” begins the caption to this photograph, attributed to the archives of the Watauga Democrat. “The old Lovill law office was a handful when it came to tearing it from its site just north, on Water Street, of the old jail – which now, interestingly enough, is a fraternity house. The frame building had most recently been used as a sales outlet for old clothes and shoes. It was directly behind Heilig-Myers.” Since this description was written, the Heilig-Myers building has become home to the Mellow Mushroom pizza eatery and the jail / fraternity house now another dining venue, Proper.

Courtesy Historic Boone

December 10, 1903

“The Clarence Potter case will come up again before the (North Carolina State) Supreme Court this month,” according to an article of local news in this week’s Watauga Democrat. “The hearing was postponed on account of an error in the brief, we are told.” Clarence Potter and his brother, Daniel Boone “Boonie” Potter, Jr., were wanted in connection with an incident in which a hastily-deputized Watauga citizen, Amos Wellington “Wellie” Howell, died several days after having been shot by Boonie Potter and struck with a rock by Clarence Potter while attempting to serve a warrant on the brothers. Clarence was originally sentenced to be hanged, the only person in WataugaCounty ever so sentenced, but the death penalty ruling was overturned in his second trial. His brother fled, for a time, to Wyoming. The local law practice of Will and E.F. Lovill (of the photograph accompanying this week’s column) was among the legal counsel involved in the Clarence Potter trials, serving for the defense of the accused.

December 8, 1921

“Notwithstanding the many cares and duties confronting him every day, Senator Simmons find time to send a message pledging his support to the North Carolina Tuberculosis Association, and wishing great success for the seal sale” according to a front-page news item in this week’s newspaper . The story reproduced a telegram from the Senator, which relayed in staccato telegraph style, “I am pleased to note significant decline in tuberculosis death rate in North Carolina from 154 in 1915 to 115 in 1920 and congratulate North Carolina Tuberculosis Association on its share in this result. Strongly commend your work and sincerely hope that the 14th Annual Christmas Seal Sale will greatly increased (sic) revenue for the Association. You may count on my support.”  Furnifold McLendel Simmons served in the U.S. Senate for thirty years, from 1901 to 1931, and in 1920 unsuccessfully sought to become the nominee of the Democratic Party for President.

December 10, 1959

“Many Haven’t Sent In Money for TB Stickers,” a headline echoing the 1920s story above, reported on this date that, “(t)he TB (tuberculosis) Seal Sale is in it’s (sic) fourth week of progress and the response has been wonderful, however, there remains a large number of people who have forgotten to send money for their Seals.” Lamented the article, “(i)t is easy to overlook or ‘just put off until tomorrow,’ with the result that it is again forgotten, which means less money available to fight this terrible disease.” TB Seals later became known as “Christmas Seals”; the stamps were first introduced in Denmark in 1903 by postman Einar Holbøll who, upon seeing children disabled by tuberculosis, originated the idea of selling “extra” stamps to raise charitable money and awareness during the busy holiday postal season.

Advertisement for Vick's from 1921

Advertisement for Vick’s from 1921

Published in: on December 9, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, December 2, 2012

“Better access to Boone at the June 4, 1952, Lenoir Road opening ceremonies. It was a shirt-sleeve-hot day, and those fedoras came in mighty handy for the gentleman in the crowd,” reads a typewritten description affixed to this photograph. Photo by Palmer Blair Photo, courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

December 3, 1903

“Four students of Norwich University, three of whom are working their way thro’ (sic) college, during the last three months of the college year saved an even $30 each by deserting their fraternity ‘hash-house’ and living on peanuts,” reported a front page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which was attributed to the New Haven Chronicle. “Every one of the quartet is in better health than when he started on the strange diet,” according to the brief article.

December 8, 1921

“A Big Job and a Worthy One, says the Lenoir News-Topic,” began an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “The Boone-Blowing Rock Charlotte Highway Association, organized here a few days ago, has picked out a big job as its purpose. But it has picked a job that is eminently worthy and one that would come of its own necessity in the course of time. This association would bring it much quicker. A hard surfaced road from Boone to Charlotte has been a thing dreamed of in the past. Today it is a thing that is being worked for, and a definite plan is being laid out for carrying out this work to an early realization,” reported the news feature. According to the story, although “(t)he State has only recently begun to realize the importance of the ‘Lost Provinces,’ as a part of North Carolina,” there was at that time “a growing feeling among the people of the State that the counties west of the Blue Ridge should be reached.” Among specifics of action to be taken by the local committee, it was reported that “Mr. George F. Lyerly’s suggestion that by advancing the State funds on a three-year term, as has been done by other counties in the State, the entire project from Hickory to Boone could be arranged for ‘and the road to the top of the mountain be reached by 1922’.”

December 3, 1959

“Progress Report Given: ASC Spends 3 Million in Watauga” reported on this day that, “(m)ore than three million dollars have been spent on the farms of Watauga County in carrying out practices under the Agricultural Conservation Program since its inception in 1936.” According to details in the article, “(a)t that time the  Congress authorized the program of soil building practices and soil and water conserving practices to carry into effect the preservation and improvement of soil fertility; the promotion of the economic use and conservation of land, the diminution of exploitation and wasteful use of national resources, and the protection of rivers and harbors  against the results of soil erosion in maintaining the navigability of waters and water covers and in aid of flood control.” On the local level, and in a specific range of more recent years, the newspaper relayed that, “(a)ccording to M.I. Shepherd, County Office Manager a general idea of how funds have been used for the past five years 1954 through 1959” included “Government assistance in practice cost-sharing” which “amounted to $436,823 on 36,293 acres,” and gave specific data that, among other projects and expenditures,   “of this amount $79,808 was given to farmers for limestone and $215,883 for fertilizer,$70,386 was paid for establishing 3,077 acres of vegetative cover; $75,659 was expended for a vegetative cover in increased rotation acreage; $25,698 was spent for liming 4,418 acres of farmland , (and) 139 acres of trees were planted with a payment of $1,598.” The article concluded by reiterating that, “(a)s has been stated from time to time, ‘the primary objective of this program is the protection of the public’s interested (sic) in the nation’s soil and water resources,’” and asserted that, “(g)radually but surely this is being accomplished in Watauga County and the County Committee is looking forward to greater participation in 1960.”


Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment