The Week of Sunday, January 27, 2013.

Crowd at Building 2.115.006

Bearing no identifying information as to date or the persons and location pictured, this photograph of children of various ages, accompanied by some older individuals, may be a portrayal of the community of a Watauga County school of bygone days – hair and clothing styles might suggest the earliest years of the 1900s, or possibly the late 1800s.

Courtesy Historic Boone

January 26, 1911

“A School House a Day,” a front-page news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, reported that “for the last two years North Carolina has maintained its boast of ‘a school house a day’.” According to the item, a report from State Superintendent of Education J.Y. Joyner detailed that construction of new school facilities included “725 new buildings – 564 white and 161 colored (sic) – erected at a cost of more than $500,000.” Opined the author of the article, “(t)he people of North Carolina would have to be very cold blooded to repress a feeling of intense gratification over this advance,” continuing that “(t)here is possibly no other line of progress which will mean quite so much to the happiness and prosperity of the coming generation as this educational onsweep.” The news item bore a byline attributing the text to the Charlotte Observer; state and national news at this period was often reprinted in the local Watauga County newspaper from larger papers in metropolitan centers.

January 22, 1942

“An announcement has been received at the college library that a nation-wide drive for the purpose of collecting ten million books to meet the recreational needs of the soldiers, sailors, and marines, sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Red Cross, and the United Service Organization for National Defense, opened January 12 in every state of the union.” According to the story, “(n)early all types of educational books are wanted. Textbooks in present use in law and medical schools are wanted by men who left professional courses for military service. In fact nearly all types of educational books, including religious, are wanted.” The story also related that “the army, navy and air corps also have reported that they have a pressing need for technical books, also biographies of great lives are wanted.” In addition, “(g)ood modern fiction is also wanted.” The local head of collection for the campaign was the Appalachian State Teachers College library head, Emma Moore. Collection sites in the county were listed as: “R.M. Greene’s music room, Kenneth Linney at the Parkway Company, Watauga Democrat office, Mrs. Hardin Brown at the county library, located in the courthouse, and Mrs. Emma H. Moore at the College Library.” Potential donors were asked that books given be “of such books as we would want to read ourselves or would like to have in our own libraries,” and such books, “if not new ones, should be in good condition.

January 28, 1965

Tragic news claimed a corner of this week’s front page, under the heading “Body of Infant Is Found At Boone Disposal Area.” The story told that “the body of an unidentified male infant was found Tuesday, January 19, at the City Garbage Disposal area.” The body, found in a box covered in plastic, had seemingly been left at the usually-attended facility during the absence of a person on site, since, “due to the severe weather on Monday, the attendant had not been on duty, and the it could not be determined how the body had come to be there.” Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home received the remains and tended to the burial of the deceased, “a male child, weighing approximately seven pounds, newly born and had lived,” according to an autopsy conducted at the Funeral Home. Suffocation was listed as the probable cause of death.

Published in: on January 27, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, January 13th, 2013.

1920s ANS Basketball Team

Although of an uncertain date (two separate captions affixed bear dates of 1915 and 1925, while writing on the basketball indicates “N.C. Champs ‘28”), this photograph apparently records the Appalachian Normal School basketball team from sometime in the late 1920s, including players identified as Fitzhugh Hurley, Grant Donnelly, Russell Hodges, Frank Chappell, and Walter Sullivan.

Courtesy Historic Boone

January 12, 1911

“Why Abuse Your Watch,” queried an advertisement on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. Continued the notice, “(y)ou do not run your buggy, sewing machine or other machinery till it squeaks and grinds and cuts itself to pieces. You clean and oil it often. You should be so careful with your watch. It is small and cannot squeak loud when it is dry and needs oiling. You may not know it till the watch is completely ruined and stops. Bring your watch to me and I will show you and explain the exact condition. Take care of your watch and it will last you a life time.” Concluded the ad, “(c)onsult me on watch Diseases. Yours Very Truly, S.M. Greene, Jeweler, N.C. R.F.D.”

“Main Building at Trinity College Burned” reported news from the institution which would later become Duke University. According to the story, “(t)he Washington Duke building at Trinity college burned to the ground this morning at 3 o’clock. The hundred students got out safely although many had to make use of the fire escapes only scantily attired.” The report noted that “it is not known how the fire originated but when it was discovered the whole center of the building was ablaze and fire was coming from the tower.” Despite the heroic efforts of a “Mr. H.R. Hunter of Cary,” who “rushed through the halls awaking his fellow students and (who) consequently lost his entire belongings and $50 in money”, the building was a total loss. This fact was, in part, attributed to the fact that “(t)he city firemen were helpless as the college is out of the city’s limits.”

January 8, 1942

“Watauga County Gets 56 Tires During Month” reported of wartime rationing, “Watauga county motorists will be rationed 56 tires and 47 tubes for automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and buses during the month of January, according to an announcement by the office of price administration in Washington last Thursday, and (North Carolina) Governor Broughton immediately named rationing boards for each of the state’s 100 counties to pass upon applications for the limited number of tires which will be allowed for civilian use.” A process was described in which those desiring to purchase new tires would make application to the local board. The applicant was required to “fill out an application form, go to a certified inspector, then if the inspector finds the tire unsafe, cannot be repaired or retreaded, and that a new tire is necessary, he will certify this on the application.” The local ration board was then to make a final decision, upon which, if approved, “a certificate will be granted to buy a new tire, but no more, of course, can be approved in any month than the county quota.” The public was reminded by the article that “98 percent of our rubber is imported from the far Eastern war zone,” making prioritization of the supply for military use necessary.



Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of January 6th, 2012.

Historic Boone 3.20

A caption affixed to this photograph indicates that the scene is from the “backshop” of the old building housing the Watauga Democrat newspaper sometime around 1930. The people shown are editor and owner of the newspaper, R.C. Rivers, Sr., “holding blond Rebekah Rivers and brunett(e) Kathryn McGee Coleman,” “printer Willard Beach,” and “on the right, Jim Rivers – who wound up in Washington as executive director of the Tax Executives Institute,” where he was known as “Big Jim Rivers.”

Courtesy Historic Boone

January 5, 1911

“Line Up With The Audubon,” urged a front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “A press dispatch tells that as the New Year of 1911 is to mark the fiercest struggle in recent years to save bird life from its human enemies, officers of the national Association of Audubon Societies are to-day perfecting plans to combat the commercial interests that are plotting to break down protective laws in many of the legislatures in 40 states,” relayed the article. “Men and money are to be used without limit by powerful groups of millionaires and market supply men to rob their feathered prey of the scant legal protection that has been given them,” claimed the article, apparently written by the editor of the local newspaper. The Democrat encouraged its readers to join the “farmers, sportsmen, orchardists, planters, and ranchmen of the whole country” who comprised the Audubon societies, and to give tangible support to their effort to “meet the commercial bird-killers before every legislature in the land.”

January 1, 1942

“City Auto Tags Must Be Bought – Mayor States That All Autos Must Display Town License Plates By January 10” announced this week that, “the new city automobile tags have been received, and Mayor W.H. Gragg stated Tuesday that this year the ordinance requiring the purchase of these tags will be strictly enforced by the police department.” Tags were  required of all car owners within the town limits of Boone, and cost a yearly fee of one dollar.

An announcement entitled “Day of Prayer” conveyed that “President Roosevelt has proclaimed New Year’s Day as a day of prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, and for asking God’s help in the days to come.” Continued the announcement, “(i)t is urgently requested  that all places of business close during the hour between 10 and 11 o’clock, and that everyone attend the prayer services in the different churches of the town during this period.”

January 7, 1965

“Deep Gap Fire Department Acquires Engine, Equipment” was the title of an article this week which told that, “(t)he Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., of the Deep Gap community has purchased a fire truck from the city of Bristol, Virginia.” The new truck was described as a “duo-thermodyne Mack engine with a 750 gallon per minute pump and has all standard truck equipment.” Funds for the truck were acquired in part with contributions from the Deep Gap Legion Post, which “sponsored three chicken dinners at Parkway Elementary School” during the preceding summer to raise $1,200 in starter money.

In agricultural news, the headline “Fewer Acres, Larger Yields – Watauga Farm Sales Go To $3,564,000 in 1964” introduced an article which noted that the biggest cash crop in the county was burley tobacco, accounting for $920,000 in sales that year. Apples, cabbage, cattle, strawberries, and “trellised tomato production” were also key components of the area’s production, which had all seen increases in productivity per acre over prior years. The article pointed out that burley tobacco had not seen an increase in per-acre productivity, “but the quality and value per acre did increase.”

Published in: on January 6, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment