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.”