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.