The Week of Sunday, June 30th, 2013.

Historic Boone 3.1 Gov Holshouser Horseshoes

Former North Carolina Governor James Holshouser (1934-2013) is shown here engaged in a horseshoe competition at the site of the Watauga County Farmer’s Market during its dedication. Prominent businessman and community leader Alfred Adams is shown also in this shot by George Flowers, noted Boone photographer.

Courtesy Historic Boone

June 26, 1913

A feature with the attribution “By a Visitor” began, “’Rah for ‘Boone’ the Beautiful.’ Boone is justly proud of being the highest county seat east of the Rockies.” The visiting columnist provided a detailed description of scenic points around Boone, noting that, “(s)ome of us do not know half of the fine things we possess, but Sampson’s chimney is one of them! Sampson’s chimney is only a few score feet from the summit of Howard’s Knob; but many of our visitors tramp to the latter place without realizing their proximity to this remarkable rock feature.” Encouraged the author, “(s)how them the way!” The writer also noted that, “(w)hen the railroad reaches Todd next summer, Boone’s people will be there to meet it with a trolley line operated by hydro-electric power obtained from New River. Fare 10 cents for the round trip! Mark this prediction!”

A brief proverb printed in this week’s newspaper noted, “(t)he man into whose head one has to hammer everything even then seldom gains knowledge by the pound” – an apparent reference to the sizing of nails by “pennyweight”.

July 1, 1943

“19 Negroes (sic) Are Called In Draft,” a bold headline with the subheading “Colored (sic) Residents Report For Induction Under Selective Service Act,” reported in this week’s Watauga Democrat that, “(t)he following local negroes (sic)  have reported for induction into the military forces of the nation, in accordance with the terms of the Selective Service Act: Will D. Folk, George Washington Grimes, James Edward Folk, David Alvin Thompson, Robert Ray Moore, David Franklin Whittington, Charles Paul Grimes, Dell Anderson, Sam Horton Jr., Lee Whittington, John Henry Whittington, Henry Clay Folk, Henderson Edward Horton, Robert Junior Hagler, Jay William Grimes, James McQueen, Charles Benjamin Thompson, Ottie Milton Folk, (and) Peter Cline Banner.” The beginning of military service in World War II by these Wataugans came at a point in World War II when African Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces were serving heroically and with distinction, eventually serving in the Marine Corps, the Navy, the 761st Tank Battalion and the famed “Tuskegee Airmen,” as well as in the U.S. Army, although often discriminated against and usually (according to official policy and Federal law during the course of the war) segregated from white troops.

A headline this week announced in bold type, “Strange Disease Kills Cabbage Locally.” According to the text of the story, “(f)armers in this immediate section have lost large quantities  of cabbage plants this summer it was learned Monday, to a new plant disease which it is said acts in a similar way to the blue mold, which annually destroys so many tobacco plant beds.” Experts at “State College” had received sample plants for analysis, in hopes of finding a remedy to this agricultural blight.

“Coffee Ration Raised to Pound Every Three Weeks,” reported another story in the same edition of the local paper. “Starting July 1 the coffee ration will be a pond (sic) every three weeks – the most liberal rate yet and twice as much as (ration) coupons were worth for a time last winter.” Explained the story, “(t)he present ration is a pound every 30 days, under stamp No. 24 which expires June 30th. Stamp No. 21 will be good for a pound between July 1 and July 21; No. 22 will be good for a pound between July 22 and August 11.”

Published in: on June 30, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, June 23rd, 2013.

R.D. Hodges Jr and David F Greene Jr 1.10.2

“R.D. Hodges, Jr. and David F. Greene, Jr. House in background is E.N. Hawn home moved to Howard St. – they are standing where First Union bank is. Taken 1935. Appalachian Theater was built on the Hawn property in 1936 by W.R. Winkler & the parking lot of First Union was (the) location of Greene Inn,” according to the typewritten caption affixed to this photograph. The properties mentioned are located in a central block of Boone’s historic Downtown, with the Appalachian Theater mentioned currently undergoing renovation, and the First Union bank building now housing the offices of the Town of Boone.

June 27, 1912

An item on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat which was attributed in a byline to the “Gazette News” read, “(a)n Atlanta girl eloped in an automobile given her as a betrothal present by another man whom she jilted.” Concluded the notice, “(s)uch is life.”

“Red elbows, says the Evening News,” according to another feature this week, “are happily a thorn which may be removed.” The piece recommended a harsh treatment for the affliction: “Saw off the red elbows, soak them in a bleaching mixture of unslacked lime, steep them in carbolic acid, and they will never trouble you again.” The ending of this (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek recommendation stated, “cold feet may be treated similarly.”

June 24, 1943

“Bird Sanctuary Markers Are Erected On Saturday,” a front-page headline this week, introduced a story beginning, “(t)he markers, designating this city as a bird sanctuary were erected and dedication ceremonies held at the intersection of Gragg and Water Streets Saturday. Mrs. J.A.W. Davis, bird club president, acted as the mistress of ceremonies.” According to the article, “Mrs. W. Hall Smith spoke of club plans for a junior bird club in each county during the coming winter, and it was stated that the bird houses that were left after the contest will be placed within the sanctuary by the Boy Scouts.” During the ceremonies, “Ex-Mayor W.H. Gragg, spoke briefly, reminding his hearers that the Heavenly Father took notice of the hairs on our heads and noted likewise the small sparrow,” and “Mrs. W.M. Burrell, the chairman of the bird sanctuary committee read Longfellow’s definition of ‘A Bird’ and concluded with Hurdis’ ‘The Nest.’”

In other news of the week, “American Planes Set Rubber Plant Aflame,” with a dateline of just two days earlier – “London, June 22” – relayed that, “(r)ounding out devastating, round-the-clock blows for the first time into the German Ruhr – heart of Nazi war production – American flying fortresses set a square miles of fires roaring through the German synthetic rubber town of Huls today soon after the RAF had blasted the important steel town of Klefeld with perhaps 2,000 of bombs.”

“County Library To Widen Scope Of Service,” another headline this week, introduced a notice telling that, “(t)he Library Board met Friday afternoon and it was decided to establish stations at various points in the county, in order to provide library facilities for the people who are unable to come to Boone.” Said the report, “(t)he places and dates on which this service will be inaugurated will be announced later.”

June 25, 1970

“Wagon Train Parade to Have 75 Vehicles: To Feast At Triplett Tonight; Deep Gap Firemen To Serve Food” was the lead headline in this week’s edition, detailing progress of the then-annual Wagon Train procession from Wilkes County to Boone. “Twelve hundred pounds of country ham, six bushels of potato salad, 400 pounds of cole slaw and 300 pounds of tomatoes are being prepared for the big feed at Triplett when the Daniel Boone Wagon Train camps there Thursday night,” reported the feature story. Estimates given to the newspaper by “Fred McNeil, manager of the Boone C of C (Chamber of Commerce)” were that the 1970 Wagon Train included “45 to 50 wagons and some 150 horseback riders” according to the latest figures, although earlier numbers were “75 wagons and 200 horseback riders.” The dining arrangements (called the “Boone feed” in the write-up) were in the hands of “the Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department, which is famous in the area for its fund-raising dinners.”

Published in: on June 23, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, June 16th, 2013.

Women's Club Red Cross volunteers rolling bandages during World War II - Crystal River, Florida. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

Women’s Club Red Cross volunteers rolling bandages during World War II – Crystal River, Florida. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

June 20, 1912

“Dangers of Spitting,” read the headline to an article published in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “’Ninety per cent of our consumption,’ says the North Carolina State Board of Health, ‘comes from careless coughing, spitting and sneezing,’ particularly on the part of the consumptive, but also from people who are apparently healthy… ‘Spit is frequently laden with deadly disease germs, particularly that of consumptives,” reported this front-page feature item. Continued the story, in graphic detail, “’(w)hen one coughs, spits, or sneezes, a great multitude of tiny drops of spittle are violently expelled from the mouth and nose. The largest of these drops can be readily seen. A large number of smaller droplets can be found if a mirror or a piece of glass is held before the face when coughing or sneezing.” The story reported that, “scientists have found that when a man coughs, spits, or sneezes in a large hall or room where the air is quiet, these tiny, invisible germ laden droplets will float in the air for a distance of 25 to 100 feet.” The description in the local newspaper was included, it seems, as an endeavor to curb the spread of tuberculosis (or, “consumption,” as it was then known) by encouraging awareness of the spread of airborne pathogens via incautious spitting, sneezing, and other habits, of which the feature observed, “such conduct is at least impolite.” Concluded the piece, “it is dangerous to the public at large to have careless people actually coughing, sneezing, spitting germ-laden matter into their faces even if it is invisible and in the form of fine mist.”

June 17, 1943

“Parole Officers Conference to be Held in Boone,” announced a headline in this week’s edition. “The Southern States Probation and Parole Officers Conference, bringing together delegates from 12 states, will meet at Appalachian College on July 5th to 10th, with no less than 75 delegates present for the sessions,” reported the Democrat. The article noted that, “the last similar conference was held in Atlanta in 1941, and the convention was made possible by Dr. B.B. Dougherty, President of Appalachian College, who is offering facilities of the institution for the delegation.” Reporting on local involvement in this regional gathering, the piece noted that the “Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Merchants Association, it is said, will meet in the near future to plan a welcoming program.”

“Bandage Room Opens,” announced another heading in this week’s paper. “A Red Cross bandage room was opened at Aho last Friday, and much interest in being shown by the people there in that work. Fifteen persons were on hand to work when the room was opened.” Such centers were set up across the nation to prepare first aid supplies for use in treating wounded soldiers on the war front in World War II.

In related news, “Axis Invasion Jitters Spurred by Allied Moves” relayed this week that, “(t)he spotlight of the Mediterranean war shifted dramatically today from the center to the east,” as “unofficial observers said the first implication was that the British ninth and tenth armies and U.S. troops that have been training quietly and building up strength for months in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Iran might be on the move,” threatening the Axis’ “Fortress Europe” from yet another direction, as the tide of war began to turn against Germany and Italy.

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, June 9th, 2013.

Turn of the Century Outing

“Turn of the Century Outing,” reads the caption to the photograph from the early 1900s.

Courtesy Historic Boone

June 13, 1912

“Government and Good Roads,” the heading of a feature article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, noted that, “(t)he United States Government spends annually $93,000,000 for the maintenance of a standing army. It spends $125,000,000 annually for the maintenance of its naval establishment. It spends more than $155,000,000 annually for payment of pensions.” The item continued with an extensive list of further Federal Government expenditures, including  “$9,000,000 upon the American Indians.” The conclusion of this feature was the statement , “(b)ut the United States Government spends nothing annually for the construction or improvement of public highways.”

A brief news notice drawn from another newspaper reported that, “(t)he Landmark says that last Thursday was the worst of the season, in the way of lightning. The Landmark(’)s correspondents reports (sic) of the damage by lightning being great.” The Landmark was a newspaper located in the city of Statesville, approximately 100 miles from Boone.

June 10, 1943

“Ministers Call City To Prayer,” announced a headline in this week’s newspaper. “Churches to Be Open Each Day At Noon For Those Who Wish To Offer Prayers,” according to a bold-type subheading to the feature. “At a recent called session, the ministers of Boone met, and it was decided that all churches would be open each day at noon for those who wish to drop in and pray,” detailed the Democrat’s report. The “Mayor of Boone has agreed to sound the fire siren each day at high noon to call the people to prayer,” according to further details in the piece. Plans were that “(t)his program will begin Monday June 14 and continue for the summer and possibly for the duration of the war.”

June 1, 1970

“Governor Scott Acts to Improve Disputed Road,” announced a headline this week. “Members of Holy Communion Lutheran Church will get a disputed section of the road from Foscoe upgraded this year through a direct allocation of $35,000 from Governor Scott, from the ‘unappropriated surplus fund,’” reported the Watauga Democrat article. According to the local newspaper, North Carolina’s chief executive said that “the funds would not be sufficient for paving the 1.4 mile road , but ‘should be adequate for the replacing of existing drainage pipes, providing additional drainage, some minor shaping and the placing of adequate slope facing material.’” The article speculated that this minimal maintenance of Clark’s Creek Road was “about all Rev.  Larry D. Campbell, pastor of the church to which the road provides the quickest access, has been asking for several years.” Holy Communion’s parishioners were described as “very happy at this turn in events,” although the pastor was away on vacation when the news was issued from the State Capitol. Announcement by the Governor was made through the denominational magazine the North Carolina Lutheran, which at the time was edited by a former pastor of the Holy Communion parish and two other mountain Lutheran churches.

Materials for this column are drawn from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.


Published in: on June 9, 2013 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, June 2nd, 2013.

Outside Building and Loan 1.13.2

“Outside Building and Loan,” the caption to a photograph with no further identifying information, seems to picture the exterior of the Watauga Building and Loan Association building (formerly on King Street in Downtown Boone) and co-founder Watt Gragg (also a mayor of Boone and a U.S. Federal Marshall) talking with a citizen or customer.

Courtesy the archives of the Historic Boone society

June 6, 1912

“Ends Hunt For A Rich Girl,” was a heading in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper above an item of advertising masquerading as a news item. “Often a hunt for a rich wife ends when the man meets a woman that uses Electric Bitters,” opened the pitch. “Her strong nerves tell in a bright brain and an even temper. Her peach bloom complexion and ruby lips result from her pure blood; her bright eyes from restful sleep; her elastic step from firm, free muscles, all telling of the health and strength Electric Bitters give a woman, and the freedom from indigestion, backache, headache, fainting and dizzy spells they promote.” Concluded the cure-all ad, “(e)verywhere they are a woman’s favorite remedy. If weak or ailing try them. 50¢ at all druggists.”

A brief item simply signed “-Ex.” (apparently the mark of the Editor) asserted on the same front page, “Our past life is not past; it lives in at least two ways: ‘In due season we shall reap.’ Heaven lies hidden in our daily deed, even as the oak with all its centuries of growth and all its supreme glory lies in the acorn cup.”

June 3, 1943

“War Production Board Urges Farmers to Make Their Pulpwood Available At Once,” a bold headline of wartime news, introduced an article beginning, “(n)eed for pulpwood in war materials, greater than any needs ever placed on the products of our forests, have reached a point that Donald Nelson, Head of the War Production Board, has issued another appeal to farmers and forest owners to make their pulpwood available without delay, states State Forester J.S. Holmes.” The pulpwood was needed for “making explosive plastics, paper, carton board, and many other things which the vast war machine needs in enormous quantities,” according to the article. The State Forestry agent noted that “usually it (a pulpwood source) should be marked out by trained foresters and these are available in the six main districts and from state headquarters.” Wataugans with trees on their property were encouraged to “report their supply to the county agent, or extension forester, or to Mr. Holmes’ office in Raleigh,” in order that trained personnel could “promptly mark off the trees so that retimbering will be speeded up and new crops will be helped” when trees were cut for the war effort.

June 4, 1970

“Watauga Tax Rate Set at $1 in New Budget,” with subheadings announcing “Based On $80 Million Valuation” and “Adoption Is Set for July 6th,” introduced a front-page item this week. “The Board of County Commissioners Monday night arrived at a proposed budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1971,” opened the local government news story. The new tax rate “reflect(ed) a decrease of 10 cents (from $1.10 to $1) per $100 valuation” of property owned by Wataugans. The tax based had widened considerably, with attribution being given by Tax Supervisor James C. Lyons to “’the development of farm land into building lots,’ the growth of resort areas, addition of summer homes and expansion of year-round homes and businesses,” which accounted for $11 million in new property on top of the $69 million in total taxable property during the fiscal year during which this article was written.

Published in: on June 2, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)