The Week of Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Historic Boone Digitization Box 2.114_0013

Lacking any date or other caption, this photograph appears to capture a fine-weather scene of a dog enjoying the open space in front of a building at Appalachian State Teachers College.

Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 24, 1939

“Elk Knob Mining will be Resumed after 40 Years,” a headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, announced that, “(r)esumption after 40 years of (a) mining operation full of promise for Northwest North Carolina was announced today by H.J. Bryson, state geologist in the department of conservation and development.” The article, dateline “Raleigh, N.C.”, told that, “(t)his is the reopening of the Elk Knob copper mine in Watauga county, some 15 miles northeast of Boone. The mine is being operated by the Carolina Copper Corporation, one of the few mining companies financed by North Carolina capital.” Historical background included in the Watauga Democrat write-up noted that “(f)or many years before 1900, the Elk Knob vein of copper was worked, even though, in those days, it was necessary to haul the ore laboriously over the mountains in wagons to Abingdon, Va.” Plans for the newly-revived operation “call(ed) for the erection of a crushing and flotation mill for handling the ore at the mine upon completion of core drilling now in process.” The Elk Knob source was asserted to be “unusually rich, showing from 10 to 16 per cent copper,” as well as “$1 to $14 of gold per ton, and a small percentage of silver.” The state of North Carolina’s geologist suggested that, “there is no reason why this mine should not be one of the leading copper and gold producing mines in the south… if it was profitable 40 years ago when there were no trucks, no roads and no railroad nearby, it should certainly be profitable today.”

August 27, 1959

“Too Little, Too Late,” proclaimed a bold (and underlined) introduction to the headline “Horn In West Gains Scant Local Help,” with a byline attributing the news feature to “Ralph Tugman, Staff Democrat Writer,” and which was followed by the heading, “Local Writer Says Actual Work Done By Few.” The report gave details of the operation of Boone’s recently-founded outdoor drama, Horn in the West, which was then in the midst of its eighth season. “Ever since the official audit of the first season of the ‘Horn’ revealed with certainty that its financiers were backing something other than a big money maker, there has been a waning ardor for colonial culture, and for historical preservation, among many of its backers,” according to the opening of Tugman’s article. The article conveyed in a certain editorial tone that, “the only area where there appears to be unflagging energy and an alert interest is on the part of most of us to criticize and find fault.” The piece asserted that, “surely it hardly seems consistent that one would sign a note and vote for a continuance of the production in the spring of each year, and then spend the summer heaping ridicule upon it, almost to the point that it would appear some actually fear it might succeed.” The writer stated that he had personally been in position of having (“with the exception of two nights”) “always worked alone” in the drama’s then largely volunteer-run box office. Tugman wrote that he “would suggest just two things in regard to the Horn,” namely  that “we search our own standards where it is concerned…  if it has value it merits our financial support;” and that “if it has our financial support, we have, in giving it, committed ourselves to a moral support of it that is entitled to our best effort and to as much of our time as we can give.” The article closed with the “guess that, when and if the Horn is favored with a miracle, it will be born in the midst of a unified and unselfish effort.”

Published in: on August 25, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, August 18, 2013.

Miss Boone Drug 1950s

“Miss Boone Drug Store,” a partially-damaged photograph with a handwritten inscription on the back dating its origins as “possibly 1950s,” portrays (according to the caption), “I.G. Greer (left), Bette Swain Gabriel, James Marsh (right).” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 16, 1906

“Is It Your Own Hair?” began an advertisement featured prominently on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Do you pin your hat to your own hair? Can’t do it? Haven’t enough hair? It must be you do not know Ayer’s Hair Vigor!” began the exuberant ad. “Here’s an introduction! May the acquaintance result in a heavy growth of rich, thick, glossy hair! And we know you’ll never be grey.” The notice continued with a fine-print testimonial from “Miss V. Brock, Wayland, Mich.,” which read, “I think that Ayer’s Hair Vigor is the most wonderful hair grower that was ever made. I have used it for some time and I can truthfully say that I am greatly pleased with it. I cheerfully recommend it as a splendid preparation.”

August 16, 1934

“TVA Cannery has Run for 3 Weeks; Prices are rising,” a bold headline this week, introduced an article which reported that, “[t]he Tennessee Valley Authority’s cannery at Cranberry, operated under the Carolina Mountain Co-operatives, is now running at full blast three weeks after its establishment, and information coming from Mr. L.W. Arthur is to the effect that prices being paid are advancing, especially as regards blackberries, which have been bought in huge quantities from pickers in Watauga County.” In addition to buying from local growers, the operation had a “Custom Canning” service. “A section of the cannery has been set apart for custom canning, and products may be brought there and canned for a small charge. The cost of the canning including the can is 3 ¼ cents for No. 2 cans and 9 ½ cents for the gallon tins.” Warned the article, “[n]o products will be accepted at the cannery without permits from the cannery superintendent.”

In other local news, it was reported this week that, “the sanitary privy project on a county wide scale has been reinstated and the local relief office asks all those in need of this improvement to immediately file their application at the office in the courthouse so that details of construction may proceed.” Sanitary outhouses were to be provided for only the cost of materials, with labor “to be furnished through relief channels,” in the hope that “under the new arrangement the sanitary condition of the county in this respect may be made 100 per cent perfect.”

August 18, 1955

“Winners Are Selected At Boone Flower Show,” announced a heading this week, capping an article by Margaret Agle. “Hundreds of people who filled the Baptist Church basement again and again last Thursday and Friday formed an enthusiastic audience for a show in which the top stars were beautiful flowers of the western Carolina mountains that were displayed in a ‘Summer Symphony’ at the annual Flower Show sponsored by four Boone clubs, the Worthwhile Women’s Club, Blue Ridge Garden Club, Junior Women’s Club, and Gardenerettes,” reported Ms. Agle’s article. Among the many awards listed in detail were “Special ‘best of the show’ awards,” which included: “Rose, Mrs. Cecil Miller; Dahlia, Mrs. G.W. Hartzog; Delphinium, Mrs. Ed Hall; Potted Plant, Mrs. Charles Show; Gladiola, Mrs. Mack Luttreli; Rose (men), Dr. Wayne Richardson; Lily, Mrs. Thomas Payne.”


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The Week of Sunday, August 11, 2013.

Historic Boone for A Look Back_Bethel Graduation no date

“Bethel Graduation,” a photograph with no date given (circa early 1960s?), records a rite of passage for several grades at once at the former Bethel Elementary School building, constructed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.

Courtesy Historic Boone

August 9, 1906

“The End of the World,” began a headline for a front-page article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which was actually an item of advertising. The column continued, “… of troubles that robbed E. H. Wolfe of Bear Grove, Ia., of all usefulness, came when he began taking Electric Bitters. He writes, ‘Two years ago Kindly troubls [sic; “kidney troubles”] caused me great suffering which I would never have survived had I not taken Electric Bitters. The also cured me of general Debility’ [sic]. Sure cure for all Stomach, Liver and Kidnsy [sic] complaints, Blood diseases, Headache, Dizziness and Weakness or bodily decline. Price 59 c. Guaranteed by all druggist [sic].” In this early period of the newspaper’s history, spelling conventions were not strictly adhered to, and occasionally a shortage of certain letters – such as the popular “e,” as in “Kidney” – would apparently lead to substitutions.

August 9, 1934

“Bogus Money is Passed in Boone,” proclaimed a bold headline in this week’s newspaper. “A ten-dollar note, apparently a bona fide bank note, was returned to Postmaster Hartzog last week from the Postoffice Department, leading the local official to wonder whether or not a veritable flood of the spurious currency has been turned loose in this community,” began the news item. “The principal flaws leading to the detection of the bank note,” according to the article, “were that it was slightly off-color, and the paper seemed to be similar to an ordinary grade of bond writing paper.” Concluded the story, “Mr. Hartzog, of course, has no idea who passed the bill at the window” of the Boone Downtown Post Office.

“Potato Houses to be Built,” said another headline, with a byline of “Banner Elk, N.C.”. “J.E. Edgar, specialist in the building of potato warehouses from the Department of Agriculture, has come from Washington by appointment of Rexford G. Tugwell, assistant Secretary of Agriculture, to arrange the construction of four potato warehouses for the Carolina Mountain Co-operatives.”

August 11, 1955

“Mountain Manner Is Natural to Elledge,” a front-page feature article by Bob Isbell, told this week that, “Charles Elledge, the make believe Daniel Boone of Horn in the West, did not cultivate his frontier personality. It came with him.” The biography of the decades-long member of the historic outdoor drama’s cast, who would later portray Reverend Isaiah Sims, told that, “Charlie was born and reared within sight of the place Dan’l lived in the  1760s – on the banks of the Yadkin River at Holman’s Ford. As a boy he romped the fields of his father’s Wilkes County farm – on the same ground Dan’l trod when he carved his way through the pathless wilderness into Kentucky.”  The article noted that “(o)n stage, Elledge presents a rare combination. Not only is he a ‘natural’ for his role, but his years of dramatic training make him a polished actor.” Charlie Elledge was described as a “graduate of the University of North Carolina and former member of the Carolina Playmakers,” who also had earned “a Master’s Degree from Appalachian State Teachers College.” Elledge portrayed frontier hero Daniel Boone in this fourth season of Horn in the West – a role that in the next year would be taken over by Glenn Causey, who played “Dan’l” for 41 seasons. Elledge played the Preacher Sims role from the character’s introduction in the 1956 season until 1983.

Published in: on August 11, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  

The Week of Sunday, August 4th, 2013.

Dance to “Waltz of the Flowers.” Scene from Echoes of the Blue Ridge production, featuring High School women. This presentation was made in a field across from Faculty Street housing, near the present location of Durham Park and the ASU Tennis Courts. Thanks to Anna Boyce Phillips for identifying information about this photograph.

“Appalachian May Day,” no date or further information known. Revelers celebrate spring in the High Country.

Courtesy Historic Boone

August 1, 1918

“Save the Calves,” a brief item attributed as having originally appeared in the Statesville Landmark newspaper, began, “(t)he Landmark has been asked more than once to protest against the sale of calves. The sale of young calves to the butchers – especially the shipment to the cities – has become quite an industry. The objection of course is that we need, for soil improvement and for economic betterment, to build up the cattle industry in this section, and that we can never accomplish this so long as the calves are sold and shipped away.” The article next mentioned some recent laws to prohibit the practice, but noted that these laws “applied only in certain counties.” While acknowledging that “calf owners of course proceed on the theory that one has a right to do what he wills with his own,” the anonymous author of the piece advanced the opinion that, “as a general economic principal thinking people must admit that it is wrong,” and that “the county’s citizenship will be greatly benefited if the calves generally are allowed to grow and multiply until the herds of cattle cover the hills.”

August 2, 1934

“Institute Will Train Teachers in Phys. Ed.,” a banner headline on this week’s front page, reported to Wataugans that, “(a)n institute for teachers of Physical Education and coaches in the high schools and also in the consolidated elementary schools of the State was announced the first of the week as a new opportunity at Appalachian State Teachers College.” Components of the program included “instruction… in coaching basket ball, first aid, rhythms, playground supervision and intramural activities.” According to the news article, “the only cost, according to announcement made by Eugene E. Garbee, director of Physical Education, will be a registration fee of one dollar per student.” “Classes are to be conducted,” noted the item, “by the regular college physical education staff, all of whom hold Master’s degrees or better in physical education.” Free room and board were provided for those who chose to participate.

August 5, 1943

“Polly Pitcher Day Saturday,” a bold headline this week with the sub-caption, “War Savings Event Honors the Wife of Revolutionary War Soldier,”” reported that, “The War Savings Staff in Watauga county has designated Saturday August 7 as Polly Pitcher Day, however due to the fact that the annual horse show will be held in Blowing Rock August 6th and 7th, that town has chosen August 4 as Polly Pitcher.” Details noted that, “this special War Bond promotion gets its name from the wife of a Revolutionary War hero, who carried water to the soldiers, even to the very front line.” The special emphasis on War Bonds was summarized in a statement from the “war saving staff,” in an issued statement which read: “A great deal of money is absolutely necessary to carry on a war of such great magnitude as that in which we are now engaged. The smallest sum assumes importance if multiplied by thousands, for consider that our vast armies are made up man by man. In a combined unity of man and materials lies our strength.”  The observance was proclaimed approximately two years before the conclusion of World War II.

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment