“Farmers Hardware,” a scene from downtown Boone in the 1960s (?). Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.
October 12, 1899
“The idea of establishing a national park in western North Carolina is now attracting much attention throughout the country,” reported a local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “It is proposed to reserve some of these beautiful heights and valleys and dedicate them to this and coming generations for a pleasure ground forever. This would be nice for the government to buy and protect some of the beautiful spots, and keep them as nature has made them,” continued the story. “We think a park could be made in the Carolina hills more beautiful than the famous Yellow Stone and far more healthful.”
“It is predicted by amateur prophets that this is to be a mild winter,” announced another short article. “They say that the winters run in periods of ten years, and that the winter of 1889 was unusually mild, and last winter was very severe, therefore we may expect the coming one to be mild.”
Among the local community news entitled “Rutherwood Rustlings,” submitted by “A Subscriber,” was the notice that, “the good people of this community are using every effort possible to erect a new school house for the accommodation and advancement of education, notwithstanding the opposition is very great.” Another Rutherwood report relayed that, “accommodations are being made to enlarge Brown’s Chapel. The addition will surely meet the approbation of the people, as the house is entirely too small to accommodate the congregations that attend church there.”
October 9, 1919
The “Local Affairs” column in this week’s newspaper announced, “Alfred Adams is moving from the Gross farm west of the village to Meat Camp,” as well as, “chestnuts are dropping and bringing 8 cents per pound on the local market. Good price, but the crop is light.” A blight of American chestnut trees caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica would destroy this source of food, hog feed, and income in the region by 1940. Up to this time, as many as one-fourth of hardwood trees in the Appalachian mountain range had been American chestnuts.
In other news, “the Blair hotel property in Boone changed hands last week, Messrs. Chas. Lewis and Arthur Johnson, both of Cove Creek, being the purchasers. Mr. Johnson and family have moved in, and Mr. Lewis will be here in the near future. They are among the best citizens of our county, and are gladly received as residents of our town.”
October 6, 1938
“HOMECOMING DAY WAS A BIG SUCCESS AT APPALACHIAN,” a banner headline on this edition’s front page, announced that, “Appalachian College’s best homecoming day in history came to a close Sunday afternoon when the college auditorium was filled with an appreciative audience to hear George E. Shapiro’s Little Philharmonic Orchestra concert, said by many to have been the peak of the institution’s series of entertainment features during the past year.” Other homecoming events included an alumni banquet, which at the time of this 35th homecoming had become an annual tradition; “a flag pole dedication ceremony;” and “the Appalachian-Newberry football game Saturday afternoon.”
The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library, Boone, North Carolina, USA.