“Men Threshing Grain,” an agricultural scene from Watauga County in the late 1800s. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library and DigitalNC.org.
February 27, 1890
“Edison’s Inventions,” a front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, began, “‘Do you know.’ asked a well(-)posted man of a group of citizens today, “how many patents that man Edison, we are all talking about, has secured?’ ‘A dozen,” one man answered; ten or fifteen, answered another.’ ‘Just 498,’ was the reply, ‘He has 131 patents in telegraphy alone. He has 180 patents in electric lights; 32 patents on telephones; 8 patents on electric railroads; 21 patents on the phonograph; 4 patents on ore milling and 73 miscellaneous patents. Besides all that, he has 300 applications for patents on all sorts of things now pending.'” Continued the anonymous commentator in this article, “[t]here is perhaps no living man so well posted on electric affairs as Mr. Edison. What he does not know about the world of electricity is not worth knowing;” and, on another topic, “[t]alking in telephones, he says the longest distanced telephone is 750 miles, between Portland, Me. [Maine] and Buffalo, N.Y..” The article also noted that, “[t]here are 170,000 miles of telephone wire in the United States, over which 55,000 messages are sent daily, and there are over 800,000 telephones in use. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are employed in the United States in business solely depending on electricity.”
“We are now trying to fix up the streets in our town,” reported a short article in the Local News section, “but it is rather a discouraging undertaking, when the streets are covered with hogs.” Exclaimed the author,”Oh! for the stock law,” apparently a reference to a wished-for (or existent, but not enforced) regulation of livestock roaming within town limits.
February 24, 1936
“New Ordinance Places Annual Levy on Taxis,” a banner front-page headline this week, introduced an article which relayed that, “[a]n ordinance passed by the city commissioners at their last meeting provides for the collection of $50 a year for each automobile operated in the city as a taxicab; and also levies a license fee of $25 on each truck used for hire.” Continued the item, “[i]n addition each taxicab owner is required to furnish a $10,000 policy on his car to protect passengers and property of others.”
“‘Briar Hopper Boys to Appear Saturday,” announced another headline. “The Briar Hopper Boys, whose musical renditions over radio station WBT have brought them national fame, are scheduled to appear in concert at the courthouse here Saturday evening at 8 o’clock. A second performance starts at 9 o’clock.” Noted the newspaper, “[t]he program is being sponsored by the Boone high school and the proceeds from a small admission charge will be used to aid the junior class in financing the junior-senior reception. Tickets will be on sale by students and later in the week at the Carolina Pharmacy.”
“$25,000 Allotted to Local College” announced that “George W. Coan, Junior, state WPA [Works Progress Administration] administrator, announced that $26,0010.13 had been allocated to Appalachian State Teachers College for the construction of six residences on the campus of the institution.” The new buildings were to be “modernly constructed from native stone,” and would consist of nine rooms each, for use by college faculty.