The Week of March 2

Construction_of_Downtown_Boone_Post_Office“Construction of Downtown Post Office,” King Street, Boone, North Carolina, 1938. Courtesy the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and

March 3, 1898

A front-page editorial attributed to “Our Washington Correspondent” in this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat presented the recent incident of the destruction of the U.S. battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, and the writer’s critique of the then-sitting Republican administration of William McKinley in responding to the incident. The Maine had been sunk on February 15 of that year, with two-thirds of the crew lost, and popular journalism of the time is sometimes suggested to have made the loss a pretext for war between the United States and Spain in the Spanish-American War. Wrote the Watauga Democrat‘s correspondent,

“How much longer Congress can stand the strain which has been imposed upon it by the action, or rather non-action of the administration upon the destruction of the battleship Maine and the killing of 250 of its men, in Havana harbor, without an explosion, is problematical.” Continued the article, “Mr. McKinley has disappointed many of his supporters, and nothing but the unwritten law under which Congress has always supported the President in all questions of policy affecting a foreign nation has prevented an outbreak before this.” Asserted the author, “[i]nasmuch as there are probably not 50 men in Congress who do not believe that the Maine was blown up intentionally, it is difficult to understand why Mr. McKinley and the Secretary of the Navy should so persistently assert their belief that the awful calamity was the result of an accident on board the Maine.” Later that year, partly due to pressure from the Democratic Party, the McKinley administration, previously hesitant to enter a war in Cuba, issued an ultimatum to Spain, which was followed by a declaration of war by Spain on the United States, to which the U.S. responded with its own war declaration. The United States was victorious in the war, and won temporary control of Cuba, as well as ownership of former Spanish possessions including the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

March 3, 1938

“Site for New Postoffice Is Approved; Work is Begun Wednesday On Property,” proclaimed a headline this week, introducing an article which detailed that, “[t]he procurement division of the Treasury Department has announced the acceptance of the Mrs. Emma Councill property as the definite location for the new postoffice building and Wednesday morning work had been started on the removal of the stone retaining wall on the front of the premises with the understanding that actual excavation work may be started by the end of the week.” Continued this announcement of the initial construction of Boone’s historic Downtown Station Post Office, “[t]hrough the cooperation of the city authorities, various interested individuals and the WPA administration, it is expected that the lot, which is directly opposite the present postoffice building, will be brought down to the grade required by the department in time for actual construction work to begin on the $75,000 structure by early summer. According to the authorities the building will be one of the most important structures thus far erected in any small city in this section.”


Published in: on March 4, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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