This photo shows the Shirley-Ragan Service Station in about 1950. The station once stood at the corner of Hardin and Howard streets in Boone. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
June 8, 1899
“It is a practically settled fact that Asheville will soon have an ostrich farm to add to her large and varied list of attractions and industries,” announced a news item on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “A.Y. Pearson, who was at one time a resident of Asheville, he having recovered his health at the Winyah sanitarium, and who has of late years conducted an ostrich farm in California, will establish a branch farm near this city,” continued the item, which attributed as its source another newspaper, simply named as “Gazette.”
In other borrowed news, from the Shelby Star, an editorial posting from that newspaper opined that, “The whipping post is not gone forever! It is possible that it will become necessary to restore this time honored institution, the abolition of which caused all criminals to rejoice, and to again enforce obedience to law by the method that some of our modern apostles of civilization would have us believe is barbarous.” Warned the piece, “[t]his sentiment is not confined to semi-literate North Carolina either[,] for the great enlightened state of New York is agitating the restoration of the whipping post for wife-beaters, and the Asheville Citizen truly says that it will stop crimes as well as this one, and should be adopted.” Continued the writer’s opinion, “A good whipping humanely but soundly administered, will stop petty stealing more effectually than all the chain gangs ever provided.” “No,” concluded this controversial offering, “the whipping post is not gone for good.”
Continuing the pro-corporal-punishment stance, a page two article, seemingly proceeding directly from the editor of the Watauga Democrat, claimed that, “Many of the newspapers of the State are advocating the re-establishment of the whipping post for small offenses, like petty stealing, fighting, etc. It might be the best thing in some respects, as it would do away with the expense of feeding them for months at a time in the county jail. We are convinced that the greater number of those who are imprisoned for these light offenses have not self-respect enough to care. It means cessation from work, plenty to eat, and they care nothing about it. It might be that the fear of forty-nine lashes with the cat-o-nine-tails might cause better behavior throughout the country.”
June 8, 1939
“Service Stations are Being Completed,” an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, reported that “[t]hree important addition s to the automobile servicing business in Boone are in the process of completion.” “The handsome new Sinclair station,” said the story, “east of the Democrat office, is rapidly being completed, and it will be one of the most modern in this territory. Todd’s Esso service station is about ready to use their new and attractive addition for the washing and greasing of autos, while work is steadily going forward on Letcher Teague’s addition to his Gulf place.” The article concluded with an editorial observation, “[t]he oil dealers stay out front in the procession of progress.”