February 1


This is an image of a large group of men, women, and children on a fishing trip, including Poly Moretz, holding the fishing seine on the left, Sally Coffey, and Reverend Luther Carpenter, located on the back row with the white beard. From the H.L. & Gladys Coffey Collection. “Group Fishing Trip,” Digital Watauga, accessed January 19, 2017, http://digitalwatauga.org/items/show/3189.

January 26, 1922

“It will prove inspiring information to the people of the State that the long[-]contemplated establishment of a mountain highway circuit through the taking over by the State Highway Commission of the Yonahlossee turnpike, from Blowing Rock to Linville, is consummated,” began an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, under the heading “The Yonahlossee.” The piece, which was credited as having been reprinted from the Charlotte Observer, continued: “Mr. Hugh McRay (sic, seemingly a misspelling of MacRae), owner of the turnpike, has made proposition for turning over that highway to the State for a term of ninety-nine years, the State taking it for one dollar in hand. The immediate proposal is to spend $8,000 a year, the first four years, in improvement on the turnpike, and it will shortly be converted into a standard highway. The improvement on the road will establish a route by which one may leave the Central Highway in Hickory and traverse the mountain sections at and around Blowing Rock and return by way of Little Switzerland, coming back into the Central Highway at Marion.” Before the changeover, motorists traveling from Blowing Rock to Linville would have had to pay a toll to the turnpike’s owner. Concluded the story, “it was an important link in the system of mountain highways and its inclusion by the Commission into this mountain network adds to the completeness of the highway equipment of all the western part of the State.” No mention was made of what plans the former owner’s family had made for the proposed end of the State of North Carolina’s lease on the road in 2021.

January 25, 1945

“Yank Troops Now in Four Miles of Reich,” a headline this week with a dateline of “Paris, Jan. 23,”  introduced a news item from the World War II European front, which included the notice that, “the American First and Third armies and the Ninth air force delivered a knock-out blow to the last defenders of the Ardennes today when the doughboys closed to within four miles of the Reich frontier with gains up to five miles on a 30-mile front and the airmen destroyed or damaged nearly 2,000 fleeing enemy vehicles.” Half-a-year after the massive Allied forces invasion of the beaches of Normandy in France, the “doughboys” – a nickname for United States G.I.s which was popularized during the time of the American Expeditionary Forces in the previous World War – had fought through France and come within a short distance of the border of the German homeland.

In related news, a posting from “Allied Headquarters, Luzon, Jan. 24” reported that “United States 14th corps troops pushed to within 52 miles of Manila yesterday by capturing the town of Concepcion and struck nine miles westward to seize Camp O’Donnell, where the Japanese confined many of the Americans who survived the ‘Bataan death march.'” The Empire of Japan had conquered the Philippine islands in 1942, and occupied the nation ever since.


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