February 13


This picture from the first half of the twentieth century is captioned on the back, “The ‘Ole swimming hole” and “Evelyn Bingham at Winklers Creek.” Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and digitalnc.org, NC Digital heritage center.

February 9, 1905
In this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, the front-page news report “Washington Letter,” attributed to “our Regular Correspondent,” opened: “An unusual and dramatic scene was presented in the House of Representatives this week, when railroad rate legislation being under discussion, the Democratic leader, John Sharp Williams, appealed to his efforts to curb the power of the railways. ‘We are committed to this proposition because it is Democratic in principle,’ declared Mr. Williams, ‘and I do not hesitate to say that we are glad to find the President of the United States on the question is more of an American citizen, more interested in the welfare of all people, than any particular Democrat or Republican.'” The sitting President at that time was Republican Theodore Roosevelt, then serving his second term, known for “trust-busting” and limiting monopolies by big businesses. Continued the article, “… turning to the Republicans, Mr. Williams said: We will toe mark the President’s tracks on this subject, and we call on you as American citizens to help us to toe-mark them.’ Mr. Williams remarks were greeted by a burst of applause from both sides of the chamber, although it was noteworthy that many of the Republican leaders, among them, Cannon was not in the chair, Alzell, Grosvenor, Payne and others, failed to applaud and even looked disgusted.” The analysis by the Correspondent relayed to readers, “[t]hat there is no possibility of railway legislation at this session is conceded by those intimate with the legislative situation.” Countering the desire in some quarters to limit the power and monopoly status of some railroads, “[t]he Senate leaders have craftily brought about a situation which precludes the possibility of any important legislative enactment before March 4.” The article claimed that senior Senators had “once more made a tool of the ever ready junior Senator from Indiana, Mr. Beveridge,” to distract the Senate from railroad regulation by focusing on “the Statehood bill,” a reference to measures for bringing the territories of New Mexico and Arizona into full membership in the Union as states. “Our Correspondent” claimed that, “Senator Beveridge was told to bring in the Statehood bill and that the leaders would help him pass it, altho’ they never intended so doing.” New Mexico and Arizona were finally admitted as states in 1912. In the year following the appearance of this article, 1906, the Hepburn act was passed, which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroads by setting maximum limits on the rates which they could charge.

February 9, 1933

The “Weather Report” on the front page of this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat reported, “… for month of January, 1933, as compiled by Co-operative Station at the State Teachers College, J.T.C. Wright, observer: Average maximum temperature, 51 degrees. Average minimum temperature 30 degrees. Average temperature, 41 degrees. Average daily range in temperature 21 degrees. Greatest daily range in temperature 41 degrees on the 2nd … Highest temperature reached, 61 degrees on 19th and 22nd. Lowest temperature reached, 14 degrees on the 1st. Total snowfall in inches, 4.00.” The report recorded “killing frosts” on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 14th, 15th, and 16th of the month of January, despite the apparently mild weather, overall, for the start of a New Year in the High Country.

Read more at alookbackatwatauga.wordpress.com.



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