Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Jan. 26, 1950
“A fire originating in a backstage popcorn machine, swept through the Appalachian Theatre last Saturday afternoon, bringing a loss of $75,000 to $85,000, but the emergency was so skillfully handled by the management that the more than 500 men, women and children, assembled in the playhouse, made an orderly exit just ahead of the raging flames,” a Jan. 26, 1950 article in the Watauga Democrat stated.
The monetary loss from the fire in today’s terms was between $827,777.54 to $938,147.88, according to dollartimes.com
The article stated that Bob Agle, district manager for the Appalachian Theatre chain at the time, and Jay Beach, local theater manager, conducted the evacuation when “It became apparent that the blaze could be handled with the available fire extinguishers.”
“A tank of cooking gas exploded in the rear just as the last of the throng reached the sidewalk, and the flames reached the front doors.
“The local volunteer fire department went into action, while distraught parents searched through the milling throngs of spectators for their children, who had been enjoying a western film,” the article stated.
Boone and Blowing Rock firefighters conducted the fight “against the roaring flames.” The article stated the blaze never seriously threatened other structures in the downtown business block, but smoke and water damage did affect some businesses.
“The building, the property by Mr. W. R. Winkler of Boone” was “one of the most modern in this section of the state and was built in 1937.
“The roof structure was destroyed, with exception to the big supporting beams, which were never allowed to become hot enough to impair their strength. The walls, likewise, are undamaged, but floors, seats, projection machinery, carpeting, etc., were destroyed,” the article stated.
Winkler was quoted in the article saying “I wish to convey my sincere thanks to the Boone and Blowing Rock fire departments for their most effective work in combating the blaze. I am likewise deeply appreciative of the volunteer service rendered by many of the other people in the town as well as from a number of county people. Agle and Beach are to be felicitated for their fine demeanor in evacuating the building and preventing the usual panic, which would most likely have had fatal results.”
Jan. 24, 2001
“Talk about role reversal: This time the Rock will smell what someone else is cooking,” stated a Watauga Democrat article titled “PBS cooking show on herbs filming in Blowing Rock.”
“Of course, in this case the Rock refers to the town of Blowing Rock, not the pro wrestling hero. As for the cooking, that will be done by Tim Haas and Jan Beane. Haas and Beane will be filming an episode of their new cooking show, ‘Herbal Impressions,’ at the Ragged Gardens Inn,” the article stated.
“According to the pair’s web site … they hope to use the show to ‘educate the viewers of the culinary as well as medical value of herbs,’” the article stated.
Jan. 23, 2006
“Off to Iraq,” announced a front-page story in the Jan. 23, 2006, issue of Watauga Democrat. Boone’s 1451st Transportation Company of the N.C. Army National Guard was preparing for a mission in the Middle Eastern country expected to last 15 months.
The unit had just returned from hurricane relief efforts on the Gulf Coast less than two months before. A ceremony for the departing soldiers was to be held at Watauga High School.
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