Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.

Dec. 19, 1940

Boone shops were seeing the most pre-Christmas shopping in more than a decade, according to the article titled “Holiday buying in full swing, says retailers.”

“Holiday shopping is now hitting its stride in this community and retailers report an unusually brisk business over the weekend, with prospects that the Christmas gift buying will reach its greatest height by the end of the week,” the article states. “Predictions are that the sum total of Boone retail business this year may be higher than at any holiday period since the boom days of 1929.”

It was reported that nearly a million pounds of burley, 970,000 pounds, was sold that year, according to the article “Burley market is to end sales for Christmas Friday.”

“Farmers interviewed are highly pleased with the amounts of their checks and the fair and courteous treatment accorded them by the warehousemen,” the article stated.

The average per-pound price for the week was at around 20 cents, the article explained.

Dec. 17, 1970

Construction was slated to start on a new $2 million continuing education and conference center on the mountaintop of Appalachian Stae’s central campus.

The building, which later became the Broyhill Center, was scheduled for completion in 1972.

“It will provide learning-oriented meeting rooms, a library, hotel accommodations and food services for conventions, extension services, industrial and governmental training programs,” the article stated.

Out of the $2 million cost, $1.5 million would be financed through self-liquidating bonds and the rest through gifts and grants.

The Broyhill Center was demolished in May 2017 after the hotel and conference space closed in 2012.

In other news, ASU head football coach Carl Messere resigned after six seasons and a 34-26-1 record. According to the Watauga Democrat, Messer resigned to devote his full-time efforts to teaching.

Dec. 19, 2010

Watauga County Schools missed nine days of school that month, which was the most of any December in the last 35 years, according to an article titled “Too cool for school.”

“The early arrival of winter has disrupted high school exams and caused schools to call back students from winter break one day earlier, on Jan. 4,” the article stated.

The abundance of missed days also brought the possibility of Saturday school, shortening spring break and moving back the last day of school, the article stated.

“Schools in Watauga County have closed an average of 14 days for weather since 1975,” the article stated. “The fewest number missed in a year was four in 1990-91 and the greatest was 39 in 1977-78.”

Watauga County Schools missed 26 days in the 2009-10 school year, the third-most amount of days missed since 1975 and the most since 1977-78, according to the school system’s records.

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