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

Jan 4, 1940

Boone residents were without water on Jan. 2, 1940, the result of “thoughtless householders” who left faucets running through the previous night to prevent frozen pipes, according to a Watauga Democrat article titled “’City water fails as mercury drops to season’s low.”

The drain on the water system was so weak that it froze in place. However, the cooperation of Appalachian State Teachers College in pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the water system helped the town.

“By mid-afternoon, residents in the principal section of the town had water, but on some of the higher eminences in residential sections, water buckets were still bringing in enough of the fluid for cooking purposes,” the article stated.

The town then enacted an ordinance setting a $10 fine for leaving spigots running during the night. The town water system was thawed as of press time, but the system wouldn’t be in complete operation until the next thaw, the article stated.

Jan 1, 1970

The 1970s opened with Watauga County finally clearing 16-18 inches of snow that had blanketed the county over Christmas, according to a Watauga Democrat article titled titled “Highway Forces Battle Gales To Open Roads.”

“Piles of snow along King Street in Boone sharply curtailed midtown activity (Dec. 27) after stores opened for post-Christmas business,” the article stated. “Town crews went to work through (the night of Dec. 28) and had several piles of snow cleared out for near-normal business activity Monday.

Dale Blevins of the Watauga State Highway Commission office told the Watauga Democrat that 83 men worked through the five-day period to clear the snow. The men split shifts so that road equipment was working 24 hours a day.

The black roads and white hills meant that thousands of skiers flocked to the area as most ski mountains were opening for the first time of the season.

“Reports from area slopes recorded record crowds on (Dec. 25-26) and although a soft snow and wind made skiing difficult, most reported good crowds on (Dec. 27-28).”

Jan. 3, 2000

A time capsule was buried on New Year’s Eve that was not to be reopened until 2050, according to a Watauga Democrat story titled “Time capsule captures snapshot for future.”

“Sesquicentennial coordinator Len Cone supervised the close of the county’s birthday festivities on Dec. 21, after which residents were invited to make their contributions to the capsule up until 5 p.m. Dec. 31,” the article stated.

Items such as 1999 editions of the Watauga Democrat, a cookbook, books and other personal items were included in the time capsule.

Elsewhere, filing for the 2000 elections began at 12 p.m. on Jan. 3 and no local problems were reported from the much-feared Y2K computer bug, according to Blue Ridge Energy.

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