Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Aug. 5, 1965
“ABC Stores Approved By Blowing Rock Voters” the Watauga Democrat announced in the Aug. 5, 1965, issue.
“Blowing Rock citizens turned out en masse Tuesday and voted overwhelming approval of a proposal to establish an ABC store in the popular mountain top resort town,” the article stated. The vote was 331 to 132. Sale of beer under certain conditions was also approved in a separate vote.
“The election climaxed a campaign in which proponents of the so-called wet cause appeared to have waged the most aggressive campaign, by direct mail and by newspaper publicity. Opponents apparently conducted a quieter campaign,” the article continued.
Appalachian State Teachers College was to enroll 2,885 students that fall, the newspaper noted — a far cry from the more than 18,000 enrolled by the university today.
“Further analysis of the registration figures indicates that of the total 1,785 were graduate students and 1,100 undergraduates; 2,200 in-state and 685 out-of-state; 1,045 men and 1,839 women,” the article said.
An article in the visitors section of the paper detailed the grooming habits of the “Horn in the West” cast. “Razor Blades Not Needed By Bearded Horn In West Cast,” the headline stated.
“The Small Pox Tavern, backstage store at the Daniel Boone Amphitheatre, sells almost everything except razor blades,” the story began. “There’s just no market for shaving equipment since the male cast members in ‘Horn in the West’ are required to grow beards for the summer show.”
“The actors don’t mind growing beards for the drama,” the article continued. “Most look forward to a summer of no shaving. What’s more, their wives don’t mind either. The feminine set believes that a face full of whiskers often looks better than a face without them.”
July 29, 1985
A business brief and a full-page ad in the July 29, 1985, issue of Watauga Democrat announced the grand re-opening of Roses in the Watauga Village Shopping Center (which today is home to Walmart in Boone).
The department store had been closed for remodeling and expansion. The 40,000-square-foot business employed 70 people.
In the Aug. 2, 1985, issue, a page 5 headline stated, “Park Is Planned.”
“After recently joining together residents of the Valle Crucis community have embarked upon an ambitious project — purchasing 12 acres of central Valle Crucis land along Watauga River to develop for a park.
The park was planned as a “fairly private” park for members of the Valle Crucis, Foscoe, Cove Creek and Sugar Grove communities to enjoy.
Aug. 1, 2005
The origins of the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences — opening in 2018 — began in 2005 with Watauga Medical Center and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s purchase of 9 acres on State Farm Road — the old Lowe’s Home Improvement property.
“While originally intended to be developed by John Winkler, Kenneth Wilcox and Jim Deal to feature medical offices, administrative offices for High Country Bank and condominium housing, the entire nine-acre property will be sold to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System ... for $3 million,” a front-page article in the Aug. 1, 2005, Watauga Democrat stated.
Richard Sparks, then-president and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, said the property would most likely be developed “down the road” for outpatient facilities. But he also anticipated the space “could accommodate the joint nursing initiative between Watauga Medical Center and Appalachian State University.”
That initiative later grew into something bigger — the Beaver College of Health Sciences, which is now the second largest college at ASU. ARHS would eventually deed the land over to the university for construction of a building to house the college, which is being constructed using funding from the 2016 Connect NC bond referendum.
“Storm water stays on agenda,” read an Aug. 3, 2005, headline about the Boone Town Council — a headline still relevant as recently as this month as the council discusses a storm water study and potential tax district.
The council’s discussion at the time was about town storm water detention regulations as they related to new subdivisions.