Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Nov. 21, 1935
Approximately 300 people were reported to be on the federal payroll in Watauga County on 13 different projects of the Works Progress Administration, according to an article in the Nov. 21, 1935, edition of the Watauga Democrat.
“It is not believed that more than fifty more, physically fit, will show up for the sustenance wages provided under the Works Progress program,” the article stated.
Projects that had been started under the WPA, according to the article, included school buildings in Bethel, Mabel and Valle Crucis, a school in Boone for black students, general repair work on the courthouse and county home, an athletic field in Boone for any high school needs, improvements and surfacing for different streets in Boone, work on Laurel Creek and Laurel Branch roads, work on the Shulls Mill-Blowing Rock highway and a road going up Howard’s Creek and sewing rooms for the employment of women in Boone, Blowing Rock and possibly Cove Creek.
Work on a Boone high school building was expected to start that week, the article added, and was expected to cost $24,000.
The WPA was a New Deal federal agency created by President Frankling D. Roosevelt earlier in 1935 that was designed to employ millions of job seekers during the Great Depression. The program was dissolved in 1943 during World War II.
In other news, the first snow flurries of the winter season fell on Watauga County that week, a front-page brief stated.
Nov. 24, 1955
The Boone burley tobacco market was to open for the 17th season the next week and was poised for its most successful season ever, according to an article titled “Weed receipts heavy on eve of season’s start.”
“Buyers, bookkeepers, weightmen, ticket markers, graders and other workers are assembling and everything will be in readiness when the rhythmic chant of the auctioneers signals the start of bidding on the first basket at Mountain Burley Warehouse No. 1,” the article stated.
Tickets would be given out to every farmer who sold a basket, with a lottery at the end of the season to be held. The winner would receive a free 1956 GMC truck.
In other news, the N.C. Legislative Study Committee visited Boone the previous week to discuss the state’s highway needs and long-range plans.
Nov. 22, 1985
Legalizing beer and wine in Boone and the possibility of opening an ABC store nearly went to the polls in 1985 after the Boone Town Council discussed and later clarified a vote on the subject, according to a Watauga Democrat article titled “Town (almost) calls for ABC vote.”
Councilman J.T. Winkler made a motion for an Alcoholic Beverage Control election, adding the item to the agenda at the meeting itself. The motion was in response to a petition in favor of its passage, Winkler said.
Both Winkler and W.E. Rucker, who seconded the motion, said they didn’t endorse the sale of alcohol, but were rather putting it in the controlled environment of a vote, the article said.
According to the article, Winkler and Rucker voted in favor, with Len. D. Hagaman and Larry Keeter going against, then “after some hesitation, Councilman R. Clyde Winebarger voted — seemingly in favor of it,” the article states.
Keeter adjourned the meeting and was heading home, but Winebarger spoke up and said he voted against the motion. Keeter was called back to town hall.
“After 45 minutes of deliberation the town council reconvened in an emergency meeting at 11 p.m.,” the article stated.
In the brief emergency meeting, Winkler and Rucker withdrew their motion and second, eliminating the vote. It was also noted that Winebarger didn’t completely understand the motion.