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

Jan. 1, 1925

A headline featured on the front page of the Jan. 1, 1925, edition of the Watauga Democrat read that “3,000 rats killed by Watauga boys.” Per the article, the “Business houses of the city awarded cash prizes to winners in the relentless warfare on pests.” As of the end of December, an estimated 2, 701 rats had been killed, with Dewey Bingham of Rutherwood emerging as the winner.

According to the newspaper, “Bingham collected 360 tails and won a prize of $10 in gold given by the Watauga County Bank.” According to the Watauga Democrat, the contest was put on by “county agents” who hoped that the next year’s campaign would kill “10,000 rats.”

Jan. 3, 1935

According to the Jan. 3, 1935, edition of the Watauga Democrat, Sheriff Howell and his deputies raided their 43rd illicit whisky distillery. One man was taken into custody during the raid on the 100 gallon copper distillery, which was found in Beaver Dam Township.

According to the article, Howell’s “record for the destruction of stills includes the arrest of twenty-five men charged with their operation.” Officers from Tennessee assisted Howell with the raid and the suspect, who was charged with manufacturing, and taken to the Mountain City Jail. According to the newspaper, “200 gallons of beer and a small amount of low wine was destroyed.”

Jan. 11 , 1945

The Jan. 11, 1945, edition of the Watauga Democrat brought word that the last venue for beer in Boone had been denied the license needed to operate. According to the article, Ruth’s Place, a cafe owned by Ruth Bare, was refused a beer license by Mayor Gordan H. Winkler and the board of alderman, “thus closing the last outlet for the foamy beverage” in the city.

The article stated that the board’s refusal to issue the license was “based on legal grounds.” According to the Watauga Democrat, the event marked the first time since 1933 that no beer was available in Boone.

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