Are you interested in learning about the tourism industry in Watauga County, N.C.? Or maybe you would like to see old photos of the local scenery that attracted so many tourists to this area? The Watauga County Public Library, in partnership with the Watauga County Historical Society, is starting an exciting new digitizing project. Through a LSTA EZ Digitization grant, we are working toward our goal of permanently digitizing the remaining visual and documentary history of Watauga County. If you are interested in volunteering with this project contact Ross or Maria at (828) 264-8784 ex.2
Category Archives: Uncategorized
New and exciting digitizing project at the Watauga County Public Library, and we’re looking for volunteers!
About this Site
Thisblog is a place for sharing of the historical images in the collections of the Watauga County Public Library in Boone, North Carolina.
In particular, the hope is that the fascinating collection of materials collected, preserved, and archived by the Historic Boone society, currently housed at Watauga County Library, may be shared with and made accessible to people outside of the confines of the Library building… indeed, around the world.
To the best of our knowledge, these photographs are either in the public domain or are owned by Historic Boone, which has entrusted the original materials into the keeping of Watauga County Public Library.
If you believe that you own the rights to any image contained herein, please email the Library at
wataugalibrarynews – “at” –
… and, such rights being established, the image will be removed.
Please enjoy these fascinating glimpses back into the past of Watauga County!
Below are 21 more images newly scanned from the archives of the Historic Boone society…
Look for them to be added by category to the existing tabs (below, and right) by subject matter at a future time, and for more details to be added (if available), as well.
Thanks to T. Harmon for this idenitfying information: ”
Photos 5, 13, & 18 are all of the home of Dr. Elijah Filmore Bingham and his wife, Cordelia Love Bingham. It is located in Amantha in the Cove Creek community. If you turn left on Henson’s Branch Rd. just past Henson’s Chapel United Methodist Church, it is just across the bridge. It still stands and is a privately owned home.
Photos 8 & 15 are of the home of former Watauga County Sheriff David Franklin Baird and his family. The home still stands on Highway 194 in Valle Crucis near the original Mast Store. It was last occupied by Sheriff Baird’s grandchildren, Frank & Wilma Baird, who were unmarried siblings. After their deaths, the home was inherited by their Mast cousins. The home is presently unoccupied. The property’s barn was formerly home to Dutch Creek Trails where patrons could rent horses to ride.
Photo #8 is Howard Cottrell, former Mayor of Boone, who also managed the ASU Bookstore for many years. He owned and operated Cottrell Apartments, which stood many years near the bookstore and the First Baptist Church. His former home and apartments were sold to ASU and the new College of Education now stands there.
Photo #14 is indeed of the barn of John Hight Mast. Photo #15 is of Mr. Mast’s home near Silverstone/Mabel and his car (said to have been the first one owned in Watauga County). Mr. Mast stands in front of the car on the right.”
“Dr. James Gray Rivers
He made house calls only, usually by horseback rather than buggy when going out of town. Dr. james Gray Rivers was one of the town’s earliest physicians, arriving here in 1865 – a sympathizer with the Confederates upon whom depended the economic survival of the South. He owned no slaves, however few mountain people did. He had sought political asylum from Union threats in Tennessee. (Quite possibly, these mountains harbored more Union soldiers than Confederates. Some sources even suggest that ‘Mr. Lincoln’s Poor Man’s War’ had far more backers here than the Rebels.) Dr. Rivers’ son, Robert Campbell, became involved in promoting the Watauga Democrat as a community newspaper – with the father of the Dougherty Brothers who started the institution now known as Appalachian State University. The two began operation July 4, 1889, the summer after the Democrat was begun as a political paper to see the Democrat Party through the fall election. Rivers published the Watauga Democrat until his death in 1933, at which time, his successor (his son R.C. Rivers, Jr.) was 33 years old. Having worked in the business since the age of 6, the younger Rivers was publisher until his death in 1975, when he was succeeded by his daughter, Rachel Rivers-Coffey. She was 33 at the time. Today she is publisher emerita – “Still doing the same job” – and her husband, Armfield Coffey, is publisher – also, “still doing the same job” – and loving it. Dr. Rivers, a Mason, was a son of Samuel and Rebecca Rivers, born in Virginia.”
(This caption, apparently a clipping from the Watauga Democrat newspaper, is affixed to the reverse of the image of Dr. Rivers in the archives of the Historic Boone society. No date or issue number accompanies the narrative excerpt – perhaps it is from the late 1980s…?)
Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, held at the Watauga County Public Library, Boone, North Carolina.
Several photographs newly uploaded this week depict the Daniel Boone Hotel, formerly a central point in Downtown Boone, local homes, and a scene from the 1949 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Watauga County (more to come in the future!).
The newly-added photos may be viewed by clicking the tabs ABOVE or TO THE RIGHT entitled “Historic Buildings” and “The 1949 Centennial of Watauga County.”
– Click on any image in the site for an enlarged view!