ASU, Mast Store, And More

Appalachian State University, which was formed in 1899, really began to grow in the early 1900's. The school started as Watauga Academy with 53 students, with the first "official" building constructed in 1903. The school became Appalachian Training School that year, and grew on the strength of private and public donations. The first brick campus building was constructed in 1906. The school became a junior college in 1921.


Walnut Grove school, the forerunner to Cove Creek High School, was built in 1903. The Mast family donated land and money to the cause. Board was $6 per month and tuition was $1 per month.

The historic Mast Store in Valle Crucis was typical of general stores of the first decade. Merchants got many of their wares by trading with both local farmers and with drummers, who traveled the region doing business. Sugar, salt, and coffee were usually bought in hundred-pound bags, because transportation was so unreliable that people wanted to stock up. Much produce was stored in barrels and also sold in bulk. Instead of money, many times "due bills" were exchanged to even up balances on trades. The bills could be cashed in on the next deal.

Timbered Ridge Baptist Church was built in 1906 as part of the Three Forks Baptist Association. Grist mills were also popular at the time, with farmers bringing their corn to be ground into meal. Usually the grist operator took a portion of grain for his services. Small cooperative cheese-making and selling ventures were also popular at the time.

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