An interesting article appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times in January discussing local contributors. Those from Avery who submitted news were Charles VonCanon (Banner Elk and Newland), Ivan Stafford (Lees-McRae College), Lela Shell (Elk Park), Hope Teaster (Minneapolis) and Francis Todd (Plumtree).
For the first time in the history of Avery County, a local politician presided over the state senate. B.H. Winters of Elk Park wielded the gavel for a day in February, ruling that a motion from the senator from Clay County was out of order. The motion? To move the capital of North Carolina to a warmer climate.
That same month, more than 2,000 trout were released in local streams. The trout had been reared in the state fish hatchery in Pineola.
Pine Grove Methodist Church sponsored two new Girl Scout troops in Ingalls in April. There was also a Boy Scout troop that met at the church. Girl Scout Troop 9 was led by Lottie Ollis, while Brownie Troop 33 was led by Wilma Heaton. The Boy Scout Troop was Troop 19, led by Ernest Davenport.
Elections were held in Newland and Elk Park. In Newland, Tate C. Daniels beat George M. Banner for the mayorship, with Robert Guy, Jim Banner, and S.K. Mortimer re-elected as aldermen. In Elk Park, Fred Hughes was re-elected mayor, with T.L. Harmon, Clyde McClain, Gurney Guinn, Pat Hughes, and Julius Turbyfield as aldermen.
The ongoing debate about the route of the Blue Ridge Parkway around Grandfather Mountain made news again in July. Those who opposed the high route across the mountain believed it would leave a “great scar for about 7 miles on the face of Grandfather,” the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The route would be studied and debated for years.
Several local citizens made a trip to Iceland in August. They included Dewey Stewart, Henry Clark, Russell Banner, Mack Rayfield, Jack Greene, Ronald Parker, Port Thompson, and his son.
In Newland in August, Dr. Franklin Roberts opened an office. Roberts grew up in Statesville, and graduated from Wake Forest College. He was also a U.S. Navy veteran.
Four teenagers were arrested in Collettsville, Caldwell County, in September, charged with robbing the Esso Gas Station at the entrance of Grandfather Mountain of $500 worth of cigarettes, candy, camera film, and other merchandise. The young men were also being questioned regarding robberies at a Blowing Rock service station and golf course concession stand.
That same month, E.L. Stamey was at work on his livestock market near 19-E and Mullins Hill Road. In late September, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Clark, with Bob Guy, headed to New York to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers square off against the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Also in September, the Avery County News reported that Constable Melvin Wise and Sheriff Paul Johnson busted up a 250-gallon-capacity still in the Gragg section of Avery County.
In October, the Tri-County News reported that “Several oak trees have been given by the members of the Crossnore Baptist Church for the flooring of the new church. A free day of labor was given by some of the men for the cutting of these trees on last Saturday.”
At Crossnore School, Inc., the Atwell Dormitory was completed. At Riverside Elementary School, new blackboards, bulletin boards, and lights were installed, along with new paint and new shelves in the library.
Rumors were running high in November that the Cranberry Iron Mines were to reopen and employ 200 people. The mines had been closed since 1929.
The senior class from Crossnore High School headed to Washington, D.C. in December for their senior trip. Including chaperones, the party contained 42 people.
Horton Cooper writes that in 1955, Avery County had 1,200 acres of cabbage grown; 13 Grade A dairies, two bean auction markets, and retail sales just over $3 million.
In national news, Marian Anderson became the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in January; President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends the first US advisors to South Vietnam in February; in March, Billy Hayes topped the U.S. charts with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” kicking off a coonskin cap craze; the first McDonald’s opened in April in Illinois; Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” premiered in June, while Disneyland theme park opened in July in California; “Gunsmoke” debuted in September, the same month that actor James Dean was killed; Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat to a white woman on December 1, and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” was released on December 15.
Those born in 1955 include author Max Lucado, actors Gary Sinise, Bruce Willis, and Kevin Costner; actress Whoopi Goldberg; Chief Justice John Roberts; author John Grisham; Senators Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham; Gov. Mike Huckabee; and billionaire Bill Gates. Those who died in 1955 include Medal of Honor winner Ira Hayes, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, first woman American gold medalist Margaret Abbott and baseball great Cy Young.