Backstory and Context
The Watauga Democrat was purchased by Robert Campbell Rivers, Sr. in 1889, and was created to “be ‘the voice of the Watauga Democrat Party.’” R. C. Rivers, Sr. turned the paper over to his son in 1933, R. C. Rivers, Jr., and it remained with the family until 1994 when Rachel Rivers-Coffey sold the paper, and it has continued to run to the present. Although the Watauga Democrat held partisan ties at its conception, it transformed into a “highly respected non-partisan publication” for the region.
On the death of R. C. Rivers, Jr. in 1975, both the property and the newspaper passed into Rachel Rivers-Coffey’s possession and she, in turn, donated the land and the buildings on it to the township two decades later. Despite the township’s possession of the building, the building is not currently in use. There has been some discussion of possible repair work to convert the structure to an official use.It is worth noting that the sugar maple in the yard is believed to be the oldest and largest tree of its type in North Carolina. The locals have fondly nicknamed the tree “Baby,” and it is an interesting feature on the property. A low fence has been erected by the town to protect Baby from harm.