Appalachian State University Historical Photographs

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For questions about the ASU Historical Photographs, please contact Pam Mitchem.

Phone: 828.262.7422


Appalachian State University Historical Timelines
General Events: 1950-1959


1950: Appalachian Theater catches fire in Boone in January. Damaged in the fire are the movie theater, offices, and a soda shop.

1950: WATA begins broadcasting in Boone on September 24.

1950: The railroad officials make last run of Tweetsie Railroad on September 24. The train ran on the narrow gauge track from Elizabethton, TN, to Cranberry, NC, to inspect the road conditions before being officially abandoned on October 16, 1950. Tweetsie originally ran from Johnson City, TN, to Boone, NC. The section that reached Boone had been washed out in a flood in 1940.

1950: Appalachian State Teachers College is accepted as a member in the American Band Master’s Association in December.

1951: Appalachian State’s Epsilon chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, a national honorary forensic society, is founded.

1952: Appalachian State ceases competing in wrestling matches due to lack of local competition and the cost of traveling to distance locations for meets.

1953: At an annual Science Club seafood supper, members were served crab salad, shrimp, oysters, mussels, snails, grapefruit, cornbread, fillet of eel, and seaweed cookies.

1953: The Playcrafters perform premier of "Wicked John and the Devil" in March.

1953: Monument to former student Romy Story is erected on northern side of College Field during the Homecoming Game. Romy Story graduated from Appalachian Training School in 1903 and organized the school’s first baseball team. The Monument was presumably removed during the construction of Rankin Science Building in the early 1960s.

1953: Forty women in Dauph-Blan Hall are given demerits for having their lights on after eleven p.m.

1953: Wesley Fellowship throws a Masquerade Party in October.

1953: Science Club experiments with mental telepathy during weekly meeting in November.

1953: Appalachian High School is recognized for its contributions in curriculum reorganization by the Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Principals in November.

1954: Playcrafters perform a production of "Home of the Brave," a World War II drama about a Jewish soldier's experience in the South Pacific, in January. The production won the highest rating at the annual drama festival in Chapel Hill, NC, that year.

1954: Graduate Student Club formed.

1954: Beta Psi Chapter of the National Honorary Biological Society, Beta Beta Beta, is established.

1954: Science Club and Beta Beta Beta embark on a program to identify and label all trees on campus.

1955: Nine movies are ordered for free viewing by the Appalachian State student body. Titles include Night and the City, Letter to Three Wives, Streetcar Named Desire, Rhapsody in Blue, Strangers on a Train, Captain Horatio Hornblower, Three Came Home, Young Man with a Horn, and Snows of Kilimanjaro.

1955: A transmitter fire in the WATA radio station in east Boone causes minor equipment damage in February. The fire is started by leak in an oil heater, and the station is off the air for one hour.

1955: A game room is opened in the basement of Lovill Home, including card tables, ping pong tables, and magazines. It is able to be reserved for student parties between 6 and 8 pm. Dancing is prohibited.

1955: In April, Journalist William Shirer speaks at Appalachian on the position of a re-armed West Germany and the political attitudes of the German people.

1955: College Bookstore expanded to include a snack bar, which becomes a popular hangout spot for students.

1955: In October, new library regulations are put in place for girls in dormitories: on-campus women are allowed to sign out of dorms and visit the college library between 8 and 9 pm. Students visiting the library to 9:00 are allowed fifteen minutes to visit the bookstore on their way back to their dormitory and are to be signed back in at their respective dorms by 9:15. Students visiting the library but who return before 9:00 or do not visit the library at all are not allowed to visit the bookstore after 8:00 pm. In November, the library hours are extended to 9:15 and students have until 9:30 to return to dorms.

1955: Appalachian State resumes wrestling competitions with R. W. Watkins as coach.

1955: Daily chapel changed to Assemblies; freshmen required to attend two a week; sophomores, juniors, and seniors required to attend only one.

1955: In May, the campus establishes a Traffic Department.

1955: Freshman Orientation revised; students assigned an advisor

1955: First registration of student vehicles on campus. Freshmen registered 125 vehicles, sophomores 93, juniors 107, and seniors 49, for a total of 275 student cars; women were not allowed to bring cars to campus.

1955: Two thousandth student registers during spring semester at Appalachian State.

1955: Blanford Barnard Dougherty retires as president in June; J. D. Rankin becomes interim president

1955: J. D. Rankin retires as interim president in September; William Howard Plemmons becomes president

1956: On April 24, the first inauguration ceremony for a college president was held at Appalachian State at the official inauguration of President William Howard Plemmons.

1956: Julia Hough and Doris Miller of Appalachian State's debate team are given superior status in the Southeastern Phi Kappa Delta Province Tournament in Cookeville, TN, in April.

1957: A two-room lounge is added beneath the cafeteria in Welborn Hall. One room includes a television and chairs, and the other includes tables for quiet study.

1957: Co-founder and President Emeritus Blanford Barnard Dougherty dies.

1957:  First restrictions on registration: GPA required to be at least 2.0 for unconditional registration

1957: Students are required to be vaccinated for tetanus and smallpox.

1957: General Platoff Don Cossack Chorus performs at Appalachian State in November as part of the Lyceum Program.

1957: Asian Flu outbreak affects 50% of the student body before subsiding in November.

1957: Campus infirmary begins administering three-part polio vaccine to students

1957: Class cuts permitted

1957: Women students allowed to wear slacks on campus for certain occasions with permission from the dean

1958: Encyclopedia Britannica Films, Inc., donates 1400 film strips and their collection library of 16mm film to the Audio-Visual Center.

1958: Playcrafters and the Appalachian State chapter of Alpha Psi Omega are given superior rating at the annual Western Carolina District Drama Festival in March.

1958: Ballad and folksong singer Richard Dyer-Bennet opens spring festival activities.

1958: In May, the Men’s “A” Club installs a seven foot tall Yosef statue in the lobby of the Broome-Kirk Gymnasium.

1958: Plemmons considers making Appalachian State a year-round school for undergraduate students and turning the summer school terms into a fourth quarter of the school year.

1958: The first language lab is opened in the Department of Foreign Languages. It provides mainly Spanish language materials.

1958: Honors Program started

1958: 2140 students enrolled; 108 faculty

1958: First convocation is held.

1958: First Spring Arts Festival

1959: Lawyer Hugh G. Mitchell speaks on campus in February. Mitchell was former chief counselor for the United Nations and served as chief defense attorney for Japanese war criminals after World War II.

1959: Head Coach Bob Broome dies.

1959: Fine for illegal parking rises from $.25 to $1.00.

1959: In May the Appalachian reports a gunman on campus shot a stray dog, nicknamed “Sandy,” in front of White Hall in the middle of the night.




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