The Westfield Historical Society will Induct Elizabeth “Betty” Arthur Pate into its Hall of Fame.
WESTFIELD, NJ — Perhaps her family’s association with the founding of Syracuse, New York, sparked Mrs. Pate’s interest in history something that was not only a hobby with Mrs. Pate — known as Betty — but was also her profession. Almost anyone involved with historic undertakings in Union County, and possibly nationally thought of her as a fount of historical knowledge.
She wrote numerous publications such as “Vantage Points,” the “Lost Arts Workshop Instruction Booklet,” “Miller-Cory Broadside,” an illustrated guide to Westfield’s historical architecture “Salt Box to Split Level” and edited “Heritage Walks in Westfield.”
Plainfield born, Cornell University educated, Mrs. Pate and her husband came to Westfield in 1969 with their five children from Nashville where she wrote for the Nashville Symphony. Mr. Pate frequently traveled for work. Mrs. Pate became involved with scouting because of her daughter and served as director of the Living Heritage Program of the Washington Rock Girl Scout Council from 1970 to 1976.
Mrs. Pate was famous for her “ghost” stories of area haunted houses. She became the director of the Union County Cultural and Heritage Advisory Board. Mrs. Pate served as an author and moderator for colleges, state historical commissions and national conventions such as the American Association of Chemical Engineers, Pioneer Life Association and Rotary.
In 1976, she chaired the Westfield Bicentennial Committee. Mrs. Pate also served as coordinator for the Westfield archeological “Downer dig” on East Broad Street, which produced many historical artifacts.
She was a consultant to local historical societies in Scotch Plains, Mountainside, Cranford, Clark and Westfield.
Mrs. Pate was involved with nonprofits such as the New Jersey Association of Cultural and Heritage Commission, the New Jersey Folklife Advisory Council and the Union County Motion Picture and Television Advisory Board. She directed exhibit services of the Division of Vocational Development of the State Department of Education from January, 1978 to June, 1979.
The force of her personality captivated others to join in projects such as the restoration of the Miller-Cory house, which opened in 1972. She endeavored to obtain historically accurate artifacts for the house and became its education program director.
Her son, Jeffrey, who remains in Westfield, said that it was understood the home telephone was reserved for his mother’s use in the evenings when she made numerous calls to contacts.
In 1981 Mrs. Pate was given the New Jersey Historical Commission’s award for distinguished services to state history as well as the 1981 Certificate of Commendation for state and local history.
The Westfield Historical Society’s 2019 Hall of Fame is proud to induct Mrs. Betty Pate posthumously for her tireless work to preserve the past.
For more information on the Westfield Hall of Fame, The Westfield Historical Society, and their events, visit www.westfieldhistoricalsociety.org. Follow the Historical Society on Facebook.
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