This Place in History: Pates Hotel on Archibald Street

Vermont Historical Society

BURLINGTON, Vt.

At ‘This Place in History’, we’re in Burlington’s Old North End with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We’re in front of this interesting building here which was the home and business of an important family, generationally to this part of Vermont. Elise Guyette, author of “Discovering Black Vermont” is going to join us and tell us what went on here,” introduced Perkins.

“We’re standing in front of a house that used to be called The Pates’ or Pates Hotel and it was owned by two generations of an African American-Filipino family. So for 67 years, it was owned by two generations of the same family,” explained Guyette.

“The family that lived here was Cleta Harrison King Pate. She is from the Philippines. First of all, she married a William King, who was a Buffalo Soldier in the 10th Calvary. And then later, she married Frank Pate, also a Buffalo Soldier in the 10th Calvary.”

“There’s a connection there between the Philippines and the 10th Calvary,” added Perkins.

“They were [in the Philippines] right after the Spanish-American War for what the U.S. called The Philippine Insurrection. And then they came to Fort Ethan Allen in 1909,” explained Guyette.

“Cleta was married to William King. A year after they were relocated to the fort, Cleta has a passionate love affair with Frank Pate. Cleta gets divorced. She marries Frank Pate. He was discharged dishonorably for running an illegal alcohol establishment.”

“That’s how they finally ended up moving here to Archibald Street. It started very soon after that as a hotel. It was in a couple of different books for people of color who were traveling. The Hackley and Harrison Book was the first one. And then it was in the Green Book for the entire run of the Green Book,” said Guyette.

“This is about the time that cars are becoming popular and people are beginning to travel the country. And people of color had a big problem because a lot of people wouldn’t take them in. Restaurants wouldn’t serve them. They couldn’t even go buy gas. They couldn’t stay in hotels. And it happened in Burlington, too.”

“An interesting thing about 1930 was that baseball was big in Burlington at the time. And there was a promoter who worked at South Park, which is now Callahan Park. Nobody was coming to the baseball games. No one was interested because the team was so bad. So he looked around New England and he found a team in Connecticut. They were a colored team, they called them. The team moved to Burlington and they needed a place to live for the summer They lived here in the Pates House. So they were the Burlington Colored All Stars. Apparently they had a pretty good year and people started coming back to watch baseball.”

“[The hotel] lasted from that 1930 to 1966 when the Green Book went out of publication.”

“It’s interesting that on this street we have families that owned businesses for a very long time. There’s a grocery store down on the corner called J & M that was owned for 100 years by two different families, one of them Jewish and one African American. So, you can look at who was living here and who had businesses here in this part of the Old North End and there were a lot of people of color who built this place; built this place where we’re standing,” concluded Guyette.

At ‘This Place in History’!

For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historic site markers, click here.

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