As part of ongoing activities associated with the Boone 150 celebrations in 2022, marking the 150th anniversary of Boone’s official incorporation as a town on January 23, 1872, the Watauga County Historical Society (WCHS) has established the Watauga County Historical Society Hall of Fame. Throughout 2022, WCHS will name twelve individuals or groups—one each month—as members of the inaugural class of the WCHS Hall of Fame.
For the month of January 2022, the WCHS is delighted to announce that Elizabeth “Bettie” Bateman Bond has been named as the first inductee of this inaugural class of the WCHS Hall of Fame, which honors individuals, either living or dead, who have made significant and lasting contributions to Watauga County’s history and/or literature, including those whose efforts have been essential to the preservation of Watauga County’s history and/or literature. Honorees need not have been residents of Watauga County. The WCHS is particularly interested in honoring individuals who meet the above criteria but who may have been overlooked in traditional accounts of Watauga County’s history and literature, including women and people of color. Selections for this inaugural class were made from nominations submitted by members of the Digital Watauga Project Committee (DWPC) of the WCHS. Beginning in 2023, the WCHS will also consider nominations from members of the public, which in turn will be evaluated by the DWPC.
A native of Danville, Kentucky, and a 1964 graduate of Centre College with a double major in English and History, Bettie Bond moved to North Carolina in the late 1960s, along with her husband John (a biologist), to pursue graduate work in American and Asian history at North Carolina State University. The Bonds relocated to Boone in August 1971, when John took a position in ASU’s Department of Biology. Bettie joined the History Department faculty of Appalachian State University (ASU) in 1973. A Fulbright scholar in 1976, Bettie earned her doctorate in Education at UNC-Greensboro in the early 1980s. During her tenure at ASU, she was a leading force in enhancing the ASU library and served as co-chair of ASU’s Centennial celebration in 1999. She was awarded ASU’s Outstanding Service Award in 2005.
Following her retirement from ASU in 1996, Bettie volunteered for many years with ASU’s Appalachian Cultural Museum, which interpreted the region’s history from 1989 until its closure in 2006. In addition, Bettie has been a member of the Watauga County Historical Society for decades, serving as its president for much of the 21st century; she is also an inaugural and continuing member of the Digital Watauga Project Committee, the primary project of the WCHS since 2014. For the past 30 years, she has been on the board of the Watauga County Community Foundation, which coordinates 35 different funds that provide support to numerous causes in Watauga County, several of them literary and historical. Bettie was an inaugural member of the Boone Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) beginning in 2007, and she continues to serve as vice-chairperson; along with other members of the HPC, she has played a vital role in advocating for the acquisition, restoration, and long-term preservation of the Downtown Boone Post Office, the designation of several local landmarks and historical markers, and the establishment of the Downtown Boone Local Historic District in 2021. Bettie has also served for over a decade on the board of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, playing a critically important role in the rehabilitation and reopening of the theater in 2019. She has been a consistent supporter of Horn in the West for many years. She has also served on the boards of Appalachian State University’s Belk Library and the Watauga County Public Library (WCPL) for decades, helping to promote literacy and greater access to library materials for all in our community. She is presently at work on a capital campaign for the expansion of the WCPL.
The WCHS is delighted to honor Bettie for her innumerable contributions to the preservation of Watauga County’s history and literature.