Prior to declaring a quorum and calling the meeting to order, Chairman Bob Conte made several introductory comments regarding the meeting arrangements. He then called the meeting to order at approximately 9:40 a.m. Voting members present were Dr. Ken Bailey, Margaret Brennan, Dr. Charles Hulse, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Kip Stowell, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, Joy Stalnaker, and Marjorie Zirk. Ex officio voting member present was Michael Shock, president, West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio voting member absent was Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association. Ex officio non-voting members present were Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; Fredrick Armstrong, director of Archives and History and secretary to the commission; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; Adam Hodges, director, Museums Section; and Dr. Michael Ed. Hohn, director, WV Geological and Economic Survey. Non voting ex officio member absent was Phyllis Baxter, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Others present were Erin Riebe, Historic Preservation staff; Chad Proudfoot, Capitol Building Commission vice chair, and members of the public (signed register attached to official minutes) interested in specific sites on the agenda for presentation for National Register consideration.
Chairman Conte referred members to the minutes of the 29 September 2006 meeting, mailed earlier, and asked if anyone wished to move for their approval or if there were any additions and/or corrections to be made. Ms. Pierce asked for an amendment to the minutes on page three, sixth line from the top, wherein it was stated “the transfer of Mike Mills.” She requested this to read that Historic Preservation had “contracted” with him. There being no further comments, Chairman Conte called for their approval. Dr. Ledbetter moved that the minutes be approved, as presented, with the correction requested by Ms. Pierce. Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte introduced Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith and called on him to present his appointment of Adam Hodges as the new Museums Section director for the commission’s advice and consent. He introduced Mr. Hodges and commented on his background and work at the Museum in the Park site. He then asked if there were any questions, and there being none, Chairman Conte indicated that the commissioner could proceed with his report. Mr. Armstrong raised a point of order, stating that the Code required the commissioner to present section director appointees for advice and consent by the commission. Commissioner Reid-Smith provided additional information on Mr. Hodges’s education and work experience, concluding that he had the organizational, programming and leadership skills for the position. Mr. Armstrong stated that the commission had several times raised its concern regarding this vacancy since May 2001. Chairman Conte commented that he was thrilled to have a candidate for the position and asked if there was interest in a motion to consent to the appointment of Adam Hodges as Museums Section director. Dr. Bailey moved to advise and approve the appointment of Adam Hodges as Museums Section director. Dr. Walker seconded the motion to embrace the appointment. Motion carried.
Commissioner Reid-Smith thanked the commission for its approval of the appointment and at the request of Chairman Conte presented his report. He informed members that the governor’s budget submitted to the legislature included the division’s improvement level package, totaling $3,980,000. This included $2.6 million for fire code issues, a dry fire suppression system throughout the building, fire doors, ADA approved hand rails, and environmental issues of the mold and mildew, and $134,000 for an assessment of the collections space for the museum and the archives. The budget also included an improvement package for West Virginia Independence Hall, with $750,000 for a new air conditioning unit for the HVAC system and $499,000 for the flag exhibit of the Civil War flags. He reported that his Senate budget presentation had gone well and the House Budget hearing was scheduled for 8 February. He requested members support these budget improvements in discussions with their legislators.
Regarding personnel, the division would have a new director of Administration in early February. Director of Arts Jacqueline Proctor would be promoted to Deputy Commissioner to replace Ginny Painter, who had taken a communications position with Higher Education. He hoped to be able to fill the Arts position by the end of February. He commented on recent press stories and stated his goal for the agency was to be a “do good, feel good, constituent agency” that shines. As this concluded his report he asked if there were any questions.
In reply to Chairman Conte’s inquiry about the assessment of collections space, Mr. Hodges stated this would be contracted out and Mr. Armstrong stated it probably would require a different contract expertise for the museum and the archives. He noted that the professional associations for each would have references for qualified experts to conduct the assessments. Commissioner Reid-Smith invited suggestions from members and commented on the museum’s interest in accreditation and the space-saver shelving system. Chairman Conte called on Mr. Hodges for the Museums Section report.
Mr. Hodges referred members to the copies of the report distributed to them earlier in the meeting (copy attached to official minutes). The collections/exhibitions staff had been working on a number of projects related to the Governor’s Mansion. The “West Virginia’s First Ladies” (dolls) exhibit would feature the current First Lady’s doll made by Ms. Joanne Gelin from Huntington. The commissioner noted that she was one of 140 certified artists to make these and she would be working on dolls for those serving since Ms. Rockefeller. An exhibit case in the Cultural Center features china, crystal and silver from the Governor’s Mansion. Mr. Hodges informed members that the staff also was working on an exhibition of photographs and prints from portraits of the First Ladies for display in the Governor’s Mansion. Senator Byrd’s fiddle and a tape of him playing was another exhibit in the Cultural Center. The building was decorated for the holidays, including ornaments created by children for the First Lady’s ornament contest, with the winning ornaments rotated from the Governor’s Mansion one year to the Capitol Rotunda the next and then to the Cultural Center. An exhibit of 56 fashion dolls by artist Pete Ballard has been brought back and placed on display with 15 of his paintings in the Art Gallery. On display in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday are student posters submitted in the annual contest and a traveling exhibit “From Freedom’s Shadow: African Americans at the United States Capitol” from the United States Capitol Historical Society.
Mr. Hodges announced that staff had assisted the Hawk’s Nest State Park in closing its museum and relocating some of the objects to Ansted, where they attempted to emulate the exhibits. Some of the objects were removed to Culture and History’s museums’ collection to assist with their preservation. He then reported on continuing work on reopening of the State Museum. Ms. Brennan interrupted to ask if the Capitol Cafeteria’s placement in the State Museum space would have an impact on the project. Mr. Hodges and Commissioner Reid-Smith stated that it would not. Chairman Conte asked Mr. Hodges to go through this portion of his report. Mr. Hodges commented on staff work on the museum project and on a temporary exhibit, referred to as “A Taste of the Museum,” which is a preview of the State Museum. It will include some of the larger, more substantial artifacts, with the graphics and text created by designers for the new State Museum, and the education manager providing interpretation for visitors. He then reviewed the museum components from the Show Path that follows chronologically through the state’s history, with zones on specific periods and topics, and the Connection Rooms for more in-depth study or presentation of related historical materials. The commissioner interjected that the agency was using the cafeteria as a positive opportunity to get the ideas out to the public and make people aware of the level of detail developed for the new State Museum. The museum will be advertised and photographs of a different senatorial district will be highlighted each week. Chairman Conte stated that most of the people who will see these displays will be state employees and the commissioner agreed, but the legislators and school children also will see the displays and this would help offset the fact that the museum has been closed for three years this month. In response to Ms. Brennan, the commissioner stated that the museum would not reopen before the fall of 2008 and probably not until early 2009. The complete design is done and has been given to the architects, but the special effects and audio visual programs are yet to be worked out. All of this will have to be worked through the state purchasing system, which will take time. In reply to Dr. Ledbetter, the commissioner stated they were working on the final cost analysis which would be presented to the governor who would submit it as a supplemental appropriation request. He stated that the governor had told him from the beginning to get the project done and this is why it is being pushed ahead.
Mr. Hodges continued his report, informing members of the work on the education component for teachers for their class room visits to the new museum and their interest in developing a “Digitales” program, which he explained was like an oral history, but in a multi-media format. The plan was for students to be able to develop these in the Connections Rooms and to present them in the museum. He noted the work of Jim Hunt, who was coordinating the budget and purchasing, the architects and exhibit fabrication and audio visual contractors and staff to coordinate the project and meet deadlines. He and the commissioner concluded the report, stating that the bid materials would go out the middle of the next week and that the bids for the archeological addition at Grave Creek had been received and that ground would be broken soon.
In response to Dr. Bailey’s question about the first First Lady to be photographed, rather than have a portrait done, the commissioner discussed that exhibit and explained that there were three similar frames being used in the event one goes out of style. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question on the newspaper article that the project would cost about $17.5 million, the commissioner stated the final figure had not been determined and until it was he was not going to submit a request because he intended to ask only one time. He informed members that the division had $6.5 million in its account and a commitment of another $3 million in capital improvements funds from the Secretary of Administration, which is being drawn down now. The Museum Board committed to raising $2 million, of which they have raised $500,000, which brings the total to $11.5 million, which when subtracted from the project $17.6 million, would leave $6.1 million to be requested as a supplemental. Members were invited to make arrangements when in Charleston to see the First Lady doll exhibit or to be taken through the museum plans. He offered to bring the museum consultant, who has twenty years experience with Universal and Paramount and special effects, to the next meeting to explain the plans. Dr. Ledbetter noted that while he enjoys the Clay Center, it still confuses him how the legislature can give public funds to build a private facility and not do likewise for the State Museum. The Clay Center went back repeatedly for additional public funding and he would not worry about the commissioner going back for additional funds, if needed. The commissioner responded that he wanted the agency to act responsibly and to be accountable for how they spend the money, because he wanted to make his next request for increased funds in the division’s programming budget, as next year will be the agency’s 30th anniversary.
Before Chairman Conte could move on with the agenda, Ms. Brennan requested an update on the discussion at the last meeting regarding the re-allocation of space in the Cultural Center for Archives and History and the Library Commission. The commissioner thanked Ms. Brennan for her e-mail and stated that at some point these libraries would be combined, but that he did not have a time line for it. He assured members that excellent care of the archives will be taken and that there would be adequate space. He stated that this situation was not his fault – it is what he has been commissioned to do – and it looks as though the libraries will be combined. He offered to call each member to let them know as soon as he knew when and how it is to happen. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question about a plan to put a restaurant in this space, he stated it was not a restaurant but a café. There would be no kitchen and no food stored over night. There will be a Museum Shop and a Coffee Shop and it will be truly a taste of West Virginia. Everything in there will be juried art. Visitors will be able to go out on the veranda and eat at cafe tables. Ms. Brennan responded that she did not have a concern with a gift shop but she had real difficulty with putting food with archives, if it is not necessary. The commissioner stated that there were probably between 100 and 120 receptions a year bringing food in and out of the building, in addition to the employees eating there. Ms. Brennan stated she still had concerns with this on an ongoing basis, and that she had real concerns putting a circulating library in with a non-circulating library. The commissioner stated that as he becomes aware of things, he can call her or the commission can pick three people for a committee that he can call. He then stated that every library he had used, universities and public libraries, has circulating and non-circulating collections. When Mr. Armstrong questioned this statement, the commissioner responded that at his university library, there were items that could not be taken out and other items that could. Mr. Armstrong replied that an archives is not synonymous with a library.
Chairman Conte then asked Ms. Brennan to be on this committee, to which she inquired if the committee was to be consulted before anything is done or before a final phase-in of the plan. As the commissioner stated he would be happy to work with them, Mr. Armstrong stated that under the Code, commission members are to be involved, apprized, not after the fact, but during the process. They do not have to approve it, but their role is to advise, to see if it is in the best interest of functions, services, and collections that the units of the Division of Culture and History are responsible for – whether for the museum’s collections management or overall exhibit interpretation, or the archives collection acquisition program or collections storage or access. Mr. Armstrong stated that, as he read this language, it is a role of the commission to see that the state is doing things in line with what is being done nationally in these areas. He then referred to the Virginia State Library and the State Archives, which, while in the same building, are not maintained in an integrated system. After citing examples of how Virginia cared for and oversaw access to archival collections, he stated there would be no way to guarantee the security and protection of the collections in the same library space with lending materials and basically one entrance door. As a professional working in archival programs, he had observed how the National Archives provided security of its collections, which Archives and History currently could not provide because of lack of space and staff. He spoke to the unique and rare historical documents in the collection and how a John Brown letter put on exhibit in the museum had “walked” out of the building. If that same John Brown letter were put in a lending/non-lending library environment, he, the custodian of the state’s valuable historical collections, would no longer hold himself responsible, nor guarantee that it would not walk out the door. At this meeting it was noted there was funding to assess collections needs and storage. It is already known that the HVAC controls have failed in the past to provide the proper recommended environment for collections, resulting in mold and mildew. Yet, at the same time, there are plans to further compromise and jeopardize the archives collections by co-mingling them with lending library materials and by exposing them to the increased potential for infestation resulting from additional food service in the building. He concluded, stating that both as Archives and History’s director and as a professional, he wanted to go on record that if this went forward, he would have no choice but to see it as total disrespect for what he had attempted to do in thirty years of service. Dr. Bailey related his experiences at the Alderman Library, which were similar as those described by Mr. Armstrong, and Dr. Ledbetter stated the same for the National Archives and West Virginia State University. In response to Mr. Tenney’s question about what mechanisms have to be done to maintain these collections and to guarantee that they will be preserved, Chairman Conte stated that it appeared that it was the sense of the commission that it has to be seriously considered in the planning of whatever is to evolve, that it would take time, but that all the details should be worked out ahead of any merger consideration or action. Mr. Tenney stated that the commission should be a part of the advising process and provided with a written statement justifying the merger. Commissioner Reid-Smith responded that it was just a proposal and nothing had been done definitely on it yet. Chairman Conte appointed a committee of Ms. Brennan, Dr. Bailey and Mr. Tenney to monitor the situation. The commissioner inquired what would happen if new members were appointed to the commission, to which Chairman Conte stated they would refurbish the committee. He then called on Ms. Pierce for the Historic Preservation report.
Ms. Pierce referred to her report distributed earlier (copy attached to official minutes) and noted the highlights. The End-of-the-Year Report to the National Park Service had been submitted in December and their annual authorization for funds, which this year, was based on a Congressional continuing appropriation resolution. They submitted a scope of work and budget to the Division of Highways to continue their annual contract with them. They had submitted a Transportation Enhancement application for assistance in the development of the GIS database effort. Later on the agenda the commission would be reviewing the staff appraisal and recommendation for funding the Survey and Planning Grants. The Comprehensive Plan activities for public meetings were in place to begin on February 8 in Fairmont. An associated questionnaire has been drafted and is currently being laid out and will be printed and mailed, as well as posted on the web site.
Continuing her report, Ms. Pierce advised members that staff continued to consult with the sponsors of the Blair Mountain nomination and the sponsors are still working on revisions to address the Keeper’s comments. She informed members that she, Mr. Armstrong, and the commissioner had attended the court hearing on the Blair Mountain lawsuit. During Ms. Riebe’s maternity leave, staff had responded to the inquiries related to this site and other National Register sites. Ms. Pierce noted that members should have received their 2007 calendar in the mail. Nine scholarships were awarded for people to attend the National Trust Annual Conference in Pittsburgh this fall. Chris Knorr has been working on the tax credit program as well as overseeing the development grants, and a contract architect was monitoring development grants as well. The announcement for the 2008 development grants with a deadline of March 31 went out earlier in the month. After briefly commenting on the pending Grave Creek addition ground breaking, she commented on the work of the two curators working there, which included some of the Section 106 reviews. She concluded her report by requesting that the National Register nominations be moved up on the agenda to accommodate the several guests waiting outside.
Chairman Conte inquired about the reference on the agenda under Old Business for Blair Mountain and Ms. Pierce stated she had nothing additional to report on this at this time. He stated that he would call upon Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Proudfoot to present their reports and then move to the National Register nominations, placing them above Old Business.
Mr. Armstrong referred members to the previously distributed statistical and narrative report (copy attached to official minutes) on Archives and History for September through December. He briefly noted the success of the Virginia/West Virginia Conference held in Lewisburg with the Virginia Genealogical Society, the topic being: “The Old Dominion: Two States, One Heritage,” with about seventy-five participants in the workshops during the day. The workshop series featuring the Archives Library collections and staff expertise had been well received and attended as a result of press notification. The fall run concluded in October with a celebration of Archives Week at the archives to recognize some of the significant donors and users of the collection. The “We are Marshall” film and its consumer out take package demonstrated another significant use of the archives during this reporting period.
In the area of education, staff was working with the teaching American History, Byrd grants, with professor Robert Rupp at West Virginia Wesleyan College in central West Virginia and the RESA III Project Teach II on using original, historical materials and documents in the classroom. Staff is also working with West Virginia State University on classes on Slavery and African-Americans in the Kanawha Valley and the Glenwood Home. In October, Archives and History co-sponsored another lecture with the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable. Public Broadcasting requested archives participation in developing programming for the August to December time period for the release and follow up on Ken Burns WW II documentary.
A major expenditure of staff time is the project to run state newspapers as a final effort to identify any remaining West Virginians missing from the Veterans Memorial. They are near completing World War II and the potential number of additions and changes is 1,233, with Korea and Vietnam yet to complete. Simultaneously, Mr. Armstrong is working with Cold Springs Granite and other potential memorial companies who may be able to perform the removal and replacement of names.
Staff continues to work with the Genealogical Society of Utah on the next ten counties of births, deaths and marriages to be put online for the West Virginia Vital Research Records Project. In addition to working on the new names and records, staff continues to make corrections to those posted as researchers identify them.
He informed members that the Department of Administration had recently contacted the agency and secretary’s office regarding its interest in a Code revision to transfer state records responsibility to the archives, based on their success with the county records program. He noted that he had advised against this without dedicated funding as the current program was only records warehousing arranged with a private vendor. Archives and History did not have the resources, staff, time or space, to do the job correctly and had no interest in just assuming and continuing what was currently being done with state records. Mr. Armstrong had heard no more as yet. Since the last meeting, they had worked with the Board of Funeral Services on a records retention and disposition schedule and also with and the Department of Corrections. The former had resulted in twenty-five boxes of records documenting state funeral homes and directors being transferred to the archives. He had also conducted a records management workshop at the request of the Auditor’s Office for state licensing boards, which was well attended and had already resulted in increased contact from some boards for assistance in developing schedules for their records.
In the county records program they had closed out all but one of the Records Management Preservation Board grants for the previous fiscal year and had expended about $300,000 of the $340,000 awarded by the board. Staff is currently working on about eighteen grants for the current fiscal year. Twenty-two grants were submitted against the November 1, 2006 deadline and the board had met and made its recommendations for funding these grants, which go into effect in July. The requests totaled $750,000, with the board having just less than $300,000 available to award in this round.
Reporting on collections, Mr. Armstrong informed members that a few were listed on the copies he distributed, but only Ms. Brennan had been given a complete listing of accessions for the past year, as she did not have computer access. He offered to do the same for others, if they preferred this to the web site listing with its search options. Some collections, such as the Randolph papers, would be in the processing stage for a long time and access would be rather limited. He concluded by noting work on setting up the refurbishing project for highway historical markers and the later agenda item regarding the commission’s interest in changing the criteria and guidelines for the program.
There being no questions, Chairman Conte called on Mr. Proudfoot for his report on the Capitol Building Commission. Mr. Proudfoot reported that at the CBC’s last meeting, held October 12, they conducted their final tour of the Governor’s Mansion and the completed work on the project. The state Public Health Association had appeared to request the CBC to make improvements to a sunken garden at The Cultural Center where it has a Hall of Fame plaque. The CBC informed them that it was not funded and could not undertake such work and tabled the request, in the event the association finds the funds and returns to request approval. The CBC approved the Governor’s Office of Technology installing a concrete pad behind Building 6 to house a generator, as it did not appear to have an adverse impact on the Capitol Complex. It also approved the project to re-carve the names on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. He reported on the CBC’s approval of the emergency project to clear the former Capitol Cafeteria as a result of major health and safety violations. As the project to replace this facility moved forward, General Services would be coming back for approval, with Chairman Randall Reid-Smith serving as liaison during the intervening period. Mr. Proudfoot informed the commission that General Services plans for returning the driveway at the Governor’s Mansion to the former concrete base was not seen as a substantial change and more a return to the original, so it did not require CBC approval. He concluded his report with information on the brass doors he and Mr. Knorr had inspected in Building 3. They were original, and General Services had been advised to preserve and store them, as they hope to have them reinstalled when this building is renovated.
Chairman Conte then requested a motion to change the agenda to accommodate guests waiting for the presentation of National Register nominations. Dr. Bailey made a motion to move the National Register presentations up on the agenda for immediate action and Mr. Tenney provided the second. Motion passed. Chairman Conte called on Ms. Riebe to present the National Register nominations and she introduced Dr. Paula Reed, who would be presenting the Jefferson County properties, Charles Holley, representing the City of Huntington, and Deron Runyon with the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone.
Dr. Reed presented the Cool Spring Farm, Charles Town vicinity, Jefferson County, under Criterion A for agriculture and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1750-1944. Following the presentation, Mr. Stowell inquired about the porch gallery on the back and the renovation process needed to preserve the interior appearance because it reflected on how the house was lived in and functioned. He moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Hulse provided the second. Motion carried.
Dr. Reed presented Barleywood, Charles Town vicinity, Jefferson County, under Criterion A for the Washington Family in Jefferson County and for agriculture, and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance 1771-1952. Following the presentation, Mr. Stowell commented on the jib door. Ms. Brennan stated she has problems with the nomination because of the property’s terrible condition. Ms. Riebe reminded members of their action on the Smith Cabin, an old log cabin needing considerable work, at a meeting last year and explained that there were different levels of integrity listing under Criterion A. Dr. Walker expressed concern about the second barn site as a contributing element, since it does not exist above ground and she asked if it was necessary to list a patch of ground as contributing. Dr. Reed noted that it cannot be seen but shows up on the map. She stated it could be eliminated. She explained that the property owners plan to restore Barleywood and, if it is listed, would be applying for state grants. Ms. Riebe confirmed that they were applying for a grant in the next round and also had tax credit applications in the works. In reply to Dr. Bailey’s question, Dr. Reed stated the current property owners were relatively new. Dr. Hulse made the motion to approve the nomination; Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion carried.
å Ms. Riebe introduced Dr. Rasmussen to present the Baker’s Fort (Baker’s Bottom Massacre Site), Newell, Hancock County, under Criteria A and B for Exploration/Settlement, military and literature, with the period of significance being 1773-74. Ms. Riebe informed members that the nomination had been returned by the National Park Service and Dr. Rasmussen requested another opportunity to present it to the commission for reconsideration. Dr. Rasmussen introduced Shannon Tinnell, a graduate student in the Cultural Resource Management Graduate Program at West Virginia University, and Mr. Dale Maurer, representing the property owner. She informed members that the nomination was as a site, the site of the Indian massacre that led to Dunmore’s War in 1774, and as such is not required to list the material remains. Nor is archaeology needed as the historical records are sufficient. Chairman Conte interrupted that this is a tricky situation and there appeared to be some quirks in the procedure. He asked about putting up a marker instead and was informed that there already was one. Dr. Rasmussen commented that a marker was inadequate and that the history profession has brought it under scholarly scrutiny, revealing the need of some sort of commemoration that people can visit. She opined that this was historically the most important piece of real estate in the state. Mr. Stowell stated he thought her comparison with John Brown was valid and questioned how many other sites were associated with Chief Logan. Dr. Rasmussen replied that there was Chief Logan State Park, but that she was unaware of its association. She then reviewed the history of the site and contended that Dunmore’s policy of triggering the war became a precedent the United States used in 19 subsequent wars against Native Americans to push them back and claim their land. Baker’s Fort, as was true of most buildings on the frontier, was constructed poorly and not to last forever. It survived until 1794 and was used as a place to spy on Indians through Anthony Wayne’s campaign. Based on documentary descriptions, it was a two-story log strong house with space for overnight accommodations and access by water, there being no path or Route 2. Discussing staff concerns, Ms. Pierce explained that she and Ms. Riebe were of the strong opinion that the resource lacked integrity according to the National Register criteria. The events are significant, but the site had no Route 2 or race track parking lot. The site had changed and, referring members to the criteria integrity, she stated it was difficult to ignore all the intrusions. The house, where a significant portion of the event occurred, is not there. Ms. Riebe stated that there were seven aspects of integrity, some more important when looking at a site. One is setting, the suitable environment of the property, and it includes such elements as the relationship between buildings and other features, which current construction on the site hindered. Mr. Stowell stated that the bridge over the Ohio River did not appear that much of an intrusion on the site’s integrity, noting that the view was looking under the bridge from the area where Chief Logan and his group departed. Ms. Pierce responded it was not a nomination of the site from which Chief Logan approached but rather where the event occurred. She stated that the 20th-century features impact the integrity where the event occurred. Dr. Walker noted that the nomination was for an extraordinary, interesting, important area, but in terms of the National Register criteria, there is the little square on the parking lot where the fort probably was. There is an obliterating parking lot and building and the environment is quite different because of the setting. Mr. Stowell stated that a great part of the river that was the transportation route can be seen and it is pretty much like it was and the view is from West Virginia. Dr. Walker noted that, in many cases, the asphalt preserved what remains may reside under it. Dr. Rasmussen stated that ground penetrating radar with a thirty-inch setting is extraordinarily expensive and she has been advised by their archaeologists that it would not tell them anything they do not already know. The fort site is only a small portion, less than a quarter of the entire nominated acreage, and the beach had not changed significantly. She reminded members that when they are applying the National Register criteria, they can not hold Native American related sites and frontier area sites to the same standard as early 20th- or late 19th-century neighborhoods. The written record shows where the bodies fell and there is no structure now nor has there ever been a structure where those bodies fell.
Chairman Conte stated he was ready to call the question and asked commissioners’ interest. Dr. Hulse stated he could not support the nomination and shared an earlier experience with a French and Indian War fort archaeological site that turned out not to be where the current river and creek mouth were. He suggested confirming the historical documentation by conducting archaeological test squares in the parking lot. If period artifacts are found, there may be a perfectly preserved site under the river sediment that would qualify under Criterion D. Dr. Rasmussen responded by informing members that they did conduct archaeology, but not invasive archaeology, and she would like that to be on record. In reply to Dr. Hulse’s question as to artifacts found from that time period, she stated they were not looking for artifacts, but rather for location, to which both Dr. Hulse and Ms. Pierce stated, “That is not archaeology.” To Dr. Walker’s question as to whether Chief Logan would recognize the present site by the hard geologic markers there then, Dr. Rasmussen replied it was her interpretation that he would.
Ms. Brennan asked Mr. Maurer to address the purpose of the nomination and if there were plans to remove the parking lot to restore the site or put something there. Mr. Maurer explained that, for the short term, they were looking at placing a monument and a small park there for visitors. Long term, they see the site as very significant for historical tourism with a unique perspective to be developed with other sites for a historical trail along the Ohio River and Route 2 to Huntington. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question as to their interest in pursuing archaeology at the site and re-submitting if successful, Mr. Maurer replied that it is possible but they had not considered it, as it had not been considered necessary by the professionals involved with the project. Chairman Conte then called for a motion to accept or reject the nomination and Dr. Hulse moved to reject the nomination. As no second to the motion was offered, Dr. Bailey stated that he thought the history was deserving of recognition but that he had questions concerning the exact location. He would like to see the results of an archaeology examination which proved it to be the site. Mr. Maurer stated that the archeologists, the McBrides, had not recommended an archaeology dig because the site was along the river and there was an abundance of hard evidence to document the location. Ms. Riebe noted that, even if the site location was one hundred per cent sure, the Historic Preservation office would have a problem with the integrity and setting as defined in its relationship between the buildings and other features. Dr. Hulse stated that if nominated under Criterion D, the integrity of setting would be completely different,and the race track and parking lot could be ignored because the integrity would be based on sub-surface features, the integrity of artifacts and soil layers. Ms. Pierce stated that, according to Criterion D, it would be contributing to the knowledge of prehistory and history. Ms. Riebe then stated that as the nomination currently reads, it incorporates the beach, which was not addressed by the McBrides.
At this point Dr. Ledbetter moved to table the nomination and have the sponsors address the commission’s concerns regarding the integrity issues raised and to consider the inclusion of Criterion D based on archeological results, as addressed by the commission, and re-submit the nomination. Dr. Bailey provided the required second. A discussion on the intent of the motion followed. Dr. Ledbetter stated the intent of the motion was to have the sponsors explore the archaeology examination to determine the exactness of the site and the integrity issues as addressed by the commission during the preceding discussion. Dr. Hulse recommended the commission consider a motion to oppose the nomination and let it be re-submitted under Criterion D. Ms. Pierce agreed, as the present nomination was under Criteria A and B. Mr. Armstrong noted that the only motion on the floor was to table the nomination, with concerns for archaeology and integrity to be addressed by the sponsors if it is to be returned. Dr. Ledbetter confirmed this was correct. In response to Dr. Hulse’s question on the status of his motion to reject the nomination, Mr. Armstrong stated it failed for want of a second and Dr. Bailey stated that a motion to table took precedence over other motions. Dr. Hulse asked if the motion to table is pending the archaeological survey that confirms the site, is that what is meant by extra considerations. Dr. Ledbetter replied, “Yes and addresses the integrity issue.” Chairman Conte called for a vote on the motion. All votes were cast in the affirmative with the exception of Mr. Stowell who voted in opposition. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe introduced Ms. Jean Boger who presented the Downtown Huntington Historic District (boundary increase and additional documentation), Cabell County, under Criterion A for commerce, community planning and development and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being 1871-1957. She informed members that the original downtown Huntington district was listed in 1986 with approximately 50 buildings and recent interest in tax credit projects spurred this nomination. In reply to Dr. Hulse’s question concerning losses since the initial listing, Ms. Boger stated a few have been turned into parking lots, and one of the guests associated with the nomination stated there had been one. Members were informed that there was zoning and historic overlays to protect the historic district. Chairman Conte called for a motion on the nomination. Dr. Bailey moved to approve it and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe introduced Frank Unger who presented the Chrystal Water and Power Company in Spencer, Roane County, under Criteria A for industry and C for architecture - Engineering with the period of significance being 1903-35. Mr. Unger noted that the company name was not misspelled and that this corporation was established in 1911 as the Spencer Water and Ice Company. Following the presentation, Ms. Brennan asked if there were plans to apply for grants and Mr. Unger stated he thought it would qualify. Ms. Pierce stated the property owner could apply for a development grant and possibly use the tax credit as well. Mr. Unger shared some of his plans for the building which he was in the process of purchasing. He also responded to questions regarding the history of the water and ice company operations. With the chair’s request for a motion, Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Walker seconded it. Motion approved.
Ms. Riebe introduced Suzanne Hadley who presented the Pennsboro B & O Depot, Pennsboro, Ritchie County, under Criterion A for transportation and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being 1883-1947. Following her presentation, Mr. Tenney moved to approve it and also to compliment Ms. Hadley on her presentation. Dr. Ledbetter seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the nomination, the Ravenswood Old Town Historic District, Jackson County, under Criterion A for commerce, community planning/development and Criterion C for architecture with the period of significance being ca. 1830-1957. Following the presentation Dr. Hulse questioned the number of non-contributing structures and Ms. Riebe explained that some were 1960s houses that do not quite meet the date and some have alterations or changes that do not meet the date requirement. In reply to Dr. Bailey’s question about flooding in the area, a guest noted that the area was above the 500-year flood plain. Chairman Conte called for a motion on the nomination and Dr. Walker moved to approve and Dr. Hulse provided the required second. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte instructed members to forward their voting sheets to the secretary and then recessed the meeting for lunch at 12:40 p.m. At this time, Mr. Armstrong informed members that Marjorie Zirk had fallen earlier in the week and was okay, but not able to travel; Gloria Gozdzik, who had planned to bring Joy Stalnaker who recently had knee surgery, was sick, which meant Ms. Stalnaker could not attend either.
Chairman Conte reconvened the meeting at 1:35 p.m. to discuss commission members’ role in the grants approval process. Ms. Pierce referred to internal agency discussions regarding more direct involvement of members in the review of applications currently reviewed and scored by staff and then presented to the commission for approval based on the staff scores. She reminded members that the Historic Preservation Annual Work Program sets up the criteria selection for the scoring process. Commissioner Reid-Smith stated he would be more comfortable if the commission had a hand in reviewing grants before they came to the full commission, and described the Arts Commission panel process used to review the grants and then present them to the whole commission for final decisions. This made the process more ethical as it eliminated any conflict resulting from staff involvement and counseling those submitting grants. Dr. Bailey stated he appreciated this position and has had questions on the rationale in the recommendations in the past. Ms. Pierce stated that Historic Preservation differed from Arts in that they do not tell people specifically how to write their application. The commissioner responded that the other way would enable staff to be more engaged and helpful and the commission would decide which were more competitive or better qualified for funding. Ms. Pierce explained the staff score sheets, its relation to the Annual Work Program approved by the commission, and the process used by the staff to arrive at the final score for each application. Dr. Bailey replied that her explanation demonstrated the need for the commission to be more involved in the process so as not to be voting blindly. Dr. Hulse questioned if there had ever been a problem, and Commissioner Reid-Smith responded no, but a sub-committee process would help avoid the potential of any. Dr. Ledbetter noted his difficulty in understanding the rationale behind some recommendations, but he did not see how the committee process would resolve this unless the group still provided some justification for their recommendations. In response to Chairman Conte, Ms. Pierce stated she did not know if they could add another step in the process because their work is based on the Work Program approved this year. If they want to add another step they would have to amend the Work Program for FY2008. She added that the commission as a whole or a sub-committee are welcome to participate in the current staff process to review all the grant applications, but they need to know that it requires a time commitment. She estimated the next round of grants would be more than 80, but copies could be sent to members and scored or members could come in and participate directly with the staff process. Mr. Armstrong stated that this would not be an additional step, but an expansion of participants in an existing step. He expressed his concern that the board be in compliance with the state’s increasing requirements for ethical and fiduciary responsibilities expected of board members and board actions. Ms. Brennan stated that she puts her trust in the staff and that as long as the commission can question allocations and recommendations and staff can respond and explain satisfactorily, she did not feel the commission had a problem with the current process. Ms. Pierce noted that if the commission is in compliance with the Work Program and its procedural bylaws, then the commission is certainly protecting itself by following the bylaws. In reply to Dr. Walker’s question on why some applicants received funds for surveys and others did not in the package sent out for approval at this meeting, Ms. Pierce responded that the requests exceeded funds available. In response to Dr. Hohn’s question on the language of the Code for the role of the commission in the process, Mr. Armstrong stated that it reads to award grants, period; it does not define the process, nor is the process outlined by any rule or regulation. Mr. Proudfoot, while not a member of this body, suggested that the commission develop procedural rules under the Code of State Rules, promulgate that and put it through. Once in place it would provide the step-by-step procedure to follow each time and this would provide a degree of protection in case any issue is raised. The procedural rule is a public document, adopted with the opportunity of public comments. Ms. Pierce stated that part of this is already in the grants manual where there is a process, but she did not know if it was part of what the commission has in place. Mr. Proudfoot stated that if it is in the grants manual it would probably be good to put it in the Code of State Rules as well, and Mr. Armstrong stated he agreed because the manual was not in the Code. Following discussion on contents of the manual and Annual Work Program regarding the grants process, Dr. Bailey inquired if Historic Preservation could expend the funds without commission action. Ms. Pierce responded that she did not think they could, and he replied that this would mean that the commission has total oversight. Ms. Pierce stated she would be happy to have folks participate in the process this time to get an idea of how it works internally and then develop a procedural rule subsequently, or they could work on the procedural rules first and then get involved.. She recommended the commission select members rather than all of them being involved as it needed to be someone who could turn around eighty some grant applications within a month’s time; the application deadline is March 31 for presentation and action on May 23, with the mailing required two weeks before. Dr. Hulse asked if there were other staff actions, such as the 106 Review or Tax Credit processes, which might require larger or expanded commission oversight rule and Ms. Pierce replied that she did not think so. He then inquired if they should seek legal opinion on the commission’s role as it pertains to the Code. It was mentioned that this could be done, but it would be costly. Dr. Ledbetter stated that he did not have a problem with whatever position the commission wanted to take on increasing members’ direct involvement in the process but he was still looking for more guidance in how the funding recommendations are made. He wanted information, the advantages and disadvantages to whatever that recommendation is, in order to make a good decision instead of being asked to “do this.” Ms. Pierce stated that members will be given more information on the staff reasons for recommending or not recommending funding. Chairman Conte suggested that the improved information flow might be a good first step. Members agreed that the first step would be that scoring sheets which show the criteria and rationale for recommendation would be sent to members with the grant package. Ms. Pierce clarified that members would be sent the cover sheet and staff scores with the Development Grants. Dr. Bailey stated this would help them understand the rationale and if they still had questions they could call the office for additional explanation. Dr. Walker noted that in the past, they either had discussions or received sheets that would spell out things. Ms. Pierce explained that this was done for the Development Grants, which are usually more specific. Mr. Armstrong stated that as the commission had reached this agreement on what it expects to receive with the Development Grants package by consensus, he wanted to ensure that he had it right for the minutes. Members will receive the score sheet with the understanding that it is going to show the rationale and provide them with enough understanding as to why such decisions were made. Ms. Pierce stated the score sheet will tell them, according to the selection criteria, that, for example, Erin gave the Mother’s Day Shrine three points because it is a national historic landmark, Chris gave it eight points because they want to fix the windows and there are a couple of categories where the staff look at the application and determine whether or not it is filled out completely. She stated there is some subjectivity involved, but members will be seeing how the staff scored it. Dr. Hulse asked if the staff could write a summary of two or three paragraphs to accompany the score sheet. She replied that the Development Grants are real tight as to what they are asking for with respect to the severity of the condition of the building. There being no more discussion, Chairman Conte asked for the presentation of the Survey and Planning Grants.
Ms. Pierce introduced the Survey and Planning grant package, referring members to the copy mailed in advance (copy attached to official minutes) and addressed the issue of the partial funding recommendations by the staff, which appeared to be a point of confusion for some members. She explained that the staff used its expertise to judge how much was needed for project components and applied this to the Annual Work Program selection criteria. She used the City of Bluefield Comprehensive Plan proposal to demonstrate the process. Chairman Conte asked if there were any questions or comments on this particular series of grant applications. Dr. Hulse noted the significant amount recommended for Bluefield and Ms. Riebe stated the funding had to be sufficient to make the project possible, such as to complete survey work for a National Register nomination. Other projects are less expensive because historians do not command the salaries of planners, and Ms. Pierce cited the Berkeley County Landmarks Commission and Don Wood as an example of the latter. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question of no funding for the Charles Town application, Ms. Pierce responded that it was a matter of budget and no remaining funds to make available. She pointed out that the CLG program was to receive at least ten percent of the federal appropriation, $72,000, and their recommendation was about $7,000 more than this. In response to Dr. Bailey’s question if Nicholas County was a CLG, she replied that they were and that they had received funding for several projects in the past and the funds were insufficient for this year. It was the McDowell County Museum Commission that was not eligible because it did not have CLG status. She informed members if they wanted to fund projects which qualified but were not funded, they would have to remove funding from recommended projects. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question on notification of failed applications, Ms. Pierce stated that they were provided with explanations for the failure, including insufficient funds, and informed they could re-apply next year with suggestions on how to improve the application, if possible. Chairman Conte asked if there was interest in amending any of the grant recommendations by the staff or in approving the recommendations as presented. Dr. Hulse moved to approve allocating the funds for the Survey and Planning Grants as recommended by the staff, with the understanding that staff could reallocate funds from projects which failed to accept their allocation or were unable to utilize the full amount, to projects qualifying for funds in the order of priority as established by the staff rating procedure. Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte stated the next order of business was the appointment of the nominating committee for the offices of chairman and vice-chairman. He then appointed Dr. Hulse and Mr. Stowell to serve as the nominating committee with the latter to serve as chairman, and to report back at the May meeting. Mr. Armstrong suggested they delay their action until shortly before the May meeting to see if there was any action on appointments to the commission. Chairman Conte turned to Old Business and called on Mr. Armstrong for the next item of business, History Day 2008. Mr. Armstrong provided a brief report on the arrangements and work preparing for History Day this year and stated it was time for the commission to decide if it wanted to continue to sponsor the annual History Day at the Legislature. If a date was not reserved soon, none would be available. There was consensus that the commission continue to sponsor History Day and Chairman Conte directed Mr. Armstrong to secure a date for it. He noted that he had requested and been informed that the Friends of Culture and History were again providing $1,500 to support the program. Mr. Armstrong recommended that they attempt to establish the same day each year and suggested making it the Thursday after President’s Day. Members agreed to this suggestion, if this date was available. Mr. Armstrong stated the date would then be 21 February 2008.
Chairman Conte asked if there was any new information regarding appointments to the commission as a result of their letter to the governor. Commissioner Reid-Smith reported that he understood that the Governor’s Office was working on appointments to this and other bodies. After several comments by members, Chairman Conte stated that there appeared to be consensus that the commission continue to wait for action on its request for updated appointments.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for a status report on the Blair Mountain National Register nomination. Ms. Pierce noted she had mentioned some of this in her report earlier. At this time the sponsors were working on addressing the needs of the nomination as required by the National Park Service and they are working on the archeological component. Staff has met with the sponsors to review and comment on these. She anticipates submission of a revised nomination, which the office will review. It will then go to the National Park Service, and unless there are significant changes or revisions which require re-submission to the commission, it will not have to be re-considered by the commission. She noted she thought everyone was aware of the Blair Mountain dismissal and settlement.
Chairman Conte called on the report from the sub-committee appointed to revise the Highway Historical Markers Guidelines and Criteria. Dr. Walker, in the absence of Ms. Stalnaker reported on the work of the committee in the revisions which had been distributed earlier to members (copy attached to official minutes). She then reviewed the draft of the guidelines and criteria and the changes in the cover letter sent to those interested in the program. She stressed that the intent of the changes was to clarify and elucidate the purpose and criteria for the program and further define and stress the meaning and importance of “significant events, sites and people” that the marker program was to commemorate. They also established that it was the sponsor’s responsibility to conduct and provide all necessary research and documentation required to establish this to the satisfaction of the staff and commission. As the proposed drafts had not been mailed to members fourteen days in advance of the meeting and as it would be beneficial for members to study them more, action would be on the agenda for the May meeting.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong to address the Highway Historical Markers Refurbishing Project. Mr. Armstrong referred members to the listing of markers currently identified as requiring paint, repairs or replacement (copy attached to official minutes). Staff was working with DOH districts and with groups and volunteers to attempt to make the list as current and correct as possible. It would be the basis for establishing priorities for painting, refurbishing and replacing on a statewide basis. Some of this work would be conducted with the $75,000 legislative appropriation and when the agreement is finalized and submitted from DOH for the federal highways funding, some of the state appropriation would be used for the required 20 percent match for the $60,000 from this grant. Staff is also identifying potential methods and vendors who can be contracted with for any part of or the total work to be performed. He explained that the current marker manufacturer, who has produced the state’s markers for almost fifty years, is the only source for the marker mold and fonts, and it appears they will be handling all the major refurbishing and replacement work. He reported that they had also submitted a second round grant application for federal highway funds to continue the project, which will be required if they are to complete all the work identified in the listing of markers distributed. A brief discussion on the logistics and selection process for markers to be worked on in this round followed.
Chairman Conte then took up consideration of dates and locations for future meetings. The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, 23 May, in Moorefield. Dr. Walker stated she would not be able to attend but would do her best to assist Ms. Zirk in setting up the arrangements. Dr. Hulse stated he likewise would not be able to attend. After some discussion to identify an alternate date which would be better for members, it was decided to stay with this date. The fall meeting date and location were discussed and it was agreed to have the meeting on Friday, 28 September, in Point Pleasant if arrangements could be made, and if not, in Huntington. Discussion on other meeting dates and sites resulted in a number of suggestions but no firm resolution.
There being no additional business to come before the commission, Chairman Conte requested a motion to adjourn. Dr. Bailey so moved and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Archives and History Commission