Skip Navigation

MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
SPRING MEETING
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
BAVARIAN INN
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA

Chairman Robert Conte called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. In addition to Dr. Conte, other voting members present were Becky Frye, Victor Greco (by telephone), and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Harold Forbes, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Bill Richardson, and Noel Tenney. Ex officio voting members present were Fredrick Armstrong and Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Jeremy Morris, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; ex officio non-voting members absent were Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present was Historic Preservation staff member Erin Riebe.

Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 2 June 2012. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Arnett, with a second by Dr. Walker. Mr. Armstrong suggested several changes to the minutes, including adding the word “records” in front of legislation on page 3; defining “surface table projects” on page 5; adding the information that a new appointments secretary had been appointed in the first paragraph on page 6; and changing the word “preparing” to “assisting” on the last line of page 7.

Chairman Conte stated that he wished to modify the agenda and discuss the commission bylaws after the National Register nominations, and Mr. Armstrong stated that the quorum issue should be also discussed. He added, that, if a majority of voting members currently serving was required, not enough were present to constitute a quorum. There being no further corrections or additions to the minutes of the 1 June 2012 meeting, the motion, with suggested revisions, carried.

Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. Mr. Geiger referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for May through August 2012 (copy attached to official minutes). He spoke about the success of recent lectures, one of which drew nearly one hundred people, and mentioned several upcoming events in the Archives and History Library. The State Archives received several recent donations, including the Alexander Messer letters, which were digitized and placed on-line, and were the subject of a front-page article in the Charleston Gazette; a case file from the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s office relating to the mine wars trials; and the John C. Norman architectural drawings. Mr. Geiger related that the delayed state birth certificates, more than 180,000 records, had been placed on-line and that the regional locations for the 2013 History Bowl had been set. He also noted that in September he had spoken to students at the Horace Mann Golden Horseshoe Club; had delivered an address at the annual meeting of the Greenbrier Historical Society; and had done presentations on the Archives and History website and collections to hundreds of students during Constitution Day. Mr. Geiger concluded his report by mentioning that the shifting of books and yearbooks on the third floor had been completed.

Mr. Armstrong asked about the sesquicentennial marker project and was informed that the project is awaiting completion of the first two grants. Staff met with Division of Highways staff to facilitate completion of the first two grants and to work on an agreement for the installation of private sponsor markers. Following DOH completion of the 300 markers, 50 replacement markers will be installed, and then work will commence on the sesquicentennial project. Funding was approved for one marker relating to the Civil War or statehood to be installed in each county. Another grant will seek to fund 50 statehood and Civil War markers throughout the state. Mr. Armstrong asked about the match for the Highways grants and was informed that the legislative appropriation was being used to provide the match. Mr. Armstrong asked about the Jefferson County/Virginia state line marker on US 340, and Mr. Geiger stated that the marker would be replaced as part of the next grant project. Mr. Armstrong asked about House Bill 2278 dealing with state records and was informed by Mr. Geiger that he had met with Majority Leader Boggs and voiced his concerns about the legislation.

Chairman Conte then called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce referred to the report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and discussed filling SHPO positions, work with the Certified Local Government program, and co-hosting a Commission Assistance and Mentoring Program workshop. Staff have also been working on development grants, printing a newsletter, and working on the 2013 calendar, which will focus on significant people of the Civil War. SHPO’s GIS system is now available on-line, and the annual work program draft was sent out for public comment. Staff have worked on review and compliance projects such as the Moorefield wastewater treatment facility and the demolition of Big Creek High School, and reviews of courthouses have increased due to grant applications to the Courthouse Facilities Authority. An orientation for development grant recipients has been scheduled and a special telephone conference call meeting of the commission will be needed to expend CLG funds before the end of the calendar year.

Mr. Armstrong asked about the development grants. Ms. Pierce explained that three grants had been cancelled and stated the amount reflected an accrual of funds. Mr. Armstrong noted that Courthouse Facilities was doing a survey of the condition of West Virginia courthouses and asked if SHPO was involved. Ms. Pierce replied that she had served on an advisory committee to review the potential survey firms. Mr. Armstrong noted that the results of the survey may prove helpful in determining courthouse funding needs. Mr. Morris asked why two grants were cancelled, and Ms. Pierce responded that one of the recipients could not wait and proceeded without SHPO funding. In reply to Mr. Armstrong’s question about the Staats Building in Charleston, Ms. Pierce stated that the survey and planning grant was cancelled and that the group intended to re-apply.

In the absence of Charles Morris, no report was given on Museums activities, but a written report was distributed (copy attached to official minutes).

In the absence of Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, no report was given on Culture and History activities.

Turning to Old Business, Ms. Riebe provided updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). She noted that the Dr. W. W. Monroe House, Wood County, had been listed in the National Register on August 1, 2012.

Turning to New Business, Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations.

Edgefield, Greenbrier County, nominated under Criterion B, Agriculture, with period of significance being 1935-1960, was presented by W. Scott Smith. Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination and Mr. Armstrong provided the second. Motion carried. Mr. Geiger left the meeting and Ms. Pierce began serving as secretary at this point.

Old Pine Church, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1838, was presented by Sandra Scaffidi. Ms. Frye asked about the foundation stones, and Ms. Scaffidi stated field stones were added to prevent animals from getting under the building. Mr. Armstrong asked about activities in the church, and Ms. Scaffidi responded that although regular services are not conducted, activities are still held in the building. Mr. Armstrong asked about the boundary, and he was informed it was the same as the 1838 deed and that several non-contributing buildings are outside the boundary. Mr. Greco moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried.

Capon Chapel, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, and Criterion Consideration A, Religious Properties, with period of significance being ca. 1852, was presented by Sandra Scaffidi. Ms. Scaffidi introduced Brenda Hyatt, trustee and caretaker, who was present. Dr. Walker asked when the molding behind the altar was added. Ms. Hyatt stated that oral records note the church was formed in 1756 and that the molding was just a decorative treatment. Dr. Hohn asked about the attic opening and its visibility, and Ms. Scaffidi indicated the opening was difficult to see. Ms. Frye moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.

Valley View, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1855, was presented by Courtney Fint Zimmerman. Ms. Frye asked if the home is visible from the Potomac Eagle; and Ms. Zimmerman stated that was a different home. Mr. Armstrong asked if the brick line on the wall in the office/den was original. Ms. Zimmerman responded she wasn’t sure if the plaster had been removed from the walls, but Ms. Riebe stated that it doesn’t affect the integrity. Mr. Armstrong stated the nomination could benefit from better source documentation. Ms. Zimmerman suggested better use of footnotes, and Mr. Armstrong offered to provide his notations. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.

Springfield Brick House, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being ca. 1855, was presented by Courtney Fint Zimmerman. Ms. Frye praised the beautiful brickwork but disliked the painted brick in the back. Dr. Walker asked for clarification on the brick bonding and Ms. Zimmerman offered an explanation. Ms. Frye asked about the white area around the door, and Ms. Zimmerman stated they believe it may have been part of the original entry porch. Ms. Pierce commented that the period of significance was 1855 but a lot of the provided information related to Lord Fairfax and was not relevant to the nomination. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination with the condition that section eight be edited and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried.

Seebert Lane School, Pocahontas County, nominated under Criterion A, Ethnic Heritage/Black, and Criterion A, Education, with period of significance being ca. 1898-1954, was presented by Jean Boger. Mr. Armstrong asked if she used State Department of Education reports and was informed by Ms. Boger she had. Mr. Armstrong asked about the cupola, stating that he didn’t believe it was the original. Ms. Boger stated she wasn’t certain, but she believed it was original. Ms. Riebe stated that, regardless, the integrity was not affected. Ms. Frye asked if the interior doors were grained and was informed they were not. Dr. Hohn asked if they were painted and was informed they were not, that they were natural wood. Ms. Pierce moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Hohn provided the second. Motion carried unanimously.

Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church, Pocahontas County, nominated under Criterion A, Ethnic Heritage/Black, and Criterion Consideration A, Religious Properties, with period of significance being 1888-1962, was presented by Jean Boger. Dr. Conte asked if the parsonage was included in nomination, to which Ms. Boger replied in the affirmative. Mr. Armstrong thought it was underrepresented in the nomination, and Ms. Riebe suggested that section eight should further address the church complex. Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination and Ms. Frye provided the second. Motion carried. Spencer Cemetery, Marshall County, nominated under Criterion C, Art, and Criterion Consideration D, Cemeteries, with period of significance being 1912, was presented by Erin Riebe. Chairman Conte, Ms. Frye, and Dr. Arnett noted that the nomination was unusual. The cemetery had been so overgrown that it wasn’t visible until the land was recently cleared. Mr. Armstrong asked about the origin of the stump and was informed by Ms. Riebe that it probably had been ordered, as they were in vogue at the time. Mr. Armstrong noted that the stump was unique for West Virginia, but disagreed with it being listed under Art since it was commercially manufactured. He did not know if it qualified. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination and Ms. Frye provided the second. The motion carried, with Mr. Armstrong voting against. All others voted in favor.

Buffington Island Battlefield (boundary increase), Jackson County (and Meigs County, Ohio), nominated under Criteria A and D, Military and Social History, and Criterion Consideration F, Commemorative Properties, with periods of significance being 1863 and 1933-1934, was presented by Erin Riebe. Ms. Riebe stated that SHPO was not provided an opportunity to review the draft but was presenting it on behalf of Ohio SHPO staff who could not attend. Mr. Armstrong asked what portion of the island was in West Virginia and was informed the entire island was included in the state’s boundaries. Ms. Pierce noted that Ohio SHPO had prepared the nomination, but it was a cooperative effort with West Virginia. Mr. Armstrong asked about past nomination efforts for this property, and Ms. Pierce said that the Ohio SHPO has worked on this nomination for many years. Mr. Armstrong believed that the Ohio SHPO should have looked at previous controversies regarding the nomination and should have given the commission and the West Virginia SHPO more time to review it. Dr. Hohn asked if the nomination meets battlefield requirements of the National Register and if anything else should be considered, and he also noted that the date needs to be adjusted. Ms. Pierce mentioned the significance of the event of Confederate entry into a Union state and noted that Ohioans are aware of the event. Mr. Armstrong stated he was unsure about the significance, and he suggested tabling the nomination until further research could be done. Ms. Riebe questioned what he wanted to see changed, and Mr. Armstrong expressed concern with the social history criterion. Ms. Riebe noted that social history is for the commemorative monuments added 1933-34 that were associated with the park. Mr. Armstrong noted that since Morgan’s Raid involved four states, perhaps the nomination should be considered national level of significance rather than state, but Ms. Riebe disagreed. Ms. Pierce noted that there was quarry activity in the area and houses had been constructed, but the area retained its integrity. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination and Mr. Greco provided the second. Mr. Armstrong abstained. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte then opened a discussion of commission by-laws. In 2002, a revised version was passed by the commission with the intent of filing them as a procedural rule with the Secretary of State’s office, but they were never filed. Chairman Conte noted that the secretary had e-mailed a copy to commission members and asked if the commission should file the by-laws as they are or revise further. Mr. Armstrong wanted to make sure the proposed by-laws are in compliance with the open meeting law as interpreted today. Dr. Hohn asked if the Division of Culture and History had a lawyer, and was informed by Chairman Conte they did not. Chairman Conte said he agreed to write a letter, but Culture and History staff indicated that the Attorney General’s office charges for their services. Mr. Armstrong said he spoke with legislative counsel, who stated they believed a quorum required a majority of voting members. Chairman Conte stated that the by-laws passed in 2002 required a majority of voting members currently serving. He added that an e-mail from and a telephone conversation with the Attorney General’s office both upheld that a majority of voting members currently serving was necessary to constitute a quorum. Dr. Hohn and Dr. Arnett agreed that this would suffice for justification and suggested that the by-laws be filed as a procedural rule. Mr. Armstrong made a motion that the Archives and History Commission secretary file the by-laws as procedural rules with the Secretary of State, as previously approved on February 1, 2002, by the commission, to be posted for approval and public notice. Mr. Greco seconded, and the motion carried.

Ms. Pierce noted that a special meeting will have to be held in December. SHPO will determine a date through e-mail and will need a two-week period for notice to the Secretary of State. The Winter meeting is scheduled for January 25, 2013, in Charleston. The Spring meeting is scheduled to be held in Elkins on May 31, 2013, with June 7 as backup.

Dr. Arnett made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 1:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History