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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
FALL MEETING
FRIDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2010
FRENCH CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
FRENCH CREEK, 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 Jack Dickinson, Harold Forbes, Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Becky Frye, Dr. Charles Hulse, Dr. Helene Jacobs, and Bill Richardson. 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; Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; and Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Bethany Canfield, Sara Prior, and Erin Riebe.

Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 4 June 2010. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Ledbetter, with a second by Dr. Arnett. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. He referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for May through August and the annual report previously mailed to members (copy attached to official minutes). In addition, he noted that recent workshops have been well-attended, including 72 persons at Greg Carroll’s workshop on Melungeons and more than 100 at Dr. Billy Joe Peyton’s lecture on Charleston. He informed commission members of several upcoming workshops, and he asked that they note the 2nd Annual Archives and History Showcase on 6 December and History Day on 24 February 2011. Mr. Geiger spoke about continuing efforts to promote Archives and History through workshops, lectures, and other activities. He also reviewed Archives’ plans for the sesquicentennial, which include the creation of a timeline with links to primary sources, scanning and placing on-line more than 2,600 Union militia letters, three exhibits in the Archives Photo Gallery, a comprehensive bibliography and collections guide, and the addition of lesson plans to the existing on-line statehood exhibit. Mr. Geiger noted that work continues to expand the connection with students and teachers, and responses to the Daily Trivia questions have increased. A teachers’ page has been created on the website and staff has begun working with the new Social Studies coordinator for the Department of Education. He also noted that staff is experimenting with the conversion of newspapers in digital format to microfilm. Mr. Geiger discussed plans for the next phase of Project Access, noting that the Genealogical Society of Utah, which had provided all digital images and indexing for the initial phase, may convert the images from microfilm to digital for a fee but will not do the indexing. He mentioned the possibility of using volunteers on the project and noted that the next targets for the project will be Military Discharges for World War I and Wills.

Dr. Arnett questioned whether newspapers would still be preserved on microfilm, and Mr. Geiger replied that they would be. Mr. Armstrong asked whether issues with the Office of Technology mentioned in the monthly reports had been resolved. Mr. Geiger replied there were no unresolved technology issues at this point, but he noted the need to speak with the Office of Technology regarding preservation of digital records. Mr. Armstrong asked about Archives’ preparation for the transfer of the governor’s papers, particularly digital records, and Mr. Geiger noted that an additional meeting had been held with the governor’s office regarding this subject and that it was expected that the transfer of gubernatorial records would commence shortly. Mr. Armstrong asked about the pilot project relating to WWVU tapes submitted for transfer for preservation purposes, and Mr. Geiger responded that the project was either completed or near completion. Noting that the pending National Register nominations included references to drawings and blueprints, Mr. Armstrong asked if any of these had been accessed from the parks’ drawings being transferred to the Archives. Mr. Geiger responded that, since finding aids had not yet been completed for these materials, it was unlikely that these drawings had been utilized by researchers. He also noted that Archives was looking at getting a large format scanner to convert drawings and maps to digital format. Dr. Ledbetter expressed his praise for the Archives and History annual report, and Mr. Geiger credited Mary Johnson for her work on the monthly and annual reports. He also mentioned that Elaine Gates was named Employee of the Year for the section.

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 talked about other activities, including the filling of two vacant positions. She highlighted work on the 2011 calendar and noted that Bethany Canfield and Carolyn Kender had taken on this project. Transportation will be the theme of the 2012 calendar. Staff continued work on the Middle Mile broadband programmatic agreement and work with Highways on the Route 35 mitigation project, and comments were provided for the Project Arrow Boy Scout Camp. A total of 993 project reviews were completed between June and August, and two RFQs were sent out for the development of a Civil War booklet and a survey project in Wirt, Roane, Clay, and Calhoun counties. The draft 2011 Work Program was completed and staff had received several comments. Four scholarships were awarded for the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia meeting and two for the National Trust for Historic Preservation annual conference.

Ms. Pierce noted that, at the previous meeting, the commission had approved State Development grants but had failed to include the customary language that permitted Historic Preservation staff to move unexpired or unused funds to the next item of priority if approved grants were cancelled. Mr. Armstrong noted that a new motion was needed to make the correction. Dr. Arnett moved that staff be authorized to move funds from cancelled projects or projects unable to use all available funding to the next project in order of priority or to increase funding to an approved project needing additional funds. Mr. Dickinson seconded. Mr. Armstrong questioned how the funds were moved, and Ms. Pierce stated staff had followed past practices and tried to maintain a balance between new grants and those that were not fully funded. Mr. Tenney asked whether staff sought to balance the reallocation of grant funds between private, personal projects and those that serve the larger local community. Ms. Pierce responded that staff had gone by the priority listing as ranked. Motion carried.

In response to a question by Mr. Armstrong, Ms. Pierce stated that bathrooms in the State Capitol had not been discussed at the Capitol Building Commission meeting she had attended. She also informed him that staff had not been involved in discussions on levee access to the Capitol. Mr. Armstrong asked if Historic Preservation staff would be taking a position or providing formal comments regarding Kanawha River levee access or murals for the interior of the Capitol building if the site was on the National Register. Ms. Pierce stated that her office had not provided formal comments on either, and had not been asked directly about the murals, but there had been discussion with the commissioner on whether Historic Preservation had Section 106 responsibility to comment on the levee project.

Chairman Conte then called upon Mr. Morris for the Museums report. He referred to his report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and provided dates for upcoming exhibits, including the West Virginia National Guard, Fiestaware, The Greenbrier, and Historic Buildings and Structures. An exhibit on Ron Hinkle Glass was currently on display at the Culture Center, and a number of exhibits, including Fashion Dolls, Homer Laughlin and Women of Design, were scheduled for Grave Creek. Mr. Morris informed the commission that the State Museum and its staff received a very positive assessment from the American Association of Museums.

Chairman Conte asked if the evaluation was annual and was informed it was not. A conservation assessment had been conducted in 1993. In response to Chairman Conte’s inquiry regarding attendance, Mr. Morris stated that visitation was increasing and staff was currently updating teachers’ manuals and handouts due to the high volume of visitors. Mr. Armstrong asked if the Museum was moving forward with accreditation efforts. Mr. Morris said they were proceeding toward that goal, and the commissioner and cabinet secretary had been discussing this subject, although he was unsure as to when that would happen. Mr. Armstrong noted that, a year ago, Museums had unsuccessfully applied for a NAGPRA grant for Grave Creek, and he wanted to know if another grant application had been submitted. Mr. Morris replied in the negative but indicated that David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek, had assured him that they were in compliance with everything required for application. Mr. Armstrong noted that one of the requirements for compliance was a collections inventory. He had seen a recent press release regarding the transfer from the Corps of Engineers of a massive collection from the Marmet Locks and Dam and wondered how inventorying could possibly be completed. Mr. Morris stated that the paperwork had been signed for the receipt of that collection, but the materials had not yet been transferred to Grave Creek. Mr. Armstrong stated that the commission had been informed that concerns about the documenting and inventorying of collections transferred to Grave Creek was one reason for putting in for the NAGPRA grant and expressed surprise that there are not problems. Mr. Morris said his statement referred more to the guidelines. He reiterated that he was unsure why another grant application was not submitted and agreed it should be pursued in the future. Mr. Tenney asked whether another IMLS grant application to provide educational outreach across the state had been submitted. Mr. Morris stated he was not sure but would look into it.

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). Staff has revised three nominations returned by the Keeper, and three additional properties have been listed. Ms. Riebe stated that the Blair Mountain nomination was being reprocessed, and, in response to a request from Mr. Armstrong for a description of “reprocessing,” explained that, in accordance with 36 CFR 60, property owner research has to be conducted again, but the nomination does not have to be approved again by the commission because there is no boundary change. The process includes property owner research, counting objections, and providing the public an opportunity to comment. According to federal law, all old objections are counted. If fewer than 50 percent of the property owners object, it will be listed; however, if more than 50 percent object, it will remain determined eligible and will not be listed. An attorney has been hired to do property owner research. This process will begin in mid-October and public notice must occur within ninety days of the date research begins. Mr. Armstrong asked if the list could be affected by property transfers during that time. Ms. Riebe replied that if signed affidavits or notarized statements from new property owners are sent notifying the attorney it could affect his list. She responded to Mr. Armstrong that she hopes it will be resolved by the next commission meeting. Mr. Tenney asked why more nominations had been returned recently than in the past. Ms. Riebe responded that a new reviewer was in place, and it was simply a process of learning what that reviewer expects from Historic Preservation. Mr. Armstrong asked about Bullskin Run, a previous nomination that had been approved by the commission in October 2008. The nomination had been forwarded to the Keeper but included the comment that the State Historic Preservation office did not agree that the nomination met the criteria for evaluation as drafted. Mr. Armstrong asked if it was recommended by staff. Ms. Riebe explained that the commission had a copy of staff comments, and the nomination had been sent on for evaluation. When there is disagreement between the commission and the State Historic Preservation office, the nomination can be sent to the Keeper along with the minutes to aid in the decision-making process.

Chairman Conte next called for a report on the highway historical marker program. Mr. Geiger noted that in response to a request by the commission, an attorney for the legislative rule-making committee informed him that a legislative rule is not required for the marker program, which was confirmed by the attorney general’s office. Mr. Geiger informed the commission that the commissioner did not wish to pursue the creation of a procedural rule. He also stated the commissioner informed him that markers will no longer be presented to the commission, but instead will be reviewed by Archives and History staff. Recommendations will be made to the commissioner, who will have final approval.

Turning to New Business, Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations. New Deal Resources in West Virginia State Parks and State Forests (Multiple Property Document-cover document) was presented by Lena Sweeten McDonald of Gray & Pape, Inc. Ms. Riebe explained that the commission was to vote on the cover document before voting on the individual nominations. Mr. Tenney asked if any state parks were on the National Register. Bob Beanblossom of the Division of Natural Resources stated that two state parks, Kanawha State Forest and Cass Scenic Railroad State Park were on the National Register. Ms. Pierce stated they identified the survey of resources relating to state parks as being an important project, and they provided funding for the MPD-cover document and the four parks nominated at this meeting. The other twelve parks could be nominated in the future. Mr. Tenney remarked that the nomination was extremely well-written and informative. Dr. Walker agreed and further stated that the MPD provides an excellent basis for subsequent nominations. Mr. Forbes was impressed by how coherent and well-documented the cover document was but pointed out a mistake in the second paragraph of page eight, which referred to Cooper’s Rock State Forest as Cooper’s Lake State Forest.

Dr. Walker moved for approval of the MPD-cover document, with Mr. Armstrong providing the required second. Motion carried.

Hawks Nest State Park, Fayette County, nominated under Criterion A, Social History, Politics/Government, Conservation, and Entertainment/Recreation, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1935-1942, was presented by Lena Sweeten McDonald. Dr. Walker commented she would like to see a photo of the observatory. Mr. Greco moved for approval of the nomination, with Mr. Tenney providing the required second. Motion carried.

Lost River State Park, Hardy County, nominated under Criterion A, Social History, Politics/Government, Conservation, and Entertainment/Recreation, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1933-1942, was presented by Lena Sweeten McDonald. Dr. Ledbetter moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Arnett providing the required second. Mr. Armstrong asked if the Lee Cabin was covered in the document. Ms. McDonald pointed out that the Lee Cabin was listed as previously nominated. Motion carried.

Holly River State Park, Webster County, nominated under Criterion A, Social History, Politics/Government, Conservation, and Entertainment/Recreation, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1935-1938, was presented by Lena Sweeten McDonald. Mr. Tenney asked if the arts and crafts furniture had been inventoried. Mr. Beanblossom noted that each park had its own inventory, but a comprehensive inventory had not been conducted. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination, with Mr. Dickinson providing the required second. Motion carried.

Watoga State Park, Pocahontas County, nominated under Criterion A, Social History, Politics/Government, Conservation, and Entertainment/Recreation, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1933-1942, was presented by Lena Sweeten McDonald. Mr. Tenney asked that the word “photographer” be added to the description of Fred E. Brooks, for whom the Brooks Arboretum was named. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination, stating that historical photos should be added to the nomination. Mr. Armstrong also asked if the original drawings stored at state parks had been transferred to the State Archives. Mr. Beanblossom stated some of the documents had been copied or transferred to the State Archives, but that more work was necessary. Mr. Forbes provided the required second. Motion carried.

Harpers Ferry Historic District (additional information), Jefferson County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1790-1958, was presented by Erin Riebe. Dr. Walker recommended adding a sentence to clarify the meaning of “stern reaction.” Mr. Forbes noted that the last paragraph on section 7, page 2, needs editing. Mr. Forbes also stated it would be helpful to have a brief description of each architectural style. Mr. Armstrong pointed out that the May 1962 reference should be corrected, as it is out of the period of significance. Mr. Armstrong also noted that on section 7, page 5, there is a reference that the building was owned by Loretta Quick from 1960 to 1982, and he questioned why this statement was included. After offering several other suggestions, Mr. Armstrong also suggested that a bibliography be added. Mr. Greco moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Walker providing the required second. Motion carried.

Winebrenners Crossroads Historic District, Berkeley County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being circa 1855-circa 1950, was presented by Erin Riebe. Mr. Armstrong pointed out that in section 7, page 1, Golf Course Road is misspelled as Gold Course Road. Mr. Forbes moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Ledbetter providing the required second. Motion carried.

Bullskin Run Historic District, Jefferson County, nominated under Criterion A, Agriculture, Exploration/Settlement, Industry, and Religion, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being 1740-1960, was presented by Erin Riebe. Ms. Riebe stated that the boundaries of the nomination had been increased by three thousand acres. Mr. Armstrong asked if the nomination boundaries followed property boundaries, and Ms. Riebe responded that they did not. She stated no objections had been received, and Ms. Pierce added that the nomination had originally been sponsored locally. Ms. Riebe added that the boundaries for the original nomination followed current parcel lines while this nomination follows generally the watershed. Mr. Armstrong asked how contributing versus non-contributing was determined. Ms. Riebe stated that most non-contributing are modern outbuildings. Mr. Armstrong noted several typos that he said he would provide to Ms. Riebe. He also suggested that in section 8, page 40, it would be beneficial to detail what types of mills were being described. Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination, with Mr. Armstrong providing the required second. Motion carried.

West Martinsburg Historic District, Berkeley County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being circa 1900-circa 1956, was presented by Erin Riebe. Mr. Forbes referred to a triangular area noted on section 7, page 1, stating he couldn’t find it on the map, and Ms. Riebe stated it had been removed. Mr. Armstrong asked why the two expansion development projects were combined and was informed by Ms. Riebe that the boundary was based on the architecture. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr Ledbetter providing the required second. Motion carried.

West Union Historic District, Doddridge County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being circa 1858-circa 1951, was presented by Bethany Canfield. Dr. Walker praised the nomination but suggested the inclusion of a topographical map, and Ms. Riebe stated they would do so. Dr. Hohn also praised the photographic work and captions. Mr. Tenney asked if there were standard guidelines for identifying photographs for nominations. Ms. Riebe stated the Park Service had guidelines and reviewed how Historic Preservation prepared the images for submission. Mr. Armstrong asked how contributing and non-contributing were determined, and Ms. Riebe stated they would attempt to make it clearer. Mr. Forbes noted several grammatical corrections which Ms. Canfield stated would be corrected. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Walker providing the required second. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte recessed the meeting for lunch at 12:05 p.m.; the meeting resumed at 12:35 p.m.

Chairman Conte called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the City of Romney Certified Historic Preservation Community Application (copy attached to official minutes). Ms. Pierce introduced Sara Prior, who reviewed the application process and presented the application for consideration. Ms. Pierce stated that, by legislative rule, the certification had to be approved by the commission.

Mr. Tenney asked if there were other certified historic preservation communities in West Virginia. Ms. Pierce responded that there were several at the onset of the program, but none since. She noted that it was an honorary designation. Dr. Ledbetter moved for approval, seconded by Dr. Arnett. Mr. Tenney applauded the community for its efforts to showcase historic preservation. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte advised members of the upcoming Winter meeting to be held on Friday, 4 February 2011, at The Greenbrier, and the Spring meeting, to be held on Friday, 3 June 2011, tentatively in Harpers Ferry, Berkeley Springs, or Capon Springs. A tentative date of 30 September 2011 was set for the Fall 2011 meeting.

Dr. Ledbetter asked that the commission go on record expressing appreciation to Mr. Tenney and the Upshur County Historical Society for the reception and dinner, and for arranging the meeting and luncheon. Mr. Greco made a motion to adjourn, and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History