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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION MEETING
FRIDAY, 3 OCTOBER 2008
HUNTINGTON MUSEUM OF ART
HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA


Chairman Bob 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, Dr. Helene Jacobs, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Bill Richardson, Amy Haden Sorrells, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Harold Forbes and Dr. Charles Hulse. Ex officio voting members present were Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association, and Michael Shock, president, West Virginia Historical Society, who arrived at 9:55 a.m. Ex officio non-voting members present were Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Joe Geiger, acting director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Adam Hodges, director, Museums Section; and Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Culture and History staff members present were Erin Riebe and Pam Brooks, Historic Preservation, and Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner of Culture and History.

Following introductions, Chairman Conte commented on the training session for members held the evening before by Barbara Wyatt of the National Register. He also thanked Dr. Jacobs for the nice dinner for commission members.

Chairman Conte called for a motion to approve the 16 May 2008 meeting minutes. Susan Pierce noted the need for a correction on page 14 of the minutes, with regard to development grants. She explained that the minutes should read Approved all as stated, with allowing Historic Preservation staff to fund the next project in the priority list if funding becomes available, as well as move funds if funding is needed for different projects. A motion to accept the minutes with this correction was made by Dr. Jacobs with a second by Dr. Ledbetter. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called upon Joe Geiger for the Archives and History report. He noted the previously mailed reports for the months of April through August (copies attached to official minutes) and the Annual Report for 2007-2008 (copy attached to official minutes), and reported on the Records Management and Preservation Board activities. Bryan Ward has been named acting assistant director for Archives and History and recently gave a presentation to the Sheriffs Association in Wheeling. Reporting on the Vital Records Project, Mr. Geiger advised members of the system failure about two weeks ago, noting that several hard drives had to be replaced and there was a power failure in the backup system resulting in a lot of corrupted images that have to be reloaded. He reported steps taken to avoid such an occurrence in the future. Mr. Geiger also reported on the Archives library, collections, Veterans Memorial, and highway historic markers activities.

In reply to a question from Chairman Conte, Mr. Geiger explained that a flat fee of $400 is paid to DOH, who, because the vast majority of the markers are on state right-of-way, are the only ones who can put them up. Amy Sorrells welcomed Bryan Ward and asked if there is a joint effort on behalf of the county court houses and the state to work together to get the papers in digital form so they are preserved forever. Mr. Geiger responded that the RMPB grant program is specifically for that, with the first step being to encourage counties to follow the records retention schedule, which he explained. The grants program provides for digitization and microfilming, but Archives feels that microfilming is the permanent way to do this, as the digitized files are not a permanent record. He also confirmed with Chairman Conte that names on the Veterans Memorial are being ground off and all that remains are the headers for the wars. There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called upon Susan Pierce to present the Historic Preservation report.

Ms. Pierce referred members to copies of the section report and the section’s publication, Details, both distributed by Erin Riebe (copies attached to official minutes). She discussed several items covered in the report and reported that notice has been received from DOH for funding to help scan archaeological survey forms and reports. Tami Koontz and other staff are working on the development of this. She noted that at the session the evening before there was discussion about having an update on the NR nominations; Chairman Conte stated this could be done now and Erin Riebe provided the update. At the last October (2007) meeting, five nominations were presented, two of which (West Martinsburg Historic District and Old Sweet Springs Boundary Amendment and Additional Information) were returned for more information and not rejected. At the February (2008) meeting, Laurel Hill Battlefield Historic District, Elk City Historic District, and Blair Mountain were presented; Laurel Hill and Elk City were both returned. Elk City has been returned to the Keeper, as a section of the regulations state that even if there are substantial changes, such as boundary, they can be resubmitted directly to the Keeper bypassing the review if notification is redone. In this case, an ad was placed in the newspaper. The Blair Mountain nomination was submitted in March or April and Ms. Riebe worked with the reviewer to fix a few technical problems. Within three days of the reviewer signing off that the nomination would be listed, a tiny error was found in the mapping and Historic Preservation had to withdraw the nomination. The Attorney General’s office is conducting research again and when this is completed, an ad will be placed in the paper, bypassing commission members, and it will then go back to the Keeper. Five Berkeley County nominations were approved at the last meeting and sent to the Keeper. Two of those are going to be returned by the Keeper and the other three will be listed. Three Berkeley County nominations were tabled and are back on the agenda for today’s meeting, one of which has a “No” vote.

Chairman Conte inquired about the Old Sweet Springs nomination and Ms. Riebe replied that it was previously listed at the national level. It was resubmitted with additional information, but they were told there is not enough information to be listed at the national level, so a new nomination is being prepared. Nothing was rejected by the National Park survey and she believes the Blair Mountain nomination will go straight back to the Keeper. When asked by Dr. Conte if the Blair Mountain nomination will come back to commission members again, Ms. Riebe stated it will not. Amy Sorrells asked why the Laurel Hill nomination was returned, to which Michael Gioulis, preparer of the nomination, who was in attendance, replied that there were questions regarding national significance and the need for further documentation to support it, as well as regarding the map submitted and the number of non-contributing resources in the northern portion of town. There being no further questions, Chairman Conte called upon Adam Hodges for the Museums Section report.

Mr. Hodges referred to copies of the report he had just distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes). He discussed several traveling and Cultural Center exhibits and noted that, as there has been some extensive renovation work taking place in the Great Hall area, museum staff has been trying to coordinate installation of exhibits. Mr. Hodges continued his report, discussing collections’ work and site activities. Referring to Camp Washington-Carver, Bill Richardson suggested that it would be helpful to get feedback from those who attend from out of state, as this information is helpful when approaching the legislature for funding for such revenue-generating events, and Jacqueline Proctor commented on efforts to track data. Mr. Richardson spoke to the difficulty in trying to track the economic impact by surveying businesses and suggested perhaps asking individuals a ten-question survey inquiring how much they spent on lodging, gas, etc., in the area.

Noel Tenney recalled a question from the last meeting about the idea of pursuing a re-granting concept for state museums for small projects, and further noted that Culture and History is supporting the American Association for State and Local History's efforts to create a greater equity through IMLS, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, between the funding for museums on a national level and libraries. In reply to his questions, Mr. Hodges stated he is aware of and supports the program, and discussed funding issues at length. Mr. Tenney commented that the State of West Virginia should approach AASLH, and asked about pursuing funding from the State of West Virginia as well. Mr. Hodges indicated that he would need to talk to the commissioner about it. As this concluded the Museums report, Chairman Conte called for any further questions or comments. There were none, so he next called upon Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner, for presentation of the commissioner's report.

Ms. Proctor noted she would give both the commissioner's report and the Capitol Building Commission report. Progress continues on schedule on the museum, with an opening date of mid to late spring and a major launch at or near West Virginia Day. Two design teams are now working on the fabrication of details of the museum. Significant remodeling is taking place in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center with the removal of the signature curved desk and installation of another desk just below the Upper Gallery near the State Theater. Ms. Proctor informed members that she produces a monthly program called "West Virginia Legacy" that airs on various local channels throughout the state, and noted that Joe Geiger has appeared on the program to speak on highway markers. She concluded with a brief report on the Capitol Building Commission. Dr. Ledbetter asked whether, with the emphasis on the interactive museum, there is personnel in place to operate it. Ms. Proctor noted the commissioner has spoken with the legislative body and the governor to ensure there is adequate staff, and there is a plan to restructure so there will be five “guest services” personnel. She responded to Dr. Ledbetter’s additional question as to whether there would be technology people in place to keep it going, noting the division IT person, the Governor’s Office of Technology, and plans to have people knowledgeable in audio visual, computers, and all of the interactive work. There being no further questions of Ms. Proctor, Chairman Conte called for Old Business.

He began by advising Ms. Proctor that the commission again expresses its concern about the status of commission appointments (four expired terms, two vacancies, and the status of commission member Dr. Charles Hulse, who has never been reappointed). Ms. Proctor stated the commissioner has had discussions with the governor but she does not know the outcome of those discussions; however, she would give the commissioner the message. There being no further Old Business, Chairman Conte moved on to New Business, beginning with the presentation of the National Register nominations.

Because of the number of nominations being presented, it was suggested that the presentations cease after the Barboursville nomination and then resume after lunch. Erin Riebe distributed voting sheets and reviewed what commission members were advised in the training session the evening before regarding the role of members in determining the eligibility of nominations to the National Register.

David Taylor presented the first nomination, John William Deck House, Berkeley County, under Criterion C for Architecture, with a period of significance being 1866. This nomination was tabled at the 16 May 2008 meeting. He noted there is one contributing resource, the house, and four non-contributing resources. Following a description of the house, Dr. Ledbetter made a motion for approval, with Dr. Arnett providing the second. Motion carried.

The second nomination, Davis-Keesecker House, Hedgesville, Berkeley County, was also presented by Mr. Taylor under Criterion C for Architecture, with a period of significance being ca. 1770, ca.1822, and there is one contributing resource, the house. This nomination was tabled at the 16 May 2008 meeting. Chairman Conte confirmed with Mr. Taylor that Criterion A had been dropped. After a lengthy discussion on the I-house issue and NR criteria, Chairman Conte called for a vote. Victor Greco made a motion to approve the nomination. Dr. Joan Walker seconded. Motion carried.

David Taylor presented the third nomination, Orndoff-Cross House, Martinsburg vicinity, Berkeley County, under Criterion C: Architecture, with a period of significance being ca. 1786 and ca. 1830, with one contributing resource and one non-contributing resource. This nomination was tabled at the 16 May 2008 meeting. A motion for approval was made by Becky Frye and seconded by Noel Tenney. Motion carried.

The fourth nomination presented by David Taylor was Bullskin Run Historic District, Jefferson County, under Criterion A: Agriculture and Industry and Criterion C: Architecture, with a period of significance being ca. 1730-1958. He noted that within the district there are 95 resources with 15 buildings and 16 previously listed resources. In reply to Amy Sorrells, Mr. Taylor stated that Bullskin Run is being nominated as a rural district, tied together by architecture as well as agriculture and the industrial sites, and Susan Pierce stated that the commission has seen a few districts of this type. Dr. Walker was bothered by the fact that a little stream was picked as a predictive model element for historic houses, and the road system that allowed the people to live in the area was not addressed. She also was bothered by the writing. She would like to see documentation for calling one resource a one-room schoolhouse, something to tie the mills in with the occupation in the area, and a better structured report that is more specific and lists railroads as non-contributing resources to make it a more powerful nomination. Mr. Taylor was amenable to making some additions, but, because of comprehensive planning and zoning issues, hoped that this nomination would not be tabled. With no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called for a vote. A motion was made by Dr. Arnett and seconded by Becky Frye to approve the nomination. Dr. Ledbetter amended the motion to include the submission of the points made by Dr. Walker, seconded by Dr. Jacobs. Motion carried.

The fifth nomination, Argabrite House, Alderson, Greenbrier County, was presented by Jean Boger, under Criterion C: Architecture, with a period of significance being 1908. Chairman Conte asked about the documents at the end of the nomination forms, which are copies of the original Finish Schedules that provided information on the millwork in the house. Dr. Walker asked about the radiators and called Ms. Boger’s attention to a “bad sentence” on Section 8, Page 6, of the nomination. A motion for approval of the nomination was made by Joan Walker and seconded by Victor Greco. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte recessed the meeting for a quick lunch at 12:09 p.m., asking that members reconvene at 12:30 p.m. The meeting resumed at 12:50 p.m. with the continuation of the NR nominations.

The sixth nomination, ZT Wellington House, Guyandotte, Cabell County, was presented by Karen Nance, one of the owners of the house, under Criterion B: Politics and Government, with a period of significance being 1870-1923. A motion was made by Amy Sorrells to approve the nomination. Dr. Arnett seconded. Motion carried.

The seventh nomination, Kotz House, Hardy County, was presented by Erin Riebe under Criterion A: Commerce and Criterion B: Commerce, with the period of significance being ca. 1860-ca.1887 (the years Mr. Francis Kotz lived on the property) and 1895-ca. 1920 (the years that the mule freight hauling business was operated on the property by Kotz’s son). Joan Walker asked if there is any evidence or documentation for the statement that the bricks were made on the property. Carolyn Kotz, one of the property owners, stated the information came from family history and Ms. Riebe stated she could include a footnote. There being no further comments or questions, Chairman Conte called for a motion. Dr. Jacobs so moved and Michael Shock seconded it. Motion carried.

The eighth nomination, Barboursville Historic District, Cabell County, was presented by Ms. Riebe under Criterion A: Commerce, Community Planning and Development and Criterion C: Architecture, with period of significance 1854-ca. 1955. In answer to a question from Noel Tenney, Ms. Riebe noted that there are no other districts in Barboursville. Chairman Conte called for a motion for approval of the nomination. Dr. Jacobs made the motion and Dr. Walker seconded. Motion carried.

The ninth nomination, Henry Gassaway Davis House, Mineral County, was presented by Erin Riebe under Criterion B for Politics and Government and Criterion C for Architecture, with a period of significance 1871-1883. Ms. Riebe informed members that Historic Preservation staff recommended to the property owner that this nomination be presented under Criterion C only, as Henry Gassaway Davis never lived at the house, but the owner was adamant that it also be presented under Criterion B as well. Ms. Riebe stated that when Davis was in the United States Senate he resided in Washington during the sessions, and there are several references that indicate Davis spent less than twenty days a year at the house and fewer nights at the actual property. In reply to a question from Noel Tenney, Ms. Riebe stated Davis’s family (his wife and children) lived in one side of the duplex during those years. She advised members that in order to be eligible for Criterion B, properties have to have more than association of family ownership or brief visits. She also stated there are other homes listed like this and that is why she had asked the property owner if, on the off session, Davis was living in Piedmont; the response from the owner was, “Well, not really, this was his voting residence. He really spent most of his time in Deer Park constructing hotels in the community at that time.” Bill Richardson stated that this probably meant this was his legal residence, since he voted from there and his family lived there. Ms. Riebe stated she was not sure the National Register guidelines address that, which is why she quoted in staff comments that it has to have more than an association of family or brief visits with family. In answer to a comment by Dr. Walker, Ms. Riebe stated she believed Davis slept in the house a few nights. She added that she certainly thinks it is eligible under Criterion C. Mr. Richardson commented that the fact that it was Davis’s legal residence is significant, especially since he was a senator and it was where he paid his taxes; for these pretty significant points, it might need to be made a bit clearer to avoid the nomination being kicked back.

There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the nomination of the Henry Gassaway Davis House. Bill Richardson so moved and Dr. Bill Arnett seconded. Mr. Richardson stated that the points with regard to the nomination need to be included which may keep the nomination from being sent back. Ms. Riebe stated she would do so. She also stated that Susan Pierce would ultimately make the decision to sign off on the nomination. Chairman Conte called for the vote. Motion passed with all in favor.

The tenth nomination, Nicholas Switzer House, Hardy County, was presented under Criterion C: Architecture, with a period of significance being 1778. The house was constructed by Mr. Switzer who was of Swiss/German descent and reflects the trends of the local German immigrants. There being no questions or comments, Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Ledbetter seconded. Motion carried.

The eleventh and final nomination, Scott Hill, Randolph County, was presented by Erin Riebe under Criterion B: Politics and Government, with the period of significance being 1892-1944. A motion was made by Dr. Arnett to approve the nomination, with Victor Greco providing the second. Motion carried. As this concluded the NR nominations, Chairman Conte asked members to turn in their voting sheets.

Continuing with New Business, Chairman Conte called upon Susan Pierce for her presentation of the FY2009 Annual Work Program (copy attached to official minutes), which began October 1, for approval by the commission. She informed members that Congress approved a continuing resolution, which means funding will go through March 6, 2009. The program represents what will be done during the entire 2009 fiscal year and includes the grant descriptions for the Survey and Planning Grants, as well as the Development Grants. Staff recommends that the matching percentages for survey and planning be 60/40 for Certified Local Governments and non-CLGS in the Survey and Planning Program.

Noel Tenney asked for clarification on the sub-grant distribution and the sources of money that is re-granted, to which Ms. Pierce provided a lengthy explanation about the amount received from the West Virginia Legislature, and also about the amount put toward re-granting. Mr. Tenney asked about the amount received from the West Virginia Legislature, and also about the amount put toward re-granting. Ms. Pierce stated that about $500,000 was received last year from the legislature, while $652,000 was received from the NPS, which pays primarily for salaries, and ten per cent of it is sub-granted to the CLGs. There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called for a motion. A motion was made by Joan Walker to approve the 2009 Annual Work Program. Charles Ledbetter seconded. Motion carried.

The last item under New Business, approval of “Preserve America” Mini-Grants, a joint project with Preservation Alliance, was presented by Ms. Pierce. In reply to questions from Bill Richardson, Ms. Pierce stated that Historic Preservation has put out a notice for a second round of mini-grants, and Pam Brooks noted that December 15 is the deadline. Discussion ensued about the breadth of the program guidelines, the Morgantown audio tour, staff feedback to applicants, and the process of advertising the application process. Helene Jacobs expressed concern over whether some applicants were given the opportunity to amend their applications and others not. Ms. Pierce commented that staff could advise the applicant that funding for their project was not granted at this time but that they could contact Historic Preservation staff to see if something could be added to make the application eligible for the December 15 deadline. Bill Richardson suggested two options: (1) approve as is with the next round of grants coming up, or (2) not approve them now and wait for the next round which would give the others time to adjust their applications and perhaps modify the amount of awards overall. Amy Sorrells noted that the Carnegie Hall project seems to be in the performance arts area, and Ms. Pierce advised members that the commission had approved a sub-grant program description for mini-grants that had different categories, one of which was equipment that enables the theater to exhibit/interpret the resource. Charles Ledbetter made a motion to approve the recommended projects without a set amount and table the other projects until they have been notified and brought back to the commission for consideration at the next meeting. To clarify his motion, he stated that what he is saying is that the commission approve funding of those projects that have been recommended be funded, without an amount at this time, but that the commission table consideration, at this point, of the others that submitted requests for funding, so they can go back to those grant applicants and seek additional information based upon commission members’ discussion today. Much discussion of the fairness of allowing some to apply again followed.

Chairman Conte reminded members there is a motion on the floor from Dr. Ledbetter. Dr. Ledbetter then withdrew his motion. Chairman Conte asked if there was another motion, to which Dr. Walker responded by moving that members fund the grants as recommended. Victor Greco seconded. Motion carried with Helene Jacobs abstaining.

Chairman Conte advised members that there were no highway historical marker applications to present. He announced Dr. Ledbetter’s recent two-volume publication.

In closing, Chairman Conte advised members of the upcoming Winter meeting to be held on Friday, January 30, 2009, in the Northern Panhandle with a backup date of Friday, February 6. Members chose for the meeting to be held in Grave Creek and Historic Preservation will serve as host. The Spring meeting tentatively will be held in Morgantown, at Mount Chateau, as suggested by Dr. Hohn, who will check on available dates. The Fall meeting will be held in Charleston. Following a motion made by Amy Sorrells, Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History