Chairman Bob Conte called the meeting to order at 9:50 a.m. and members made brief introductory remarks. Voting members present were Joy Stalnaker, Marjorie Zirk, Dr. Kenneth Bailey, Dr. Joan Walker, Margaret Brennan, Walton “Kip” Stowell, Dr. Charles Hulse and Michael Shock, recently elected president of the West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio non-voting members present were Phyllis Baxter, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia; Troy O. Body, acting commissioner of the Division of Culture and History and State Historic Preservation Officer; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation; and Fredrick H. Armstrong, director, Archives and History, and secretary for the commission. Voting members absent were Betty “Snookie” Nutting, Noel Tenney, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, and Dr. William Arnett, president of the West Virginia Historical Association; non-voting ex officio member Carl Smith, director of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, was also absent. Staff present were Alan Rowe, Historic Preservation section, and Joe Geiger, Archives and History section. Guests in attendance were Jean Boger, Sam and Janie Morgan, Bob and Connie Pierson, David Taylor, and Daril Stalnaker.
Chairman Conte asked if there were any additions or revisions to the minutes of the 11 June meeting which had been sent out prior to the meeting. Ms. Pierce noted that the spelling of “Hamerick” on page 13 should read “Hamric”. Dr. Hulse moved to approve the minutes as distributed, with the correction on the spelling of Hamric, and Dr. Walker seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Body to present his report on the agency. Mr. Body distributed copies of the agency’s cultural improvement plan (copy attached to official minutes) and discussed the agency budget submitted to the budget office for fiscal year 2005-06. He reported on the status of the museum renovation. Phase I and the demolition were complete and Phase II was ready to go out for the bidding process. Funding was needed, as it was insufficient to move Phase III forward. He was implementing a change in the budget operation for the project, with a total review of all expenditures. There was an immediate need for funding and staff now, and a request for a supplementary appropriation was to be submitted to the legislature if a special session was called.
The improvement level package for the agency included requests for Archives and History shelving, replacement equipment and new technology formats to make the collections more accessible. Historic Preservation needed an increase in funds for grants for its GIS project. For Arts, there was a request for an increase in grant funds to support rural projects. The package addressed staffing needs, including salary increases and a request to restore the dedicated funding to support the Veterans Memorial Archives, which had been lost during the last session.
The agency’s historic sites needed attention. Senate Bill 508, passed during the previous session, provided $750,000 for these and the Cultural Center. A number of repairs and cleanup were now in progress, with the bulk at the Cultural Center and some at Camp Washington-Carver. He reported on progress at Grave Creek and its HVAC project, and the need to upgrade the original museum facility.
He noted interest in establishing a Historic Preservation office in the Eastern Panhandle to address the growth in the area and to help balance it in respect to the area’s rich history. The agency also needed to establish positions for a grants writer, full-time web master, local heritage coordinator to work statewide in lieu of satellite offices, a marketing position, and an archeologist for Grave Creek Mound. He concluded with comments on agency long-term goals included in the report and the agenda for implementation, and his interest in obtaining a professional position to assist the West Virginia Association of Museums and in establishing a college of crafts at Camp Washington-Carver. In reply to Ms. Baxter, he noted the plan was posted on the agency web site.
In the absence of Stan Bumgardner, members were referred to the Museum Report (copy attached to official minutes) distributed earlier.
In reply to Dr. Bailey’s question on the museum renovation bids, Mr. Body stated the agency had to have the funds in hand to go forward with the bid. The five million dollars allocated has been expended and an infusion of funds was necessary to take the project forward to purchasing.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce addressed office and staff changes. Alan Rowe now had signature authority for the National Register program, Jennifer Murdock for tax projects, Lora Lamarre was now senior archeologist and had signature authority for archeology, and Pam Brooks for grants. Chris Knorr, assistant director with signature authority for memorandums and agreements, served as Ms. Pierce’s backup. She noted this was the result of her extended absence and changes in her personal life. Ms. Pierce reported that the Grave Creek site had been assigned to Historic Preservation. The site had two components: the curation complex and the administration and museum. Site director Susan Yoho developed a program for gifted students this school year. The New Wing project, announced on September 16, had received good attendance from local state representatives.
Ms. Pierce noted staff participation in Preservation Alliance and its annual meeting last month. Under New Business, the commission would be asked to consider approval of criteria for a historic preservation awards program to be coordinated with History Day and four National Register nominations would be presented. A survey of Sophia was being conducted as part of a University of Charleston class project. A project to collaborate with the Division of Highways on a comprehensive bridge survey was being developed, with a consultant already identified. The office was in the process of letting two contracts for the GIS program to prepare and place the information on the Internet for greater public access. Staff has been employed to scan the National Register forms to place on the web site. During this reporting period 117 archeology inventory site forms have been processed and the site files accessed by 50 researchers. Staff had conducted a number of site visits and she and three others participated in the agency Eastern Panhandle trip last month. Scholarships had been awarded to six individuals interested in attending the National Trust conference and for two to attend the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions forum.
Staff had worked on a brochure to be published for the section. Fall Details is running late, but is at the printer and this year’s calendar on schools is being prepared for the printer. Staff had handled thirteen Part I, seven Part II and two Part III tax credits and responded to 900 Section106 review letters. They had also been involved in a number of FEMA requests, as a result of the Wheeling floods. The Jefferson County Jail report had been reviewed. The “Save America’s Treasures” grant at Grave Creek was progressing with the architect’s submission of plans for the addition and site testing for potential archeology remains completed. The Weston State Hospital final report and Phase I report have been received, with recommendations for gutter and roof work to address protection of the building. Orientation for development grants had been conducted earlier and staff had been involved with preservation planning for the Town of Cass.
In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question, Ms. Stalnaker noted that a group interested in developing the Weston State Hospital into a casino had been successful in having the option placed on the November ballot, although this was being appealed to the Supreme Court. If it is voted on and approved, it could result in the grant being returned and the former hospital developed as a gambling site. She reported that tours were still being conducted with considerable interest and the museums and other activities were still operating successfully.
In the interest of visitors attending the meeting for the presentation of National Register nominations, Ms. Stalnaker made a motion to alter the agenda to move the presentation of nominations ahead of Old Business. Dr. Bailey seconded the nomination, which passed with all voting in the affirmative.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong for the Archives and History Report. Mr. Armstrong began by referring members to the monthly reports for June thru September 2004 (copies attached to official minutes). He commented on patron and processing statistics, noting the progress of Terry Lowry’s work on the Adjutant General’s Civil War records. The finding aids to these records, which had been transferred to the Archives during Virgil Lewis’s tenure, are now available on-line. The microfilming program continued to make progress on eliminating the backlog of hard copy newspaper titles and was nearing completion on the Department of Mine inspection reports. On Project Access, he reported that the new contractor, the Genealogical Society of Utah, was submitting images and database indexing elements to the records for audit review at a rapid pace, now that all the indexing issues had been resolved. He advised members that Archives and History News has undergone some design and publishing changes, but editor Susan Scouras was working hard to get it back on schedule. He hoped the public and members would be patient during this transition period.
The donation of several large collections is in process, including the papers of W. W. Trent, longtime state superintendent of schools, and A. Spates Brady, a local coal and timber entrepreneur, president of the Mountain State Forest Festival and trustee to Davis and Elkins College. He and Mr. Geiger would be picking up the latter collection in Elkins after the meeting, and arrangements had been made to take the Trent collection to Richmond, where the Virginia State Records Center would use its state-of-the-art freezer to eradicate the bug infestation. The Rockefeller gubernatorial papers had been moved recently to the Archives and preparations were being made in hopes of a more timely transfer of the Wise papers at the conclusion of his term. He concluded his comments on collections, announcing ongoing efforts to arrange the donation of the papers of another prominent West Virginia political figure, whose collection would present a major challenge to Archives staff and space due to its immense size.
Work with the Records Management and Preservation Board was progressing with the first series of grant recipients submitting reports and invoices for the first quarter of work. The period to submit applications for the second round concludes 1 November. The June grant and records management training workshops for county offices had been successful and the board had approved a series of regional records training workshops, to be scheduled for early next year.
Mr. Armstrong reported that a number of highway markers have been manufactured and placed with Highways for installation during the past several months, and several others were pending. Private sponsors continue to submit applications and three would be presented for consideration under New Business. He also noted that an application for a federal highways enhancement grant had been obtained, and was on the agenda for later in the meeting.
He concluded his report, informing members of the creation of The Veterans Memorial Archives Advisory Committee, created under the state’s administrative/procedural rule process, to review, consider and make recommendations for the revision of names on the memorial and the potential addition of new names. The first meeting was scheduled for 20 October 2004, at which time the advisory committee members will be provided with the information and forms to complete and return or bring with them for a meeting in November to finalize the committee’s recommendations.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Rowe for the presentation of the National Register nominations. Mr. Rowe introduced Ms. Jean Boger to present the Greenmont Historic District, Morgantown, Monongalia County, under Criterion A for Community Planning and Development, Commerce, and Ethnic Heritage, and Criterion C for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1774-1952. Ms. Boger noted that she worked with Mike Gioulis and was handling the presentation in his absence. Following the presentation, Dr. Hulse moved to approve the nomination and Ms. Zirk provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Rowe introduced Mr. David Taylor who presented the Weston Downtown Residential Historic District, Lewis County, under Criterion C for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1839-1954. He noted that there were 195 contributing and 71 non-contributing structures in the district.
Ms. Stalnaker added comments about the district and noted the nomination had benefitted from a grant approved by the commission. She then moved to approve the nomination. Dr. Walker provided the second, after which Chairman Conte called for the vote on the motion. The motion passed, at which time Dr. Walker stated she had seconded the motion so as to comment on the nomination. She then questioned the nomination’s pointed references to the district’s architectural cohesiveness. The nomination made a good presentation and demonstration of the diversity in the district but there was the need to address and reflect on the complexity of the district in it. Mr. Stowell noted the district had a number of special houses reflecting Colonial and Queen Anne styles and elements, and numerous brick shapes and treatments. Mr. Rowe stated that if members felt it met the criteria, there was no need to rescind the vote of approval; the nomination could be adjusted and written to address these points. Dr. Bailey stated his interest in addressing the sidewalks in a revised nomination and suggested that the motion be re-called and an amended motion made.
Members agreed to an amended motion and requested Ms. Stalnaker propose an amended motion. Ms. Stalnaker moved that the nomination be amended to include the concerns expressed by the commission, with the addition of support for the district’s diversity of architecture and styles, its complexities and the issues and concerns regarding the sidewalks; and be reported back to the commission. Dr. Walker agreed to the amended motion and again provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Baxter, in the absence of Mr. Gioulis, presented the Mt. Iser Historic District, Beverly area, Randolph County, under Criterion A for Military Significance and C for Engineering, with the period of significance being 1861-1908. The district, composed of 42 acres, includes the Butcher Hill Historic District already listed on the National Register. In reply to Dr. Bailey, Ms. Baxter reported that 45 soldiers buried in the cemetery are identified, as well as citizen John Hughes. In response to Ms. Brennan regarding difficulty in accessing the site, Ms. Baxter noted that arrangements to clear access across the property by foot, not vehicles, were in process. Dr. Hulse questioned using the exception of commemorative monument and Mr. Stowell spoke to the details and differences observed in the obelisk, such as in the corner leaves. He questioned the difference in color from the top and below the carved area and Ms. Boger explained that there was a difference in the texture of the stone. She also noted that it is unique because it is a mass grave within the Union fortifications. Only one or two such examples are known. Dr. Hulse questioned it being a design element, which it is not, and Dr. Bailey stated that it probably qualified as utilitarian, but not unique. Ms. Baxter noted that the town changed its political position during the war, being Whig before, but Confederate by the end. She credited this to this engagement and the impact of it and the war on the community.
Chairman Conte asked if there was a motion to approve the nomination and Ms. Stalnaker moved and Dr. Hulse provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Rowe presented Organ Cave, Ronceverte Vicinity, Greenbrier County, under Criterion A for Entertainment/Recreation and Industry, with the period of significance being 1822-1954. Ms. Janie Morgan, site owner, assisted with additional information on the site and its history. It was noted that there were three contributing and three non-contributing elements. Dr. Walker questioned the reference to 8000 BC for Native American presence. Ms. Morgan stated this was based on arrow heads found at the site and dated by Robert Piles. In reply to Dr. Bailey’s question on ownership of surface and subsurface, Ms. Morgan explained that they owned surface and subsurface down and that the cave was protected by state and federal laws. Surface owners can only live on the surface and can not drill or allow for sewer drainage. She reported that this is the second largest commercial cave on the East Coast and that not all of it has been mapped. The intent of having it listed was to give it the honor and recognition it deserves. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte declared a recess for lunch at 12:25 and reconvened the meeting at 1:15, with discussion on History Day. Ms. Pierce reviewed the proposed guidelines for the new historic preservation awards, which she distributed (copy attached to official minutes). She stated it was a selective, competitive, statewide awards program. Ms. Stalnaker made a motion to endorse the historic preservation awards program as part of the overall History Day program and Mr. Stowell provided the second. After a brief discussion, during which Ms. Brennan stated it was her understanding that the commission was endorsing the awards program, not necessarily the wording, Chairman Conte called for a vote. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Brennan to report for the Marker Committee. She reported that the committee had continued to look into the refurbishing needs and possible ways to address them. The Division of Highways federal highway enhancement grant program appeared most promising. It requires a twenty percent match and there was interest in using the marker book revenues for this match. She related her discussion with Paul Hicks in District 6 and Mr. Armstrong on this approach. Mr. Armstrong explained how a similar project had worked in Virginia and stated that if the commission was interested in pursuing a grant using the book revenues for the required match, it would be beneficial to pass a resolution to that effect. Mr. Stowell made a motion that the commission support the submission of a grant proposal to the federal highway enhancement program to fund a project to start refurbishing state highway historical markers and to use the marker book revenues, and any other support that could be identified, to provide the required match. Dr. Bailey seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong to address the proposed revised Administrative Procedural Rule for library collection materials and services. He explained that members had been sent two copies, one with all the changes - revisions, additions and deletions - shown in red and the other reflecting how it would read if all the changes were approved. He explained that the existing rule was outdated in its pricing and its failure to include new formats and technologies. In response to Ms. Brennan, he stated that a comparison with other state archives and libraries had been made so as to avoid being out-of-line and generally to attempt to be in the middle. He stated that the commission could suggest any changes and that whatever it approved would then be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and put out for public comment for the required thirty-day period. Members could, like the public, file comments to suggest revisions at that time. Dr. Bailey then moved to approve the proposed draft of the revised Procedural Rule and Ms. Zirk seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte recognized Ms. Pierce who addressed the commissioner’s interest in exploring the creation of a Certified Preservation District program. The SHPO office had researched several programs and she distributed a number of handouts (copies attached to official minutes) on them. The programs designated districts with markers and banners. In response to Dr. Hulse, Mr. Body stated these designations would serve as a marketing tool and give credit to preservation efforts and tax protected districts. He cited Paducah, Kentucky, as an example of the value of the program. In reply to Dr. Hulse’s question if there would be a grant program to serve as an incentive, Mr. Body stated he was looking to the commission to generate. After a brief discussion and the suggestion that a sub-committee be formed to explore and report back, Ms. Baxter volunteered. Ms Stalnaker also volunteered and it was suggested that Mr. Tenney, who was absent, lived in close proximity to them and had talents which would make him a good addition to the committee.
Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce to introduce the FY 2005 Annual Work Program. She reviewed the staff work on the document and the process for its presentation and approval. She noted that a page had been added to the earlier draft presented previously, to include the sub-grant scholar program, which follows park service rules. She reported on, and shared, the three public comments received (copies attached to official minutes). Wilma Richardson, Nicholas County, and Connie Gray, Huntington, were favorable, as was Don Wood, Berkeley County, who had added there was the need for funds for museum acquisition and interpretation. She explained that this was beyond the statutory scope for historic preservation. Ms. Zirk moved to approve the Annual Work program, with the addition of the sub-grant scholar program amended to include a documentation requirement. Mr. Shock seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong to present the new marker requests. He reviewed the requests and provided some background information on the Battle of Barboursville and Revolutionary War Veteran Ferguson markers, which had been sent out earlier. The request for the Population Center marker had come in too late for consideration at this meeting, but he asked members to review it to see if they would be interested in considering such a marker request at the next meeting. Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the privately sponsored Battle of Barboursville marker and Dr. Walker seconded the motion. Motion passed. After some questions and discussion on the importance of a marker for a Revolutionary War veteran’s grave, Ms. Brennan moved to approve the privately sponsored marker and Ms. Zirk provided the second. Motion passed with Dr. Bailey recorded in opposition. In discussing the Population Center marker request, members questioned how this would be different from other decennial census locations and Mr. Armstrong stated that this was for the century location and that the surveyor’s association, which would be the sponsor, had designated the actual survey monument it referred to as the true survey quadrant for future surveys. Commission members were in agreement that they were not inclined to consider this an exception to the twenty-five year rule and instructed Mr. Armstrong to notify the sponsor.
Chairman Conte addressed future meeting sites and dates. After some discussion, it was agreed to schedule the winter meeting for Friday, 28 January, in Morgantown, with 4 February as the backup date in the event of bad weather. If the Morgantown site did not work, Weston would be the backup site. For the spring meeting, Logan was suggested for the location and Friday, 6 May, as the date (or Friday, 13 May, as back up date). On a motion by Ms. Stalnaker and second by Ms. Brennan, the requirement to send out the development grants two weeks in advance was changed to be as soon as is possible in advance. Motion passed. Based on an invitation from Ms. Morgan, members agreed to schedule the fall meeting at Organ Cave for 7 October 2005.
As this concluded the business to come before the commission, several members jointly moved to adjourn. Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 2:15 p.m.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Archives and History Commission