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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION MEETING
FRIDAY, 29 September 2006
The Cultural Center - Green Room
Charleston, West Virginia


Chairman Bob Conte called the meeting to order at 9:37 a.m., welcomed those present and asked members to introduce themselves. Voting members present were Dr. Ken Bailey, Margaret Brennan, Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, Dr. Charles (Chuck) Hulse, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Joy Stalnaker, Kip Stowell, Noel Tenney, Dr. Joan Walker, and Marjorie Zirk. Ex officio voting members present were Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association, and Michael Shock, president, West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio non-voting members present were Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation; and Fredrick Armstrong, director of Archives and History and secretary to the commission. Non voting ex officio members absent were Phyllis Baxter, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, and Dr. Michael Ed. Hohn, acting director, WV Geological and Economic Survey. Also present were Nancy Waggoner, Archives staff; Pam Brooks and Erin Riebe, Historic Preservation staff; and Chad Proudfoot, Capitol Building Commission vice chair.

Chairman Conte provided members with a favorable report on Ms. Baxter’s recovery and then called for consideration of the 2 June 2006 meeting minutes. Ms. Pierce stated she had provided some revisions to the secretary (copy attached to official minutes). Page 3, last paragraph, Historic Preservation did not issue an RFP, but drafted it; page 8, “they” refers to Historic Preservation receiving draft nomination and not the commission; page 9, “they” refers to the sponsors and not the commission; and, on page 22, regarding the sentence with reference to appeals on page 26 of the grants manual - if she spoke about appeals it was in the general context that they receive questions from the public. Chairman Conte called for approval of the minutes, with the revisions as submitted by Ms. Pierce. Dr. Arnett so moved and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called for reports, first requesting and receiving commission approval to revise the agenda to hear the commissioner’s and Museums reports first to accommodate the commissioner’s schedule. Commissioner Reid-Smith referred members to the Museums report, which he distributed to members at the meeting (copy attached to official minutes). He reported on the museum project and progress with the hiring of a consultant with twenty years of experience with Disney, Paramount and Universal and the pending Expression of Intent necessary for hiring out the audio, lighting and special effects components and design for the project. This should be out in mid-October and the bid documents for the Request for Quotations for the build-out of the shell and the Request for Purchase for the exhibits by mid-February. This schedule would put the opening on target for October 2008. He noted that the museum renovation project was the agency’s primary project; then concluded his report with comments on education, collections, touring exhibits and the sites. A Museums director would be hired in the next four months to oversee the section.

In response to questions from Ms. Brennan and Ms. Stalnaker regarding newspaper reports on relocating the Archives and History library for a restaurant, the commissioner stated they were looking into options and there was a strong possibility of this. Once they knew what they were doing he would report back to the commission. He stated there would always be an archives and confirmed Chairman Conte’s speculation that this was being explored in connection to the museum project. The commissioner stated it was also being discussed in relation to the restaurant in the Capitol basement and that these questions would have to be directed to Parkways. Dr. Bailey spoke to the role of the commission in plans for the Archives library and expressed his concerns regarding the use of and access to its collections, which he would hate to see lost. The commissioner replied there would always be an Archives library with easy access to it. He then stated his regrets for the change in his schedule, necessitating his leaving, and his intentions to attend, participate in and respond to interests and questions of members at future meetings. As it was 10 a.m., he excused himself, thanking members for their time and expertise shared in behalf of agency programs.

Chairman Conte called upon Susan Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. She began by referring members to the report she had distributed (copy attached to official minutes). She noted the new staff (curators) at Grave Creek, Scott Speedy and John Beucke; two new Section 106 historians, Shirley Burns and Ginger Williford; the contracting of Michael Mills to assist with development grant monitoring; and Erin Riebe, who had taken Alan Rowe’s position, leaving her position to be posted. The office was planning and preparing the process for the next Five-Year Comprehensive Plan. She noted conferences and engagements staff had attended or participated in since the last meeting, including the orientation for state development grant recipients. She concluded her report, announcing that the second bid process for the Grave Creek Annex collection had been successful and the paperwork with the contractor was being processed. In response to Mr. Stowell’s question regarding the position of structural historian, she briefly described the position and stated she would send him the criteria. Chairman Conte thanked Ms. Pierce for her report and called on Mr. Armstrong for the Archives and History report.

Mr. Armstrong noted that the monthly reports for June, July, and August had been mailed in advance (copies attached to official minutes). The statistics continued to document fewer on-site visits to and use of the library and increased Web site and e-mail activity. The workshops introduced to offset this decline and increase awareness of the library and resources were successful in bringing in 15 to 40 persons for each session and popular with those who attended. Staff had also provided several programs to groups, including one on state records management for the state licensing boards. He commented on some of the collections received (listed on the monthly reports) and the ongoing processing work on these to make them accessible for researchers. In the county records program, they had closed out 14 of the 17 grants for fiscal year 2005-06 and completed the orientation and site visits to the 23 for 2006-07, as well as posted the grant information and application form for the next cycle. He reported on the destruction of the Morgan County Courthouse, which did not result in the direct loss of many records but left a great need to recover those saved and to make them accessible. Archives was providing some assistance and the Records Management and Preservation Board may be able to provide some additional help.

The highway marker program, with new requests, pending orders and the refurbishing projects, was keeping them very busy. He reported slow progress with the inscription drafting and approval process and that the refurbishing project was proving more difficult because Highways had informed them that it would not be able to provide the take-down and installation support. This would require other approaches and result in more expenses for the program and fewer markers being refurbished. They were working with the contracting process and arrangements, while working with the districts and other sources to develop the list of markers to consider for inclusion. He reported that in one county, a private citizen with good intentions had refurbished a marker but changed the paint for the seal, which resulted in complaints. He noted that the commission had one new marker to consider, as well as the appeal for re-consideration of its failure to act on the three Wayne County markers. He then concluded his report by bringing members up-to-date on the Veterans Memorial project to complete the identification of missing names and corrections for the advisory committee to consider and have etched on the re-polished surface of black granite. He announced that staff work in reviewing the period newspapers had brought the total of new names and corrections to over one thousand and this research was not yet half done. Following his report, Mr. Stowell shared photographs of new and recently refurbished markers in the Harpers Ferry area and Ms. Stalnaker commented on some county records concerns in Lewis County. In reply to Ms. Brennan, Mr. Armstrong reviewed some of the options they were exploring in their effort to identify the best solution to move and install the markers selected for the refurbishing project.

Chairman Conte called upon Chad Proudfoot of the Capitol Building Commission for his report. Mr. Proudfoot thanked the commission for its support on the CBC’s position opposing the Governor’s Mansion window replacements. He reported that the mansion project was nearly complete at a cost of $3.09 million, exceeding the original budget of $2.13 million. He informed members that the CBC did not have any control over budgets and funding, and once plans are approved, its role was over unless there was a change in the plans it approved. The windows, which the governor explained had been removed because of cost and safety issues, had been saved and could be refurbished and put back in at a later time. The CBC had received a request from the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety for what appeared to be fairly major changes in a hall in the main unit of the Capitol. While initially opposed, in reviewing the plan and space they discovered that similar work had been done in a number of other areas and that it did not appear to have that much of an adverse impact on the building’s integrity; so the CBC approved it. Approval had also been granted for some modifications of doorways and walls in Building 3, the former DMV building. In reply to Mr. Stowell’s question, he stated the building qualified for listing on the National Register, but had not been listed. He concluded his report, noting that the CBC would be meeting in October and would be considering the project to replace the names on the Veterans Memorial. They anticipated at some time to be involved with the planning and approval of the proposed new Tax and Revenue building, which was to go up on the east side of the Capitol on California Avenue.

Chairman Conte called upon Joy Stalnaker for a report on History Day 2007. She informed members that the sponsors and staff had met the day before and revised the History Hero criteria, which will replace the former criteria on the Web site and in the mailing this year to invite nominations. The Friends of Culture and History, which have provided funding in previous years, had attended the meeting and appeared to be planning on more direct involvement with the program and activities on 22 February.

Continuing with Old Business, Chairman Conte noted that at the last commission meeting, members passed a resolution to write a letter to Governor Manchin, addressing the expired terms for all commission appointments and the two vacancies. He thanked Ms. Stalnaker for preparing a letter (copy attached to official minutes), which she read to members. After reading the draft, it was agreed to have it typed during the meeting so that members could sign it for delivery today. The letter requested the governor to give his attention to this matter in time for the commission’s winter meeting to be held January 26, 2007, and was signed by all appointed members in attendance.

Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for the status of the Blair Mountain nomination and the Blair Mountain Settlement Agreement & Agreed Order of Dismissal Status. She reported that staff met with the nomination sponsors to go over the letter the SHPO had sent to them and to discuss what the sponsors needed to do to address the Keeper’s comments. The sponsors had not returned the nomination yet, but there had been questions and indications that they were working on it. Regarding the settlement of the case, counsel Kate Campbell had submitted the filing to the Logan County Circuit Court and the first hearing date had been changed to 25 October.

Chairman Conte referred members to the first item of New Business and called for the presentation of National Register nominations. Ms. Riebe introduced David Taylor who presented the first nomination, the Williamson Historic District, Williamson, Mingo County. The nomination was presented under Criterion C, for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1892-1956. Mr. Taylor, in his slide presentation, noted the proposed district had 346 resources, 80 of which are contributing, 2 collective resources (a cemetery and brick streets) and 2 previously listed buildings (the Mountain Hotel and the Coal House) in the 46-acre district. In reply to Ms. Brennan, he stated there were no other districts in Williamson, but some interest had been expressed in a downtown district. In his presentation he called attention to the street construction performed by Tony Pietro, an Italian immigrant, paving contractor and builder, who was noted for his work in Morgantown. In response to Ms. Pierce, he stated the stone retaining walls were not included as contributing structures in the nomination, and he would add this, as it qualified as part of the collective resource. He noted that the Williamson Historical Foundation had sponsored the nomination. Chairman Conte called for a motion on the nomination. Ms. Zirk made the motion to approve the nomination; Dr. Walker provided the second; motion passed.

Mr. Taylor presented the James Mason House and Farm, Hedgesville, Berkeley County, under Criterion A for Exploration and Settlement and Agriculture and Criterion C for Architecture, with the period of significance being 1809-1956. Mr. Taylor stated this project began with a CLG grant two years ago. It had been delayed because the owner had not wanted the entire tract of 170 acres, including the agricultural field, nominated, but the owner had now agreed. His slide presentation used historic maps showing the Little Georgetown settlement and the road, the original log house location and the concrete block addition made with the Sears Roebuck block machine at the site. After comments on the interior and trim, Dr. Hulse moved to approve the nomination; Dr. Gozdzik seconded the motion; motion passed.

Hanna Cole, a West Virginia University Cultural Resource Management student, presented the last nomination, the Lynch Chapel United Methodist Church, Morgantown vicinity, Monongalia County, under Criterion A for religious properties and C for Architecture, which was late Gothic Revival, with the date of significance being 1902. In her slide presentation, she called attention to the arched windows, the steeple bell tower, the original stone foundation, tongue and groove ceiling, a hand-carved altar, unaltered, hand-crafted pews, double hung sash windows, original hardwood floor and the original and new outhouses behind the church. Ms. Riebe informed members of the letter of support from the Monongalia County Historic Landmark Commission. Dr. Arnett made the motion to approve the nomination; Ms. Stalnaker provided the second; all voted in the affirmative. This concluded the National Register nominations and members forwarded their voting forms to Mr. Armstrong. Chairman Conte called a recess at this time, 11:20 a.m., for lunch. Dr. Arnett left for another commitment.

Chairman Conte reconvened the meeting at 12:10 p.m. and informed members that their letter to the governor had been signed by all and sent to the governor (copy attached to official minutes). He then called on Ms. Pierce to address the FY2007 Annual Work Program (copy attached to official minutes), which required their action. Ms. Pierce informed members that this had been out for public comment and they had received basically positive comments from the Bath HLC, Wood County HLC, Nicholas County HLC, the City of Huntington and Allen Johnson at the Pocahontas Free Libraries. She offered to read these if anyone was interested. She then stated that the program had an appeals process included, but after the Attorney General’s Office had informed them that this was not necessary, they had printed a revised version without this (copy attached to official minutes). She stated it was up to the commission if they wanted the grant program to include an appeals process, as it was not considered necessary by the AG’s Office. She stated she did not see what they would have to appeal and members stated applicants could always re-apply the next year and this would reduce the paperwork for the grant program. In reply to Mr. Tenney’s comments on the scoring guidelines in relation to the appeals process, Ms. Pierce directed member’s attention to the Selection Criteria #1 on the sixth page from the back of the book. She reviewed these statements and after a brief discussion, Ms. Stalnaker made a motion that the grant program not include an appeals process. Dr. Ledbetter seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called for a motion to approve the Annual Work Program as revised with the removal of an appeal process. Ms. Stalnaker so moved and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called upon Susan Pierce for the presentation of the Certified Historic Preservation Community Application. She informed members that the staff was recommending the City of Bluefield be approved for this designation. It was noted that this would be the third designation under this program. There were no comments or questions regarding the nomination and Ms. Brennan moved to approve the City of Bluefield as a Certified Historic Preservation Community and Mr. Tenney provided the second. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong to present the new marker request for the First Commercial Airport in Mercer County. Mr. Armstrong referred members to the sheet of information sent to them in advance (copy attached to official minutes). He noted that the airport had been located in Bluefield and was a very short-lived endeavor that began in 1929. Student training was conducted there; and they had flights in and out, but it was primarily a commercial airport founded under the sponsorship of various coal companies and coal company executives who wanted to make use of new, faster means of transportation. They had charter flights to some of the major East Coast cities and several notable performers and airmen flew in and out of the airport. Pilot training was conducted at the airport for students at Bluefield. He had not found a date for the last flight or the corporation dissolution.

Ms. Stalnaker requested the commission consider tabling the marker request, as she had concerns on the procedure and criteria for markers and would prefer a committee be appointed to study and address these and report back to the commission. She related her recent experiences with the national DAR marker program, where every statement had to be proven. Mr. Armstrong briefly described the documentation submitted and the process used to verify this before presenting it to the commission for its consideration. If approved, additional research and verification would be conducted before attempting to finalize the inscription. For this specific request, the primary submission consisted of newspaper articles, although the applicant stated they had an interview with one of the original participants. He reported that the Archives office maintained a file on each marker but there were cases, even relying on government records, when differences could not be reconciled. As an example, he referred to the Layland Mine Disaster marker and the reported difference in number killed and surviving. In reply to Mr. Tenney, he stated the commission had approved a set of guidelines for the program several years ago and he would get copies for them to review at this time (copy attached to official minutes). He stated that a potential sponsor would be sent a letter explaining the program, the process for submitting an application, the guidelines for a site or event to qualify and the cost of the marker, which now includes the installation. When a completed application was submitted to Archives, a review was conducted and, if the guidelines have not been met, the application was returned to the sponsor(s) informing them of the reason for returning it. If they felt the guidelines were met, it was presented to the commission for action.

Dr. Bailey stated he had not found the significance of the airport in the information submitted. Many small communities throughout the state had similar airports and he questioned what made this one significant over others. Dr. Gozdzik suggested using guidelines similar to those for the National Register. Dr. Bailey made a motion not to approve the request for the First Commercial Airport in Mercer County. Ms. Brennan seconded the motion. Chairman Conte called for a vote. Several members voted in favor of the motion; however, there were also several abstentions, who requested time to review the criteria before recording their votes. Chairman Conte agreed to leave the motion on the floor while members reviewed the guidelines. Following review of the guidelines, Dr. Hulse read Criteria F: “Be associated with events that made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of state, national or local history . . . .” and stated the information and materials submitted failed to demonstrate this. Ms. Zirk stated Hardy County had an airport dating back to this time period which was just as significant. Dr. Hulse stated maybe the applicant did not research enough or the airport did not exist long enough to establish a history meeting this criteria . Discussion continued on the airport’s significance, documentation submitted, the verification procedure, and role of staff in this procedure. At the request of several members, Dr. Bailey and Ms. Brennan agreed to have their motion tabled so a committee could be appointed to work on the guidelines and procedure for the program. Ms. Stalnaker then made a motion to table the motion until a committee can review and revise the guidelines and the chair appoint a committee to work on them. Dr. Bailey stated that his motion only referred to this one application. Ms. Stalnaker said she knew this and planned to offer a motion for the second application. For clarification, Mr. Armstrong asked Ms. Stalnaker what her motion was. She stated her motion was to table the motion on First Commercial Airport, Mercer County, until such time as they have new guidelines, which hopefully would be the next meeting, January 26, 2007. The motion was seconded by Dr. Ledbetter; motion passed without further discussion.

Ms. Stalnaker then made a motion to table any action on the second marker request, the Wayne County Revolutionary War Veterans Graves, until such time that the guidelines were reviewed and established. Ms. Zirk seconded this motion. Dr. Bailey asked if those present representing the Wayne County marker request could be heard, since they had requested to present to the commission and had traveled for that purpose. Chairman Conte invited the Wayne County representatives to speak to their marker requests. Mr. Wayne Goode, president of the Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society, informed members that the group has sponsored the three markers in question. He thanked the commission for the opportunity to speak and introduced society trustee Herb Dawson and a companion from the Logan County Historical Society, Eldean Wellman. Mr. Goode stated he understood the DAR has different guidelines than the commission. He informed members that all three of the Revolutionary War soldiers were recognized as DAR patriots and had the same recognition from the SAR. Some had received pensions and some had land grants for their service. He responded to the letter the society had received informing them that the commission had taken no action on the marker requests and made reference to the cost of the marker maintenance. The society applied for the markers, but the funds came from members of the families that wanted the markers. The society was willing to pay the $500 cost of maintenance on the markers and the transportation and installation costs. In reference to the West Virginia Code, he stated the Revolutionary War soldiers’ graves project was relevant to the code references to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. He concluded by stating his family connections to the project, which did not include any of those for which the society was requesting markers. He then introduced Herbert Dawson, one of the trustees for the society, to address the commission.

Mr. Dawson stated he is a retired school teacher from Wayne County with an AB and Masters from Marshall University. A past president of the society, he presently serves on the Wayne County Community Services Organization and has been very active in genealogical research all his life. The letter they received had requested information on the veterans beyond their Revolutionary War service and he used Hezekiah Adkins as an example of what could be provided. Adkins was born in 1758 and was recognized for his military service with a plaque in Giles County, Virginia. He was an early land holder in Cabell County, where he is recorded as a juror in 1808, a juror in Wayne County when it was organized in 1842, and a missionary Baptist minister for fifty-seven years. The military records and service for Adkins, Frazier and Hatton are well documented, and several people have gone into the DAR and SAR through their military service. He stated he was unclear as to what the commission wants on the lives of these men, who were very old when they came to Cabell County, and died in the area of Cabell County that became Wayne County. He noted that their contributions were their large families, which populated the county and state, many becoming farmers, teachers, doctors and lawyers here and elsewhere. The society, in ten years, raised about $40,000, bought and improved its building and currently has $26,000 in its treasury. The money for the Revolutionary War Soldiers marker project is raised by the society, with the county commission providing about half the cost of each. The project is to erect a roadside marker for each soldier buried in the county to show respect for the sacrifice they made in founding the nation. DAR and SAR markers have been placed at the three graves in the present requests and the society sees the roadside markers as a great tourist attraction and a means to inform county citizens. He concluded his remarks by noting the support of Ms. Wellman and read “It’s the Soldier.”

Chairman Conte thanked Mr. Dawson and noted there is currently a motion to table. He called for a vote, which was unanimous. Chairman Conte declared the motion passed and stated the commission had a responsibility to Wayne County to expedite its review and consideration of the marker criteria. Ms. Stalnaker asked the chairman to appoint a committee to look at the guidelines and report back in January 2007. He then appointed Ms. Stalnaker, Mr. Tenney, Dr. Walker and Dr. Gozdzik. In reply to Ms. Brennan’s question on the status of the Wayne County markers, Ms. Stalnaker stated they were tabled until the next meeting, when the guidelines would be established, and they could be returned for consideration at the following May meeting. At this time, Ms. Wellman volunteered her services to the committee. In response to Ms. Brennan’s and Mr. Tenney’s questions regarding the number of graves of Revolutionary War soldiers in Wayne County and West Virginia, and how many have either collective or individual markers, Mr. Armstrong distributed a listing of 46 markers making reference to service in the Revolution (copy attached to official minutes). A mid-1930s program had inventoried a number of these grave sites and there were approximately 1,300 pension claims from men who were living in this area at the time they submitted the claim. This did not mean that they served in what is today West Virginia. He explained that the program of marking the graves mentioned by Mr. Goode was in the Code but it dated back to the 1920s and was under the county commission. This option had been suggested to the applicants, but it would be a marker without the state seal, which could be the reason they had not shown an interest in pursuing. After some discussion on the documentation of Revolutionary War service, members discussed what qualified for significance of service and how the commission meant to define this in its criteria for the program. Chairman Conte concluded the discussion, stating the committee would address these concerns and report back to the full commission with recommendations.

Chairman Conte stated the next meeting was scheduled for Friday, January 26, 2007, in Parkersburg, with the backup date being Friday, February 2, 2007. After discussing several dates and locations, it was agreed to have the spring meeting in the Moorefield area on Wednesday, May 23, 2007, with Ms. Zirk and Dr. Walker serving as local hosts to set up the arrangements. Following announcements by members concerning upcoming events and projects in their area, Chairman Conte asked for a motion to adjourn. Dr. Gozdzik so moved and he declared the meeting adjourned at 1:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Fredrick H. Armstrong
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History