Dr. Robert Conte, Chairman, welcomed everyone to the Archives and History Commission meeting held at the Organ Cave Community Center in Ronceverte on Friday, 7 October 2005, at 9:40 a.m. Chairman Conte declared a quorum existed and asked each to introduce themselves. Voting members present were Dr. Ken Bailey, Margaret Brennan, Dr. Gloria Gozdzik, Dr. Chuck Hulse, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Joy Stalnaker, Kip Stowell, Dr. Joan Walker, Marjorie Zirk, Dr. Bill Arnett, (ex officio) president, West Virginia Historical Association, and Michael Shock, (ex officio) president, West Virginia Historical Society. Voting member Noel Tenney was absent. Ex officio non-voting members present were Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation, Fredrick H. Armstrong, director, Archives and History, and secretary for the commission, and Troy O. Body, acting commissioner of the Division of Culture and History and State Historic Preservation Officer, who arrived after lunch. Non-voting (ex officio) members Phyllis Baxter, president, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, and Carl Smith, director of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, were absent. Staff present were Ryan Burns, Erin Riebe, and Alan Rowe, Historic Preservation section.
Chairman Conte asked for a motion to approve the 6 May 2005 meeting minutes. Dr. Walker referred to the middle of page 11 where "building" should read "site" as it was a reference to a foxhole. Ms. Pierce stated she had a list of corrections she had noted (copy given to Mr. Armstrong), including this one, where the tape records it as "building," but Mr. Rowe meant "site." On page 2, reference should read National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. On page 3, her explanation was that NPS had approved the addition at Grave Creek as required by Land and Water Conservation Fund deed restriction. On page 6, line 10, "through" not "thru," on the fourth line from the bottom it should read "but determined if eligible," and on the same page the reference to the 1999 letter should read "larger area," not "boundary," as stated in minutes. On page 11, fifth line from the bottom, statement about state being obliged to address property owners is not accurate but tape is inaudible. On page 16, the correct spelling is Koosowski and on page 20, second paragraph the correct figure is 2.5 million, not 1.5 million. Charles Ledbetter moved to approve the minutes as amended, after review and verification with the recorded tapes by Secretary Armstrong. Mr. Stowell provided the second. There being no further additions or revisions to the minutes of the 6 May 2005 meeting, the motion was voted upon and passed. In reply to Ms. Stalnaker's question about the minutes being available on the Internet, Mr. Armstrong stated he thought they were placed on the web site after approval, replacing the previous set. Dr. Arnett noted for the minutes his appreciation on the chairman's handling of the difficult meeting.
Chairman Conte called for the reports of the agency. In the immediate absence of Mr. Body, the commissioner's report was postponed until later. It was then noted that, in the vacancy of a Museums director, members had already received in their previously mailed materials a copy of a Museums report from Ginny Painter, Deputy Commissioner (copy attached to official minutes). There being no questions of the report, Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce for the Historic Preservation report.
Ms. Pierce provided an update on the Blair Mountain nomination, referring to the response which was submitted to the court from Ms. Karen Thornton of the Attorney General's Office. Mr. Rowe and Ms. Riebe had reviewed the property owner count, which was a primary concern of Mr. McCluskey, counsel representing the coal companies and landholders. After internal discussion of the nomination process and consultation with Ms. Thornton, Mr. Body, in his capacity as State Historic Preservation Officer, decided to submit the nomination to the Keeper of the National Register. This resulted in the subsequent lawsuit filed by Mr. McCluskey. Within the last week or two, the National Park Service had submitted questions and concerns it had with the nomination. She distributed a copy (copy attached to official minutes) of the substance of the comments for commission members' review, noting a page was missing, which would be sent later, and that it was neither acceptance or rejection, just a request for additional information in the three areas addressed: archaeological evidence supporting the significance of the battle, additional information regarding the number of property owners, and information regarding integrity and the changes that had occurred over time with respect to the boundaries. Mr. Armstrong stated he did not have a complete copy of the official NPS submission, but he did have, and distributed, a copy of an Associated Press article on this (copy attached to official minutes). Ms. Pierce noted the office was working on the response to these questions and concerns, and with Ms. Thornton in the ongoing process and ligation. She concluded her comments relating to Blair, noting the office's review and comments on surface mining permit and a draft, programmatic agreement that had been submitted to the office by Jackson Kelly as well.
Ms. Pierce continued her report, announcing the resignation of Jennifer Murdock who had taken a position in the Virginia SHPO. Ms. Pierce would be working with Jenny Boggess, Director of Administration, on filling this position. She commented on candidate qualification issues relative to the process of filling positions through the Division of Personnel. She noted that the education position at the Grave Creek Mound site was in the process of being filled; an offer had been made and Personnel was reviewing the candidate's application.
She reported on meetings with other agencies and staffs; open houses held in Charleston, Marlinton and Wheeling; a workshop on the survey, National Register and Section 106, with eighty attending; and completion of a draft survey manual by staff. Section 106 reviews completed for June through September numbered 676. A summer intern worked on GIS database entry, the skylight had been completed at Grave Creek and the bid opening for the construction of the addition was scheduled. A public meeting, sponsored by the Charleston Area Alliance, demonstrated renewed interest in a downtown Charleston district nomination.
In reply to Dr. Bailey's question on the status of the Blair Mountain case, Ms. Pierce stated she had nothing new to report. She stated there was communication between Ms. Thornton and Jeff Vining of Jackson Kelly as to dismissal, but there was no movement as yet. The deposition scheduled for her and Mr. Body later this month would be cancelled if the suit was dropped. In response to Dr. Hulse's question about how much information was on the GIS database, she stated she was uncertain and would have to provide an answer to him later. In reply to Ms. Stalnaker's inquiry about Weston State Hospital, Ms. Pierce noted that Chris Knorr has been working on amending the contract with URS to complete additional specs on the stabilization effort, but the Department of Health and Human Resources is considering selling the building and their representative is concerned that Historic Preservation does not spend any further funds from the grant, as these might then have to be returned. In reply to Ms. Brennan's question on the Blair Mountain property owner notification process, Ms. Pierce stated that they thought it had been conducted correctly and the court would have to decide, if the case went to court. Several members commented on the case and the process by which it was served and its merits. Chairman Conte stated they would monitor the situation and Ms. Pierce added that members would be kept informed as to how it proceeds and notified directly through Ms. Thornton.
Chairman Conte called on Mr. Armstrong for the Archives and History report. Mr. Armstrong referred members to the handouts distributed before the meeting, which provided the usual cumulative reports covering May through September (copy attached to official minutes). He reported on the library's involvement in and preparation for the catalog conversion system being worked on by the state Library Commission, donations by the Mining Your History Foundation and collaboration with it for the upcoming Irish immigration workshop and annual meeting. He noted the continuing work on "This Day in West Virginia History," as part of Archives and History's centennial, and other work on the web site, including the posting of birth, marriage and death records for six counties and death records for the state under Project Access, now listed under West Virginia Vital Research Records (WVVRR). The WVVRR had been launched gradually and quietly beginning in July so as to test the access process and to avoid the chance of being overwhelmed by researchers or unidentified access problems. A joint press release with the Genealogical Society of Utah will be issued shortly. Work continues with the Department of Education on the upcoming Golden Horseshoe test and additional study questions and exercises to help prepare students. West Virginia History work on potential manuscripts under review and the book review process is moving toward publication of the next issue before the end of the fiscal year. As this work picks up, work on the cumulative index will slow down. Staff continues to research and document names on the Veterans Memorial and the search for those qualifying but not included should conclude during the next year in time for corrections, if legislative funding is obtained. If funded, the current granite panels would either be replaced with the additional and corrected names or the surface ground down and the names re-etched. The cost estimates for replacement are one million and for the correction process, $350,000. He noted that in the absence of the dedicated lottery funding and because of her current extended illness, Veterans Memorial manager Pat Pleska requested and was approved for part-time rather than full-time employment. The Records Management and Preservation Board activities for county records continue to increase with additional work on the grants program, courthouse site visits to provide technical assistance, and the development of rules to improve records management with revised current records retention and disposition schedules. Denise Ferguson joined the staff in July to work in this program area. Mr. Armstrong briefly commented on these activities and the successful acquisition and processing work on the W. W. Trent, A. Spates Brady, and Senator Jennings Randolph collections, which were detailed in the reports distributed. All of these collections had to be taken to Richmond to the Virginia Records Center to be frozen to eliminate infestation and the quantity, exceeding twelve hundred feet, would require a major investment of staff and time to process and make accessible. He concluded his report, announcing activities associated with the Archives Centennial, which included a lecture by Henry Gates and an evening at the Governor's Mansion, to which members had been invited.
Chairman Conte, referring to the Museums report, cited the reference made to a request of the legislature to get a professional assessment and wondered if this was just for its collection. Mr. Armstrong explained this was in the budget proposal for FY2006/2007 and included both Museums and Archives collections, in response to the finding presented in the Legislative Performance Audit. Without a legislative appropriation, the agency lacked the funds to address this finding. In response to Dr. Ledbetter, he stated that the State Archives by law had to take in, and be the responsible repository for, state agency records, but a private college or university archives would not have to accept records; but, if it did, ethically it was accepting a public trust to ensure their preservation and access to them. In the case of the Randolph Collection, Salem, as a private institution, had accepted the collection, but when it failed to be able to provide for the collection it had opted to transfer this responsibility to the State Archives.
There being no other questions, Chairman Conte called on Ms. Pierce to report on the Historic Preservation Certified Preservation District program. She informed members that the office had submitted the Procedural Rules to the Secretary of State and the comment period ended on 30 September. Staff would respond to comments received and then implement the program. She stated the rules were based on the program as presented and approved by the commission at its last meeting.
Chairman Conte recessed the meeting at 10:35 a.m. for the Organ Cave tour.
Chairman Conte reconvened the meeting at 1:25 p.m., following lunch, and called on Mr. Body, who had arrived during lunch, for the commissioner's and Museums' reports. He informed members of the staff working on the completion of the bid package for the State Museum, which he reported would be ready in December. The team consisted of consultant Rob Charles from Virginia, the engineering company SEM; Stan Bumgardner, Rachael Plybond, who manages the autocad program, Ginny Painter, and several other staff as needed. He noted it would require an all out push to make the December deadline, at which time it would be presented to the governor for a decision before any bids could be released. He then commented on the roof construction project at the Logan Museum in the Park site and the work of contract employee Adam Hodges in developing exhibits, art workshops, education programs, and the successful Music in the Park over Labor Day. At the Jenkins Plantation, there is a critical need for funds to preserve and restore the home and site. He announced plans to meet with Congressman Rahall to discuss this and that without federal funds to support the site, it was his intention that the agency pull out of the responsibility of the sublease. He noted that in the absence of dedicated funding for the sites and personnel, it was beyond the agency's means to sustain them in the manner to which they were entitled. At West Virginia Independence Hall, the agency's Improvement Package request included funds for the Civil War flags exhibit and the HVAC system. It would be up to the legislature to fund and move these projects forward. At Grave Creek, Delegate Harold Michael directed $970,000 for the HVAC system and they have started moving ahead with the addition. He noted his work with other legislators regarding this site and announced that Joe Candillo had been hired for the education program there. The site had received $125,000 for renovations and exhibits and $25,000 for Joe Candillo to work on education and outreach. At Camp Washington- Carver, $125,000 from the cultural facilities fund was budgeted for Randy McClain, director, to stabilize the lodge and dormitory. He announced that with the renovation of the dormitory and the promise of $40,000 from the Budget Digest, Adrian Belefonte Bessmyer had agreed to run the summer African American Arts Camp. He concluded his report with comments on what he saw as progress with remodeling at The Cultural Center, with new carpet and restroom renovations, and invited members to the West Virginia Independence Hall reception on 12 October, the Gates lecture and reception on the 14th and the reception at the Governor's Mansion on the 19th in honor of the Archives and History Centennial.
Chairman Conte moved to New Business and called on Historic Preservation for the National Register nominations.
Jean Boger, assistant to Mike Gioulis, presented the Downtown Rowlesburg Historic District, Preston County, nominated under Criterion A for commerce, community planning and development, with the period of significance being 1848-1952. Due to a computer failure, the oral presentation had no slides and members were shown print illustrations. The area comprised approximately nineteen acres and members were reminded that the 1985 flood had destroyed much of the community and what was saved and preserved was in the process of being revitalized. The district comprised 51 contributing buildings, one contributing site, and 27 non- contributing buildings. In reply to Dr. Bailey's question on the support of property owners for placement on the National Register, Ms. Riebe stated there were over 50 property owners and a legal notice had been published in the paper. Owners could reply to the office or address the Keeper. Ms. Boger stated she had spoken to several families and the mayor since the nomination was submitted and they were definitely supportive. In response to Chairman Conte's call for a motion, Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the nomination of the Rowlesburg Historic District and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Rowe presented the Lost River General Store, Hardy County, under Criterion A for commerce and social history with the period of significance being 1898-1955. Guests attending in support of the nomination were Ann Morgan and Margo Pfleger, and they spoke to the work performed on the building, such as the installation of the bay windows on the south side of the store to allow more light to enter. Mr. Rowe stated that these were done to address modern needs, but with respect to the original character and integrity of the building. He then noted the inclusion of the WPA privy as a contributing structure. Ms. Zirk moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion passed.
Ms. Riebe presented the third nomination, Glady Presbyterian Church and Manse, Randolph County, under Criterion C for architecture with the period of significance being 1905, the year the church was constructed, and 1908, the year the Manse was constructed, and under Criterion A for religious properties. She introduced property owners, Lenzie and Florence Hedrick, who addressed the history of the property. Mr. Hedrick noted that the property was deeded to the Presbyterian Church in July 1905 by the Coal and Iron Railway and on 22 October 1905, the building was dedicated. The church remained active and members were invited to the Centennial Service on 23 October. He referred to a picture taken in 1935 of the congregation wherein he is shown as a toddler in his mother's arms. He noted that the Manse was built in 1908 and has been maintained as originally built. Ms. Riebe reviewed the photos of the church and the Manse. Mr. Armstrong questioned the WPA privy inclusion, with no date of significance shown. Ms. Riebe explained they had looked into it and would check their regulations before they send it off to the National Park Service. The period of significance should be 1905-1908, ca. 1935, but the significant dates would not include the privy, only the two main buildings. Dr. Walker noted some typos and two dates that needed to be changed. On page 3, "2005" should be "1995" and on page 4, the "1841," should be "1941." Mr. Stowell noted the simple geometry of the interior and Mr. Hedrick explained the layout within, noting that the old pump organ dates to the opening of the church, as does the Burnside stove. Chairman Conte thanked the Hedricks for their work on the nomination and called for motion. Ms. Stalnaker moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion passed.
Prior to presenting the fourth nomination, Bernard E. Wilmoth House, Belington, Barbour County, Ryan Burns introduced the owners, Richard and Nancy Snider. The house was nominated under Criterion C for architectural style and design, with the period of significance being ca. 1913. He noted style changes from the Victorian Era Queen Anne to the Arts and Crafts, and details such as wraparound marina porch, the brown speckled gray color of the exterior of the house, and the interior, in which all the oak woodwork was by Mr. Wilmoth. Former residents had taken great care to preserve both the interior and the exterior. Mr. Burns cited the original gas light fixtures, which remain in tact, but converted to electric lighting. Mr. Stowell stated the house was similar to one in Shepherdstown and that the Wilmoth House appeared to be more Colonial Revival, but related to Arts and Crafts and the four-square style. Dr. Ledbetter moved to approve the nomination and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Rowe presented the Lang-Hess House, Wheeling, Ohio County, under Criterion A for agriculture and Criterion C for architecture, with a period of significance being 1865. He noted the house, the only all sandstone house located in the East Wheeling section, was built by Andrew J. Lang, a stone mason who owned a quarry on the other side of Wheeling Creek in an area called Manchester. Mr. Lang was associated with the construction of the towers for the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which are of a similar type of sandstone. Mr. Rowe called attention to the stone carvings on the exterior elevations and the interior workmanship and stained glass window, which is several feet high. In reply to Dr. Bailey, he stated the window treatment is all carved stone. In response to Mr. Stowell, he stated the porch was a 1930s addition and the pillars are rusticated concrete block, but the ballastry that sets the building off from the street is original. The location is at the end of the Historic Wheeling District and for some reason it had not been included in that nomination. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the nomination and Mr. Stowell provided the second. Motion passed.
Mr. Rowe presented the final nomination, the May-Kraus Farm, Lewis County, under Criterion A for agriculture and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being 1850-1950. The nomination included 110 acres. The back portion of the house was log and was the first farmhouse on the property. The farm was self-sufficient with cattle, a vegetable garden, for their own needs, and timberland. Mr. Lawrence May was a stone cutter from Germany who performed his craft at the Trans-Allegheny Asylum for the Insane, now known as Weston State Hospital. The cellar house on the property was of cut stone with a wooden super structure on the top, which might represent a later development period because of the very distinctive gable end. Dr. Walker commented on the entertaining nominations and suggested a correction on page 7 in the first paragraph. Dr. Walker made the motion to approve the nomination and Ms. Zirk provided the second. Motion passed. As this concluded the presentations of the National Register nominations, Secretary Armstrong asked members to pass their voting sheets to him.
Continuing with New Business, Chairman Conte called for a report on History Day, noting the date, 16 February 2006. Ms. Stalnaker stated the necessity of a short meeting at the conclusion of the commission meeting to set a date for the sponsors to plan for the day. As it appeared not to be possible, other possible times were mentioned and she stated she would send an e-mail to schedule a meeting.
The next item was the Historic Preservation Annual Work Program, which Ms. Pierce had distributed earlier. It was noted that it was the same as distributed at the last meeting and as posted for public comment. The only change, as mentioned at the last meeting, was in the Certified Local Government program grant match. At the request of Chairman Conte, Dr. Arnett moved to approve the Annual Work Program as presented. Mr. Shock provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte called for Mr. Armstrong to present the three proposed, private-sponsor highway historic markers. Mr. Armstrong explained that the copy sent out prior to the meeting represented the compiled historical information on each, extracted for an inscription to make it as factual as the size of the marker permits. The Boone County Courthouse was placed on the National Register in 1981 by the commission. The Guyandotte Baptist Church marker was for the founding of the church, not the building, as it was not the original structure. He added that all the records and minutes books of the church have been compiled except for a few missing years, which includes the period of the Civil War. The sponsor of the marker is the church. The third marker is for the Town of Clendenin and George Clendenin. The inscription will have the history of the town on one side and a biographical sketch of George Clendenin and his role in the settlement of the Kanawha Valley on the other. After reviewing the process and cost and commenting on sponsor interest in these markers, he apologized to Ms. Brennan for not reporting to her earlier about the failure of the federal highway T-21 grant requesting funds for a marker refurbishing program. He noted they have been invited to resubmit the same application next year and planned to do so. Chairman Conte asked if there was any discussion on the marker requests. In reply to Dr. Bailey, Mr. Armstrong stated the draft provided was just that, it was not the final wording, as this had to be worked out with the manufacturer and the sponsors. What was provided had been verified as historically accurate, but the wording would have to be adjusted to fit the inscription space on the marker, with only so many characters permitted per line. Dr. Bailey moved to approve the three markers and Dr. Ledbetter provided the required second. Motion passed.
Chairman Conte announced that the winter meeting would be held in Glenville on Friday, 3 February 2006, with backup date being Friday, 10 February. Ms. Stalnaker would be making the arrangements. Ms. Pierce requested that the spring meeting be later than it was this past year, because the first week in May did not allow staff sufficient time to review and prepare the grants for presentation. After some discussion, it was decided to hold the spring meeting on Friday, 2 June, at Blennerhassett, Parkersburg, with backup date of Friday, 9 June.
Before adjourning, Ms. Pierce announced that Mr. Body had asked her to announce a project that he had initiated for the Eastern Panhandle. She and her staff have drafted a request for funding from the legislature to develop a preservation plan and an Eastern Panhandle office for the seven counties. They would be working on this during the next several weeks and have public meetings and presentations in these counties. She also announced that members might receive an invitation to attend a talk on 21 October at The Cultural Center given by Drs. W. Stephen McBride and Kim A. McBride on research and archaeological excavations relating to West Virginia's Revolutionary War era frontier fort defenses, for Archaeology Month. On 12 February 2006, in association with Black History Month, Ann Hagedorn, author of Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad, would be presenting a talk about the connection to Ripley, Ohio.
There being nothing further, Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 3:00 p.m.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Fredrick H. Armstrong
Archives and History Commission