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MINUTES
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION MEETING
FRIDAY, 16 MAY 2008
THE CLARION HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTER
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA

Chairman Bob Conte called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. In addition to Conte, other voting members present were Harold Forbes, Becky Frye, Dr. Helene Jacobs, Bill Richardson, Amy Haden Sorrells, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Hulse, and Dr. Charles Ledbetter. Ex officio voting member present was Michael Shock, president, West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio voting member absent was Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, acting director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; and Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation. As president to Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Conte also holds an ex officio non-voting seat. Ex officio non-voting members absent were Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, and Adam Hodges, director, Museums Section. Culture and History staff members present were Erin Riebe, Bryan Ward, and Kelly Wilson.

Following introductions, Chairman Conte called for a motion for approval of the 22 February 2008 meeting minutes. Susan Pierce stated she had a few corrections: She stated that she would not have said “reciprocal” grant application as recorded on Page 5, fourth line down, and that Historic Preservation is required to have an “annual” grant application. She also referred to a few other items, but these were found to be correct in the minutes. A motion to accept the minutes with corrections was made by Amy Haden Sorrells and seconded by Bill Arnett. Motion carried. Noel Tenney asked for clarification on the top of Page 6 with regard to the wording that says Dr. Barbara Rasmussen was going to forward the Blair Mountain nomination on to the Keeper. Susan Pierce and Erin Riebe explained the regulations, and Ms. Pierce stated that, in this case, the nomination went through the process, the commission did not approve it, and Dr. Rasmussen requested it back. Ms. Riebe stated that if someone did appeal directly to the Keeper, it would be sent back to Historic Preservation staff who would be told to process it. Mr. Tenney asked if the Archives and History Commission had a role if their decision could be overruled. Ms. Pierce assured members that they have a purpose, and that the Keeper will look at how their decision was made. A motion to accept the minutes, with corrections, was made by Amy Haden Sorrells and seconded by Joan Walker. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte called upon Joe Geiger for the Archives and History report. He advised members that, in addition to activities in the previously mailed reports for the months of February and March (copies attached to official minutes), the April and May activities consisted of continuous support to the museum through the reproduction of photographs and audio visual materials, which is nearing an end; work on a documentary on Ken Hechler which premiered at Marshall University; and work on new and replacement highway historic markers, as well as discussions and an agreement with the Division of Highways regarding installation of markers. Hoot Owl had 58 participants, and next year another day will probably be added. Mr. Geiger also reported on Records Management grants activities, removal of names from the Veterans Memorial, and microfilm cameras and work. Chairman Conte asked Mr. Geiger if he had understood correctly that the DOH will install 100 highway historic markers, to which Mr. Geiger replied that it is the starting point and he hopes they will continue. He also confirmed with Chairman Conte that there are more than 1,000 names that need to be added to the Veterans Memorial. There being no further questions or comments, Chairman Conte called upon Susan Pierce to present the Historic Preservation report.

Ms. Pierce began by distributing copies of the report summary to members (copy attached to official minutes), as well as a copy of a staff list showing a few new additions (copy attached to official minutes). She discussed the draft Annual Work Program (copy attached to official minutes) previously mailed to members and pointed out that at today’s meeting, when development grants are being reviewed, members will be following the selection criteria that they approved last fall in the Annual Work Program.

Ms. Pierce highlighted a few items from her report. They are still awaiting notice from DOH to proceed with their transportation enhancement grant. Tomorrow the staff will lead a Landmark Commission Workshop in Shepherdstown; Ms. Pierce invited members to attend. Erin Riebe has been discussing various issues with the National Register staff in Washington, D.C., and the new reviewer, Barbara Wyatt, has offered to provide a training session to the Archives and History Commission. Ms. Riebe asked if commission members would let her know if they are interested in doing this, possibly before the next meeting on Friday, 3 October, or the following meeting in January 2009. Concluding her report, Susan Pierce reported on the Section 106 letters that had gone out, assistance on Capitol Building issues, in particular Holly Grove and Building 3, and tax credit projects. Chairman Conte commented that the training session is interesting and asked if commission members needed to give the go-ahead to do this. Ms. Riebe said she would check with Ms. Wyatt and see if it is possible and then get back to commission members. Chairman Conte called for the Museums report.

Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith presented the Capitol Building Commission report first. After informing members about recent actions, the commissioner advised them that, under the Capitol Campus Master Plan, in the next five years there are going to be massive renovations on the Capitol Complex. In answer to an inquiry from Chairman Conte, the commissioner stated that the marble on the first floor will be restored as it used to be. Amy Sorrells asked, if extensive renovations are being undertaken within the Capitol Complex, whether there are guidelines that the CBC follows with respect to historic properties. Commissioner Reid-Smith said he listens to Historic Preservation, and Susan Pierce noted that there has been some discussion by the commission in the past on developing specific guidelines for the Capitol Building, but that has not occurred. She further stated that there are no specific guidelines set for buildings on the campus. Ms. Sorrells commented that it might be a good idea in terms of prospective planning to put those guidelines officially in place with extensive renovations proposed in the future. Commissioner Reid-Smith offered to bring this up at the next CBC meeting and to suggest guidelines.

In the absence of Adam Hodges, Museums director, the commissioner distributed the Museums report (copy attached to official minutes). After noting several exhibits, he spoke on the State Museum. The seventeenth week of construction has just been completed, and the fabrication bid came in at $6,070,000, which is less than the estimated $8.8 million. Work is currently being done on the Assisted Learning Component of the museum. He informed members that the estimated date of completion, according to the fabrication contractor, is mid-April 2009.

Moving on to the division sites, Commissioner Reid-Smith announced that $1,000,000 was received from the governor and the legislature to redo all of West Virginia Independence Hall. He reported on the grand opening in Moundsville of the Archaeological Research Center and spoke to the space saver system. He advised members that while at WVIH and Grave Creek, the governor decided there would no longer be an admission charge. Commissioner Reid-Smith announced that there would be an evening reception at Chief Logan State Park on May 27th, the site’s fifth anniversary.

Regarding Jenkins Plantation, with support from Congressman Rahall, an appropriation was received and the Army Corps of Engineers is going to tear off the addition that was not part of the original house. The $1.8 million project, estimated to begin June 1, will run about eighteen months, during which time the site will be closed, and will consist of shoring up the foundation and possibly adding another building that will be used for education. City water is coming to Camp Washington-Carver, one of the bath houses is being redone, and under a “Save America’s Treasures” grant the Chestnut Lodge is being looked at for a renewed scope of work.

Commissioner Reid-Smith spoke about several Historic Preservation activities: receipt of a $200,000 supplemental GIS mapping system and $105,000 more in grant money from the legislators and the governor; his plan to ask for more money for Historic Preservation development grants, with a goal of getting one million dollars; the next Historic Preservation calendar; and Historic Preservation Month. He referred to the RMPB ceremony, the contract awarded to the highway historic marker sole source provider, Sewah Studios, and informed members that Cabinet Secretary Kay Goodwin provided $5,000 for the purchase of twenty map cabinets for Archives storage of the Civilian Conservation Corps collection of drawings from the Division of Natural Resources.

Speaking to the 2009 Budget Improvement Levels, Commissioner Reid-Smith recapped that $200,000 was received by Historic Preservation for the GIS mapping system, $1,000,000 for WVIH, $150,000 for Historic Preservation, and $375,000 every year to be added to the budget for utilities. With regard to 2010 Budget Improvement Levels, the division is asking for $750,000 for Historic Preservation grants and a space saver for the museum, and he would like an increase in programming money. The commissioner then asked for input from members interested in helping establish a fund for cemeteries, noting that they would like to fund projects through genealogical or historical societies who do volunteer work in their communities, and adding that he has support for this from about fifteen legislators.

The division is looking at turning the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater, which will always be used as a theater, into a multi-media center, to get more people into the agency. Commissioner Reid-Smith also reported on other potential programs, including activities related to the sesquicentennial. He stated that a series of coffee table books is being considered and indicated the subject matter of each section’s book.

Bill Richardson offered two suggestions for consideration: (1) a coffee table book about some of the art in the division’s collection, to which the commissioner responded that in the new museum there will be a Painting Gallery and more of the artwork will be displayed than at present, adding that there is talk about doing a book, as next year is the 30th anniversary of the West Virginia Juried Exhibit; and (2) with regard to graveyards, Mr. Richardson suggested that a master priority list be created which could be taken to the legislators, pointing out to them which ones are in each of their districts.

Commissioner Reid-Smith informed members that the Division of Culture and History has had about $25,000,000 worth of projects going on in the last twenty-two months and that over $19,000,000 is real money acquired during his 23-month tenure. He commented on the work done on the Veterans Memorial and the installation of a fire suppression system in the Cultural Center. Noel Tenney recalled the commissioner mentioning the concept of a re-granting program for Museum programming at a previous meeting, to which the commissioner responded that the division will receive $1,000,000 every year. He spoke to community development projects and noted that the third funding would be for genealogy, history and museum societies. He guessed the cemetery funding would be the fourth source and thinks it should be under Historic Preservation because it is history and there is already the ability to grant. In closing, he asked for the e-mail addresses of members and stated he would appreciate their support in sending letters to their legislators with regard to the need for $750,000 being asked for 2010-2011.

Chairman Conte commented that he thought the commission scheduled the winter meeting centered around Moundsville and WVIH. There was some brief discussion on this, but nothing decided. He then asked if there has been any word from the governor regarding commission appointments, as there are two vacancies, to which Commissioner Reid-Smith replied there has been no movement since the last time he spoke with the commission. The commissioner assured members that the division has not run out of money for the museum project, that everything is paid for to this point, including the fabrication, and that there is still $4,927,683, which will all be for the Assisted Learning and Education components. Before leaving, the commissioner stated the division would like to work more closely on the next History Day, and noted some dissatisfaction with this year’s History Day that he would like to have corrected for the next one. In closing, he said that if anyone had any ideas for History Day 2009, they needed to let Joe Geiger know.

Chairman Conte called for New Business and Susan Pierce distributed voting sheets to members. Chairman Conte informed members that there would be nine National Register nominations, all out of Berkeley County, to be presented by David Taylor. Mr. Taylor informed members that, from this project of Berkeley County properties, there would be four others presented at the October meeting in Huntington. He noted that one property being presented today straddles the Jefferson/Berkeley County line.

The first nomination, William Good Stone House and Cellar, Martinsburg vicinity, was presented under Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1819, which corresponds with the construction date of the building. There are two contributing buildings on the site, the stone house itself and a cellar beside it. Currently used for storage, the house could have been a slave house. A motion to approve the nomination was made by Joan Walker and seconded by Noel Tenney. Motion carried.

The second nomination, Davis-Keesecker House, Hedgesville, was presented under Criterion A, exploration and settlement, and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1770, c. 1822, and c. 1900. The property occupies a five-acre tract which consists of three contributing buildings, one non-contributing building (a shed), and a non-contributing structure (an inground swimming pool). Bill Richardson questioned using Criterion A, stating that there needed to be something specific if it was going to be listed under that criterion. Dr. Walker commented on the contributing buildings, which were not discussed, and asked for some discussion in the nomination and some written documentation as to why the buildings are considered contributing. Susan Pierce and Bill Richardson thought members should table the nomination and Amy Sorrells agreed. Following much discussion, Erin Riebe explained to members that they are voting on whether the nomination, as written, justifies listing. A motion was made by Bill Richardson to “table” the nomination until recommendations have been followed and brought before the commission at the next meeting. Joan Walker seconded. Members voted in the affirmative to consider removal and/or justification and were advised by Susan Pierce to note “tabled” in the comment section of the voting form.

The third nomination, John William Deck House, VanClevesville, was presented under Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being 1866-1957. On the twenty-nine acres, there are five contributing buildings. Joan Walker questioned the contributing buildings, the 1957 garage included, noting that if these buildings are added there needs to be discussion, justification, and photographs of the buildings in the written documents, as indicated under Section 8. Harold Forbes and Susan Pierce addressed the inclusion of the agricultural fields, with Ms. Pierce asking how the agricultural fields justify a nomination under Criterion C only. Mr. Taylor explained the historical association with the farmstead. Erin Riebe explained how NR boundaries are drawn, based on area of significance and integrity. For a listing under agriculture, the acres historically associated with the property would be looked at regardless of current ownership. In answer to a question from Amy Sorrells, Ms. Riebe explained the seven aspects of integrity and noted the nomination should have most of the seven aspects, the aspects depending upon the criteria under which the nomination is being listed. Ms. Sorrells stated she felt the boundary lines are too extensive and not justified and also noted the number of historic resources, stating there needs to be consistency in the rules with regard to context. In response to the possibility of adding agriculture, Bill Richardson suggested going with Criterion C only and reducing the boundaries. Joan Walker asked that a photo be included of any contributing building. Erin Riebe, for clarification purposes, noted that there needs to be a photograph of the land/contributing buildings and the significance of adding agriculture. Joan Walker made a motion to “table” the nomination for modification and it was seconded by Bill Richardson. Motion carried.

The fourth nomination, Winebrenner’s Crossroads Historic District, Martinsburg vicinity, was nominated under Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1855-1958. On the 125-acre property, there are sixteen contributing buildings, one contributing structure covered by the roadways in the district, and seven non-contributing buildings. Discussion focused on the inclusion of a road as a contributing resource, with Joan Walker commenting that the roads and their arrangement do contribute to the entire integrity of the whole setting, as they were agriculturally based at one point in time and grew along with all the other properties. Mr. Richardson agreed that being a crossroads is significant and part of the district. Following further discussion and an explanation by Erin Riebe as to what is defined as contributing and non-contributing, a motion was made by Joan Walker to accept the nomination and seconded by Helene Jacobs. Motion carried.

The fifth nomination, Mount Pleasant School, Gerrardstown vicinity, was presented under Criterion A for education and ethnic heritage (African American) and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1897-1939. The school was built by the residents in 1897 and had been converted for use as a church. There is one contributing building; however, access to the interior for photos had not been possible. Mr. Taylor confirmed with Ms. Riebe that no letters of rejection had been received with regard to this nomination. Noel Tenney commented that he had recently toured the one-room school/church, which was very charming, and advised Mr. Taylor that it is now possible to access the building for interior photos. Mr. Taylor stated he would get photos before the nomination goes to the Keeper of the National Register. A motion for approval was made by Noel Tenney and seconded by Bill Richardson. Motion carried.

The sixth nomination, Pack Horse Road and Stone Bridge, Hedgesville vicinity, was presented under Criterion A for exploration and settlement and for transportation, with the period of significance being c. 1727-c. 1916. The nomination, with one contributing structure, two non-contributing buildings, and two contributing sites, consists of eighty acres that encompass the historic road. Mr. Taylor reminded members that the area being nominated is the acreage that goes with the property now, the roadway, the associated bridge, and the two older houses, but not the newer houses on the site. Joan Walker pointed out some inconsistencies, including the mention of “allegedly” the Native American trail. Becky Frye questioned the date for the stone bridge, and Mr. Taylor noted there was a typo. Noting there are old roads everywhere, Harold Forbes asked what makes this one particularly significant, to which Mr. Taylor stated Pack Horse Road is a very important road, much of which is gone through new highway construction. Joan Walker and Bill Richardson objected to the nomination in general, there not being enough evidence to support it, and Amy Sorrells commented both on the insufficient historical evidence and on the lack of integrity. In reply to Mr. Taylor’s question as to whether it should come back as an archaeological nomination, Mr. Richardson stated he did not think that necessary but indicated there may be a need for more archaeological evidence. Joan Walker asked about documentation on the bridge, to which Mr. Taylor responded that he had never seen anything on it. Susan Pierce suggested the need for more investigation and documentation and a study before approval of the nomination. She also suggested that the historic landmark commission could ask for some funding to do some additional testing and come back with a revised nomination with archaeology. Joan Walker stated, as this is in the vicinity of her house, she would be willing to participate in a study. Bill Richardson made a motion to not approve the nomination at this time and suggested that more archaeological and textual evidence be presented. Harold Forbes provided the second. Motion carried.

Chairman Conte adjourned the meeting for lunch, after which the meeting reconvened and the remaining three National Register nominations were presented. The seventh nomination, Orndoff-Cross House, Martinsburg vicinity, was presented under Criterion A for exploration and settlement and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1796-c. 1950. The 11-acre property consists of five contributing buildings, an early log house built c. 1796, with a series of additions; one non-contributing building; and a contributing site, the agricultural fields. Erin Reibe noted a mistake in the staff comments sheet, which should not read “Deck House.” Questions were raised about the agricultural fields, the significance of some of the outbuildings, and nomination under Criterion A for exploration and settlement. Amy Sorrells stated that the boundaries should be narrowed or the criteria expanded to include agriculture. A motion to approve the nomination was made by Joan Walker and seconded by Helene Jacobs. Motion failed. Amy Sorrells stated the nomination should be tabled and be amended to add an agricultural component and to drop exploration and settlement. Amy Sorrells moved to table the nomination until the next meeting; Bill Richardson seconded; motion carried.

The eighth nomination, George Schlack House, Ridgeway vicinity, was presented under Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1913, the date of construction. A motion to approve was made by Joan Walker and seconded by Michael Shock. Motion carried.

The ninth and final nomination, the Thornburgh-Chenoweth-Pitzer House and Farm, Arden vicinity, was presented under Criterion A for agriculture and Criterion C for architecture, with the period of significance being c. 1750-1958. The 65-acre property consists of six contributing buildings and one contributing site, the farm, which was tied very closely to Berkeley County’s apple harvesting heritage. Amy Sorrells made a motion to approve; the second was provided by Harold Forbes; motion carried.

The next order of business was the Preserve America Mini-Grant program. Susan Pierce explained that if the commission approves the program, Historic Preservation will publish the availability of the grants, with approximately $52,000 available for 50/50 matching grants, and the commission may see them at the fall or winter meeting. Discussion ensued with Noel Tenney asking several questions about eligibility and criteria. Erin Riebe advised the commission this is a two-year grant. Suggesting the commission go forward with this as a pilot project, Amy Sorrells moved to approve; Joan Walker provided the second; motion carried.

The commission next took up the state development grants. Susan Pierce explained how the grants are scored and the guidelines used in recommending recipients. Amy Sorrells and Chairman Conte asked about guidelines and priorities, and Bill Richardson suggested including benefit to the community as a priority. Chairman Conte proposed separating out 09-060 Blockhouse, because of a conflict with Becky Frye, and voting on all the other ones as a group, with Ms. Frye not participating in the vote on the Blockhouse. Ms. Sorrells requested Ms. Frye abstain on the entire vote, and Ms. Frye and the commission agreed that she would abstain from voting. Mr. Geiger inquired if there was a quorum to vote without Ms. Frye, and it was determined there was. Bill Richardson moved to approve the staff recommendations with the provision authorizing staff to move funds from cancelled projects or projects unable to use all available funding to the next project in order of priority or to increase funding to an approved project needing additional funds. Amy Sorrells seconded. Motion carried with Becky Frye abstaining.

The next order of business was the report of the nominating committee comprised of Bill Arnett and Harold Forbes. Mr. Forbes spoke to the requirements of the bylaws and reported Dr. Robert Conte for chairperson and Dr. Charles Ledbetter for vice-chairperson as the committee’s nominations. Dr. Conte inquired if there were any objections or any other nominations. There being none, the commission voted all in favor.

Moving on to highway historical marker applications, Joe Geiger presented two applications, Don Redman and The Vandalia Cemetery. Chairman Conte asked for a motion to approve the two marker applications. Harold Forbes moved to approve; seconded by Michael Shock; motion approved.

The final order of business was upcoming meeting dates. The fall meeting will be in Huntington on Friday, 3 October 2008 (Archives and History will be hosting). Members discussed setting a date for the winter meeting (Historic Preservation will be hosting) in the Northern Panhandle, either at West Virginia Independence Hall or in Moundsville, possibly at Grave Creek, at the end of January or early in February. The date will be set at the fall meeting after Susan Pierce researches where it will be held, with Friday, 30 January 2009, as the tentative date and the following Friday, 6 February 2009, as the snow date. As this concluded the business of the commission, Bill Richardson moved to adjourn and Joan Walker seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Joe Geiger, Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History