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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
WINTER MEETING
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015
THE COUNTRY INN
BERKELEY SPRINGS, WEST VIRGINIA

Chairman Harold Forbes called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m. In addition to Mr. Forbes, other voting members present were Dr. Robert Conte, Victor Greco, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Rebecca Frye, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Bill Richardson, and Noel Tenney. Ex officio voting members present were Fredrick Armstrong and Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director, Archives and History Section; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; and Sandra Scaffidi, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Ex officio non-voting members absent were Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; and Randall-Reid Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present was Historic Preservation staff member Pam Brooks.

Chairman Forbes noted the presence of several guests, including Susan Webster, the mayor of Berkeley Springs, who thanked the commission for meeting in the community.

Following introductions, Chairman Forbes asked for a motion to adopt the agenda. Mr. Greco made a motion to adopt the agenda and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried.

Chairman Forbes then asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 25 September 2014. Mr. Armstrong asked whether property research was being done by the attorney generalís office and Ms. Brooks stated that they did work on counting the property owners. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Armstrong, with a second by Dr. Arnett. The minutes were approved.

Chairman Forbes called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. Mr. Geiger referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for July through November 2014 (copies attached to official minutes) and the sectionís annual report and then reviewed recent activities. He informed the commission that History Bowl regional tournaments were about to begin and encouraged members to attend a competition in their area. History Day will be held on February 19 and about seventy groups are expected to attend. Geiger noted Archives and History and the Mining Your History Foundation will host the fall conference of the Virginia Genealogical Society. He also mentioned that processing of the Norman family collection had been completed and that work on processing other collections continued. The 2015 Archives and History lecture series will feature 25 lectures, including a continuation of the Block Lecture Series. Some staff members were working on digitizing oversized documents such as maps, militia muster rolls and panoramic photographs, while work on electronic records and RMPB grants continues.

In the absence of Susan Pierce, no Historic Preservation report was given, although a written report was submitted to members (copy attached to official minutes).

In the absence of Charles Morris, no Museums report was given, although a written report was submitted to members (copy attached to official minutes).

Turning to Old Business, Ms. Brooks distributed a sheet with updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). All of the properties presented at the Fall 2014 meeting had been listed in the National Register on December 16, 2014, with the exception of Gap Valley Historic District, which was not listed due to owner objection but was officially determined eligible for listing on December 30.

Turning to New Business, Chairman Forbes called for the presentation of the National Register nominations.

Dunbar School, Marion County, nominated under Criterion A, Ethnic Heritage (Black) and Criterion A, Education, with period of significance being 1928-1956, was presented by Sandra Scaffidi. In response to Dr. Hohnís question regarding the use of the building, Ms. Scaffidi stated that some of the building was being rented, a community library was located on the first floor, and events were held in the building celebrating the school and the community. Dr. Hohn noted that it was good to see that the school is being used. Mr. Armstrong asked if the Dunbar School Foundation was in ownership of the building and the president of the organization, Houston Richardson, confirmed that it was. Mr. Armstrong was looking for evidence in the nomination for vocational education and believed additions were needed to clarify. He stated that the school had been nominated for ethnic heritage in Marion County and for education and he wanted more in the nomination on curriculum and analysis supporting these two areas. Foundation member Charlotte Meade gave a brief history of the school, which housed grades 1-12 and was built at the same time as Fairmont Senior. She noted a lot of repetition in the schools and added that at Dunbar, a portable building in the rear of the school was used for band and woodshop classes.

Mr. Greco moved for approval of the nomination with the additions suggested by Mr. Armstrong to reinforce the education and ethnic heritage significance of the school. Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried. Mr. Armstrong noted he would like to see the revisions before they were submitted and the commission members stated they would all like to see the revisions.

Riverside Iron Works Office Building, Ohio County, nominated under Criterion A, Industry, and Criterion B, Industry (Frank J. Hearne), with period of significance being 1896-1899, was presented by Rebekah Karelis. Mr. Armstrong asked if National Tube bought the building when they purchased the iron works and was informed they took over all Riverside operations in Wheeling. Ms. Karelis pointed out that the building was the only site in Wheeling associated with Frank J. Hearneís steel-making career. Mr. Armstrong pointed out that he had already made his primary contributions to the steel industry prior to the construction of this building, but Ms. Karelis read an extract from a National Register bulletin that indicated the structure was still significant enough to be eligible. Dr. Conte moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Walker provided the second. Motion carried. Mr. Greco abstained.

Ms. Brooks presented the FY2015 Survey and Planning Grants and noted conditions on several of the grants. Dr. Conte moved to approve the staff recommendations for the FY2015 Survey and Planning Grants. Mr. Greco seconded, and the motion passed.

Ms. Brooks then presented the second round of FY2015 State Development Grant applications. The grants review panel made a list of recommendations which was presented to the commission. Chairman Forbes asked questions about scoring grants, and Dr. Hohn explained differences in panel members and their scoring tendencies but noted they eventually reached consensus in their final results. Mr. Armstrong wished to know why some panel members gave projects a zero score and Dr. Hohn replied that they had recused themselves. Mr. Greco suggested that something be used in place of a zero to mark abstentions. Mr. Armstrong stated he believed the priorities should be roofs and foundations, and he disagreed with some of the panelís prioritizations. Mr. Greco pointed out that another part of a building, such as a marquee, might be a part of the entrance and could need repairs to ensure safety. Mr. Armstrong also requested that notes from the panel meetings be provided to commission members.

Mr. Greco made a motion to accept the staff recommendations for the second round of FY2015 State Development Grant awards with the exception of Blue Sulphur, which will be considered separately, 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. Dr. Arnett seconded. Motion passed, with Mr. Armstrong opposed.

Dr. Walker made a motion to accept the staff recommendation for Blue Sulphur and Dr. Conte provided the second. Motion passed, with Mr. Greco abstaining.

Chairman Forbes appointed Mr. Greco, Mr. Richardson, and Dr. Ledbetter to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will present a suggested slate of officers (Chair and Vice Chair) at the Spring meeting.

Chairman Forbes informed members that he had spoken with Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, who informed him that the governorís office is making appointments to the Archives and History Commission.

Chairman Forbes noted that the Spring meeting is scheduled to be held in Parkersburg on May 29, with June 5 as a backup date. The Fall meeting will be held in southern West Virginia on September 25, with October 2 as a backup date.

Dr. Arnett made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Forbes declared the meeting adjourned at 11:48 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History