Chairman Robert Conte called the meeting to order at 9:36 a.m. In addition to Dr. Conte, other voting members present were Jack Dickinson, Harold Forbes, Becky Frye, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Bill Richardson, Noel Tenney, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Hulse and Dr. Helene Jacobs. Ex officio voting member present was Fredrick Armstrong. Ex officio voting member absent was Dr. Bill Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Jeremy Morris. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Jennifer Brennan, Pam Brooks, and Erin Riebe; Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary, Department of Education and the Arts; and Martha McKee, Deputy Secretary, Department of Education and the Arts. Also in attendance was Mark Gorman of Ravenswood.
Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 1 October 2010. Mr. Geiger noted one minor correction, and a motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Ledbetter, with a second by Mr. Dickinson. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. He referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for September through December (copy attached to official minutes). In addition, he noted increased attendance at Archives and History workshops and lectures and the introduction of Facebook and YouTube pages. He also reviewed Archives and History sesquicentennial activities, including a timeline with primary sources, scanning of militia letters, photo exhibits, display of documents, a comprehensive bibliography, and other projects. He then discussed recent acquisitions and the processing of a number of collections. Mr. Geiger also reviewed the History Bowl competition, History Day, the conversion of electronic records to microfilm, and Records Management and Preservation Board activities. He closed his report by noting that Nancy Waggoner, who has been the contact person for the Archives and History Commission for many years, has announced her retirement.
Mr. Armstrong asked if Archives and History had considered converting some of their holdings to microfilm to save space. Mr. Geiger responded that they were considering ways to save space in this manner. Mr. Armstrong asked if Archives had considered putting annual reports on-line, and Mr. Geiger noted that Legislative Information was already doing this. Mr. Armstrong asked if Archives had taken in any Parks drawings since the last meeting and was informed they had not. Mr. Armstrong asked if there were still substantial monies in the Records Management and Preservation Board fund and if additional projects making use of these funds were being considered. Mr. Geiger responded that the board was considering several projects, including off-site storage and rebinding of books. In response to Mr. Armstrong's question about the membership of the RMPB and whether replacements for those no longer serving have been selected, Mr. Geiger stated that he was not aware of any replacements. Regarding Project Access funds and projects, Mr. Geiger informed Mr. Armstrong that personnel will be included in the projected budget, but it appears the Genealogical Society of Utah will not be charging for the conversion of microfilm to digital images. Mr. Armstrong noted the original project called for the digitization of births, deaths and marriages, and asked if approval had been given for the expansion of the project, and Mr. Geiger informed him the administrative section had obtained that approval. Mr. Armstrong asked if the legislative appropriations for markers had been used for new markers and was informed that the funds had only been used to refurbish or replace existing markers.
Chairman Conte then called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. She referred to the report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and talked about other activities, including staff vacancies. Ms. Pierce noted the addition of Jennifer Brennan, who is also the assistant director of Historic Preservation. She discussed completion of the annual report for the National Park Service, educational efforts, development grants, a Section 106 training workshop, presentations by Joseph McGill, the 2011 calendar, and sesquicentennial activities. She noted that staff was involved in scanning National Register nominations to place on the website and had conducted 900 reviews in the past four months. Ms. Pierce also mentioned that staff was working with the Cabell County Board of Education on the West Virginia Colored Children's Home and noted continued efforts on stimulus projects, including the Hardy County broadband project. Two scholarships were awarded for individuals to attend the National Trust for Historic Preservation Annual Conference. She also noted work conducted in conjunction with the Museums Section, such as the project at Independence Hall. The office was also consulting with the West Virginia General Services Division regarding human remains found in Logan.
In response to questions by Dr. Walker about the Coal House, Ms. Brennan said she had spoken with town officials, who want to save the building. Some changes to the roof may be made and planning is ongoing, but she had heard nothing further. Mr. Richardson gave a summary of damage, noting that the building is structurally intact but that it may take two years to get back to where it needs to be. Mr. Tenney inquired about development grants that were cancelled, whether this was a new set of grant applications or a continuation of those that were not funded in the first round. Ms. Pierce responded that the funds would go to a new set of grants, although Historic Preservation still had the ability to transfer funds to grant applications from the previous round. She also noted that this is the first time they have given new applicants an equal opportunity for grant funding.
Mr. Armstrong pointed out a mistake on the cover memo sent from the Historic Preservation section to commission members regarding the use of funds from cancelled grants for a second round of 2011 development grants. He then asked about the contract for the Central West Virginia survey project, and Ms. Pierce responded that the contract had been awarded to Skelly and Loy, which had initiated the work. In response to a question by Mr. Armstrong as to whether or not the Civil War booklet had been completed, Ms. Pierce stated the contract had been awarded to Stan Cohen who has submitted an outline and other additional information regarding what would be included in the booklet. In response to a question regarding US 35 mitigation, Ms. Pierce said her section continued to work with highways, and that two films regarding the history of that portion of the Kanawha Valley will be completed. Mr. Armstrong asked if the remains found in Logan County are human, and Ms. Pierce replied that the Smithsonian had determined they are prehistoric.
Chairman Conte then called upon Mr. Morris for the Museums report. He referred to his report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and spoke about current programming, including The Greenbrier exhibit on the second floor balcony of the Culture Center. Mr. Morris praised Chairman Conte's involvement in putting together the exhibit. He also noted other programs, including the National Guard exhibit, and mentioned he would be meeting with Homer Laughlin China representatives next week to discuss the March 31 opening of the exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Fiestaware. Mr. Morris reviewed programming at Culture and History sites and urged commission members to stop by Camp Washington-Carver to see the work that has been completed. Programs continue at Grave Creek and Independence Hall. At the latter, a theater room has been created, and a statehood image exhibit created by Archives and History soon will be on display. He also spoke about the Inspire Series for artists, a part of the sesquicentennial celebration, and other upcoming programs. Before Mr. Morris concluded his report, Chairman Conte praised the work of exhibits coordinator Betty Gay of the museum staff in putting together The Greenbrier exhibit.
Chairman Conte then called upon Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith for the Division of Culture and History report. He spoke about growing museum attendance and increased sales in the gift shop. The commissioner also discussed cleaning of the Culture Center and courtyards and noted the roof of Independence Hall was more damaged than expected. The final phase of the project at this site has been initiated and is expected to be completed by late summer or early fall.
At Camp Washington-Carver, bids for the new well had been put out and sprinklers are to be installed at the Chestnut Lodge. Other upgrades include ADA accessibility. The division is working with the Army Corps of Engineers on the final phases of the Jenkins Plantation. The security fence around the mound at Grave Creek is being replaced, and the commissioner noted he has submitted an improvement level request to complete exhibits there. He also mentioned the fellowship collaboration with West Virginia University, the sesquicentennial community grants program, Archives and History on-line exhibits, and History Bowl. Commissioner Reid-Smith also stated the Mylan Foundation provided a grant of $250,000 to use as matching funds for travel costs for schools to transport students to the State Capitol to see the museum. In regard to appointments, the commissioner stated the Governor's office was aware of board and commission vacancies. He also noted that Culture and History staff was currently working on thirty-one sesquicentennial programs and that advertisements had been created for the West Virginia Travel Guide.
Mr. Forbes stated he was impressed by the stunning array of opportunities provided by the variety of programs and questioned whether staff or the public would be fatigued from doing so many programs during a multi-year period. Commissioner Reid-Smith reviewed the activities and expressed his belief that they would not. Mr. Tenney stated that local historical societies and museums did not have a funding source for their programs. Commissioner Reid-Smith explained that IMLS grants were not like NEA grants and that the division could not get a chunk of money to pass on to local communities. He suggested applying for Cultural Facilities funds. Mr. Armstrong asked about the source of funds for the community grants and he was informed that the Sesquicentennial Commission approved $50,000 to create partnership grants and that this was the first year for the program. Mr. Armstrong asked if an increase in funds for 2012 was requested in the budget and was informed it was funded again with new monies. In reply to his question about the $300,000 in the budget for stimulus in 2011, Mr. Armstrong was informed that it was a one-time deal. He asked if the stimulus funds in the 2012 budget were a carryover from the 2011 budget. The commissioner responded that he was unsure but would check on it. Mr. Armstrong asked if the agency created hard copies of their annual report, and was informed that hard copies had been given to legislators at the finance hearings. Secretary Goodwin asked to speak and praised Commissioner Reid-Smith and noted he was well-received by legislators. Dr. Ledbetter noted he had received a brochure on African Americans from West Virginia, and Commissioner Reid-Smith stated Culture and History did not produce the brochure but has copies to distribute to the public.
Turning to Old Business, Ms. Riebe provided updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). Harpers Ferry additional information, West Union Historic District, and West Martinsburg Historic District have been listed. The New Deal State Parks Multiple Property Submission which included the cover document and four nominations is currently under review, and Winebrenner's Crossroads and Bullskin Run have been returned for revisions. Blair Mountain has not been completed; the attorney is still doing the property research and will hopefully be finished in the next few weeks. Mr. Richardson noted bulldozers were working in the area. Ms. Riebe said they were aware of the work, had called the National Park Service, and were informed it will not affect the nomination since it is such a small part of the ridgeline. Mr. Richardson asked if there was any way to suspend logging. Ms. Pierce responded there was nothing her office could do since it was not an activity that required a permit.
Turning to New Business, Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations.
Hook's Tavern, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion A, Transportation and Commerce, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being c. 1765; c. 1790; and c. 1848-c. 1870, was presented by Dr. Barbara Rasmussen (with Erin Riebe). Dr. Walker asked about plans for the building and was informed it had been sold. No major changes were planned for the building, but Ms. Riebe was not sure if the new owner wishes to take advantage of tax credits. Dr. Rasmussen noted the house was solid. Mr. Tenney asked if she could see the notching style, and she stated that they were half dovetail notches and that the chinking had probably been updated several times during its lifetime. Ms. Riebe noted that Mr. Armstrong had discovered a couple of errors that would be corrected. It was believed the building had been used as a tavern along the turnpike, but no connection to significance had been established so the date for transportation had been revised. Mr. Armstrong asked if any personal property tax records or tavern records exist, and Dr. Rasmussen said they exist but have not yet been checked. Mr. Armstrong asked if the nomination would be revised if information linking the building to an earlier connection was found and was informed by Ms. Riebe that it could be revised even after being listed. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Walker providing the required second. Motion carried.
North River Mills Historic District, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion A, Industry, Community Planning/Development, and Commerce, and Criterion C, Architecture, with period of significance being c. 1770-c. 1936, was presented by Dr. Barbara Rasmussen (with Erin Riebe). Ms. Frye pointed out a mistake in the nomination regarding the Civil War. Dr. Walker asked for clarification on the map identifying roads and the mill race, and Ms. Riebe said she could clarify it. Mr. Armstrong noted his support of the nomination; however, he wondered about the connection of the mills to the dates for the industry criterion. Dr. Rasmussen expressed her belief that the current remains may be second or third generation, and Ms. Riebe said she would add a few sentences to clarify the dates. Dr. Walker asked what a pole foundation is, and was informed early 20th-century barns were hung from corner posts and framework was built into the earth floor. Ms. Frye noted that the privies were from the same date, and commented that WPA projects to build these privies improved health in the Appalachian region. Mr. Richardson moved for approval of the nomination, with Dr. Ledbetter providing the required second. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte called upon Ms. Pierce for presentation of the FY2011 Survey and Planning Grants, which are federally funded. SHPO does not have its appropriation yet but will be required to set aside 10 percent of federal grant for the use of survey and planning grants to Certified Local Governments (CLGs). The staff recommended approval of $77,200 in grants to CLGs and approval of one non-CLG. Mr. Armstrong asked if Ronceverte had a commitment from CSX regarding the building and was informed they did. Mr. Armstrong moved to approve both the CLG grants and the non-CLG grant. Mr. Richardson seconded, and the motion was approved.
Chairman Conte called upon Ms. Pierce for presentation of the FY2011 midyear State Development Grants. Due to the cancellation of two grants, SHPO staff reviewed the previous round of grant applications to see if any of those projects would benefit from additional funding. Following that, SHPO advertised a second round of funding, and recommendations for additional grants were developed and provided to the commission. All additional funding has not been used. Mr. Tenney asked if this was going to be the standard approach and was informed it was not. Mr. Tenney expressed his belief that the commission had in the past approved the movement of funds, and Mr. Richardson stated the commission had discussed prioritization and determined they should give SHPO staff the latitude to make specific decisions. Mr. Armstrong compared the midyear list with the May 2010 list for duplication and noted only two duplicates from the original set. Mr. Forbes moved for approval of the State Development Grants as recommended by SHPO staff. Dr. Walker seconded, and the motion was approved.
Chairman Conte called upon Ms. Pierce for presentation of a Residential Historic Rehabilitation State Tax Credit Appeal for the Gorman Residence in Ravenswood. Ms. Pierce explained that, by Legislative Rule, SHPO reviews applications for residential tax credits. If an application is not approved by the office, the applicant has the right to appeal to the commission. Mr. Mark Gorman had been denied a residential tax credit and wished to appeal that decision to the Archives and History Commission. Ms. Brennan reviewed photographs of the property in question and explained that the tax credit application was for the completion of work on the basement of Mr. Gorman's house at 312 Walnut Street in Ravenswood. Mr. Gorman had initially submitted an application in 2008, for which he received a partial tax credit, but some of the work on the 2008 application was not completed, and a new tax credit application for the remaining work was required. The new application was received on December 16, 2010, but more information was requested of the owner. Ms. Brennan received the completed application on December 21, 2010, but requested photographs of the work, which were received on December 28, 2010. She looked at the 2008 application and noted there was no description of finishing the basement to make it a livable space. The question was whether there was subsequent work placing sealant on the walls of the basement. Wall sealant was not mentioned in the original 2008 application. She was concerned about the sealing of the sandstone foundation walls and the introduction of a new wall with a vapor barrier behind it. She requested a partial review from the National Park Service, which expressed similar concerns and suggested she obtain additional information on the type of sealant that was being used. She contacted Mr. Gorman and informed him the sealant, Portland cement, went against the standards for rehabilitation established by the Secretary of Interior. Mr. Gorman had also introduced drywall to the basement area, which also goes against these standards. The full extent of the work in Mr. Gorman's basement was not made clear to SHPO staff in the initial application. All work had been completed by the time Mr. Gorman submitted the second part of his application, which was the first time a full description of his plans was provided to staff. Ms. Brennan stated it was her professional opinion that the project as submitted by Mr. Gorman did not meet the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation, and that is why the tax credit was denied. She requested that the commission deny the appeal.
Mr. Gorman informed commission members that about half of the basement has been completed. He pointed out that if he had completed the project under the first application, he would not need approval, and that the second application he submitted was a duplicate of the first one. Ms. Pierce said he had been informed he had to submit a new application. Dr. Ledbetter stated it was not clear to him that the sealant was not allowed and questioned whether SHPO staff should have informed the applicant not to use Portland cement and offered alternatives. Ms. Pierce responded that Portland cement had been applied before SHPO was aware it was going to be used. Mr. Gorman noted that the wall had to be sealed to keep water from infiltrating into the house. Mr. Richardson stated his understanding of Mr. Gorman's dilemma but noted that, in order to receive a tax credit, rules have to be followed. Mr. Armstrong asked if former SHPO staff member Chris Knorr had visited the project site or had a direct conversation with him regarding the sealant. Mr. Gorman replied that he had numerous conversations with him but, in response to a question by Mr. Richardson, noted they had not spoken specifically about Portland cement.
Mr. Richardson asked if there was a possibility of accepting the partial work that had been done and was informed by Ms. Pierce that it is all or nothing. Mr. Richardson stated that the issue is whether or not Mr. Gorman's actions had been approved by Mr. Knorr in writing. Ms. Pierce explained that, in terms of the application process for taking a tax credit, the credit cannot be taken until the SHPO office approved the application. Mr. Gorman stated that the first application was approved, but Ms. Pierce responded that the second application was not. Mr. Gorman said he would like the SHPO office to share with him any study that supports the notion that the sealant is damaging, and Ms. Brennan said she could find such information, recalling that technical classes she had taken emphasized that Portland cement was never to be used for historic preservation projects. Mr. Richardson noted that Portland cement would keep water from getting into the room, but the water will then stay in the masonry area, which creates a long-term problem. Dr. Ledbetter asked if the commission could give Mr. Gorman an opportunity to provide written proof that he had been instructed that the use of Portland cement was approved by SHPO. Ms. Pierce explained that the incomplete work from the first application was submitted in a new application, the sealant was identified at that time, and it is the responsibility of the existing SHPO staff to determine whether the activity is appropriate. She stated it was her understanding that Mr. Gorman had taken a credit for work that he finished, and Mr. Gorman stated he took a credit for 65 to 70 percent of the work under the first application. He was asking for a tax credit on the additional work, which is what SHPO denied.
Dr. Ledbetter moved to table the item until the June meeting to give Mr. Gorman an opportunity to gather written documentation that he was given authority by the previous tax credit coordinator to use that specific sealant. Mr. Gorman said he could not provide any written documentation giving him authority. Dr. Ledbetter then withdrew his motion.
Mr. Dickinson moved to uphold the decision of the State Historic Preservation Office in denying the tax credit. Ms. Frye seconded the motion. Motion approved. Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Tenney abstained. Mr. Gorman requested a show of hands which showed Mr. Forbes, Mr. Richardson, Dr. Ledbetter, Mr. Dickinson, Chairman Conte, Dr. Walker and Ms. Frye in favor of the motion. There were no votes opposing the motion. Mr. Gorman asked if further appeal was possible and was informed he could appeal to Circuit Court.
Chairman Conte appointed Mr. Dickinson and Dr. Walker to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will present the suggested slate of officers (Chair and Vice Chair) at the Spring meeting.
Chairman Conte advised members of the Spring meeting, to be held on Friday, 3 June 2011, in Charles Town, and the Fall meeting, tentatively to be held on 30 September in Petersburg. The Winter 2012 meeting will be held on January 27 or February 3, the location to be determined.
Dr. Ledbetter asked for and was granted permission to assume the chair. He then recognized Noel Tenney, who made a motion to express the gratitude of Commission members to Chairman Conte for his work in arranging lodging, food and amenities for the meeting. Mr. Richardson provided the second, and the motion was approved. Chairman Conte then assumed the chair again.
Mr. Tenney made a motion to adjourn, and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 2:14 p.m.
Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Archives and History Commission