Skip Navigation

MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
FALL MEETING
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
NORTH BEND STATE PARK
CAIRO, WEST VIRGINIA

Chairman Harold Forbes called the meeting to order at 9:36 a.m. In addition to Mr. Forbes, other voting members present were Tommy Bailey, Dr. Melissa Bingmann, Nat DeBruin, Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Dr. Billy Joe Peyton, and Alison Thornton. Voting members absent were Dr. Robert Conte, Rebecca Frye, Nathan Randolph, Dr. Joan Walker, and Keven Walker. 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; Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; and Sandra Scaffidi, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present was Historic Preservation staff member Jeff Smith.

Chairman Forbes asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 3 June 2016. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Ledbetter, with a second by Dr. Arnett. The minutes were approved with Mr. Armstrong abstaining.

Chairman Forbes then called for a motion to approve the agenda. He asked that a discussion on his letter to the legislature be added to Old Business, and that Mr. Geiger discuss the new travel authorization form under New Business. Mr. Greco made a motion to approve the agenda as amended, with a second by Dr. Peyton. The motion was 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 April through August 2016 and the Archives and History annual report (copies attached to official minutes) and then reviewed recent activities. He informed members that the Archives and History Library had been featured as a stop on the Civil War Exchange tour of the Friendship Force, and that he and Terry Lowry had delivered lectures to the group of thirty persons. Two presentations were delivered in the library in September and the Mining Your History Foundation will hold its annual meeting in the library on October 22. Geiger noted that the inscriptions for the second set of forty sesquicentennial highway historical markers had been completed and stated they would be ordered in October. Efforts to establish an electronic records program continued, as copies were made from original records, checksums were run, and metadata was captured.

Mr. Armstrong asked about records transferred from the House of Delegates and Geiger responded that most of these materials were state documents. He noted they are working with the Senate clerk’s office on introduced and enrolled bills but that none had been sent to the State Archives. Mr. Armstrong also inquired about issues relating to the website and electronic records. Geiger explained that the agency was updating their website and that Archives and History would wait until this was completed before changing any existing files. He also noted that Archives was working with the Office of Technology on the permanent preservation of electronic records.

Mr. Armstrong asked about work on state records and Geiger noted that Jennelle Jones was serving as the state records administrator and had taken several steps, including the designation of agency records managers and the development of a SharePoint website, to improve state records management practices. Geiger pointed out that many state agencies were digitizing and disposing of paper records but were not planning to destroy the electronic records when the retention period had been reached. This could lead to the utilization of resources to preserve records that could be destroyed.

Mr. Armstrong stated that the microfilm machines in the Archives and History Library were dated, and Geiger replied that a request for two microfilm scanners had been submitted in June but they had not yet been received. Four additional machines will be ordered if the initial microfilm scanners are deemed acceptable. In response to Mr. Armstrong’s inquiry as to whether or not the current budget was sufficient to meet all technology needs, Geiger stated he was uncertain. Chairman Forbes expressed his gratitude to the Archives and History section for their hard work and many accomplishments.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Susan Pierce, who, in the absence of Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, summarized some recent activities at the Division of Culture and History. She mentioned that the VH-1 program had completed the distribution of band instruments to at least one school in every county. She noted that the Marching Band Invitational will be held on October 15 and an Arts in Our Communities conference will be December 13-14. Pierce informed members that waterproofing the sides of the Culture Center continues and noted that the Goldenseal issue commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Historic Preservation Act had been moved back because of a special issue on the flooding in West Virginia.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Susan Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minute) and reviewed section activities. She mentioned the addition of two employees and reviewed recent staff training and travel, and she noted the FY2017 development grant orientation had been held on August 31. The 2017 HP calendar is completed and being shipped, and on October 16 an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 will be held at the Culture Center. Staff completed a great deal of review and compliance activity, and developed a draft of the 2017 Annual Work Program, copies of which were sent to Certified Local Governments for comment.

In response to Ms. Pierce’s observation that the Elkins Coal and Coke site, a National Historic Landmark, had been destroyed, Dr. Peyton related that it was the last operating beehive coke oven facility and the first documented on film by the National Park Service. Mr. Armstrong asked what caused the damage at that site, and Ms. Pierce responded it was on private property and there was nothing to prevent the owner from destroying the site. Mr. Armstrong asked about the Beckley Courthouse Square Historic District, and Ms. Pierce noted districts could be de-listed. Mr. Greco stated that in Wheeling, building permit applications for work on historic structures are routed to the landmarks commission, which reviews the proposed changes, although painting does not require a building permit.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Charles Morris for the Museums report. Mr. Morris provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) and reviewed section activities. He noted the opening of a new exhibit, “Buried Past,” at Grave Creek, and design of a new exhibit at the Culture Center for the 80th anniversary of Fiesta Dinnerware. Work continued on a Hatfield-related exhibit at Museum in the Park and the String Band Festival was a success. Morris added that lesson plans for K-5 developed by the Museums education section had recently been placed on-line. Mr. Armstrong asked about the activities of the Independence Hall Foundation noted in the Museums report and was informed that the exhibit had been created by the Foundation using materials from private collections. Mr. Armstrong asked about progress on the upgrade of the collections storage system. Morris responded that they were working with Purchasing to complete the project, and that much of the shelving had been installed. Mr. Armstrong asked about purchasing practices for sites and was informed that the agency had reduced the number of purchasing cards for better oversight of expenditures.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Ms. Scaffidi for the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia report. Ms. Scaffidi noted the success of the PAWV conference and expressed her gratitude for support from the SHPO office. She stated that the AmeriCorps program was thriving and that they currently have two openings. Ms. Scaffidi also mentioned efforts to increase the state tax credit to 25%.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Dr. Hohn for the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey report. Dr. Hohn gave a detailed presentation on the history of this agency and reviewed the work done by his office.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Dr. Arnett for the West Virginia Historical Association report. Dr. Arnett reported that the organization was not active at present.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Mr. Armstrong for the West Virginia Historical Society report. Mr. Armstrong reviewed the formation and history of the historical society and noted the publication of a historical journal and the organization’s support for History Day.

Turning to Old Business, Chairman Forbes called for an update on previous National Register nominations. Mr. Smith informed members that no nominations had been presented at the Spring meeting; therefore, there were no updates to report.

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

Feagans’ Mill, Jefferson County, nominated under Criterion A, Industry/Processing, and Criterion C, Engineering, with period of significance being 1940-1943, was presented by John Demer. Following the presentation, Dr. Bingmann stated she believed it was an excellent and worthy nomination but asked why the period was confined to 1940-1943. Jeff Smith replied that the building that stands today is from 1940 and the period of significance could not be prior to the age of the house. Mr. Armstrong stated that the more recent date detracts from the nomination. Ms. Thornton asked why the hog house was not listed as a contributing structure and Mr. Demer responded that it was built much later and was outside the period of significance. Mr. Armstrong stated that if the period of significance was confined to 1940-1943, parts of the nomination should be deleted. Dr. Ledbetter inquired about the absence of property owner information and Ms. Pierce stated she would check to see why they were not included in the nomination. Dr. Arnett moved for approval of the nomination and Mr. Greco provided the second. Motion carried.

Memphis Tennessee Garrison House, Cabell County, nominated under Criterion B, with period of significance being 1957 to 1988, was presented by Amanda West. Following the presentation, Dr. Peyton asked about the integrity of the house and Ms. West noted that, as far as she knew, nothing had been changed since Ms. Garrison’s death. Mr. Armstrong asked if any attempt had been made to determine when the vinyl siding was installed and Ms. West replied that it was put in during the time Ms. Garrison lived in the home. Dr. Peyton noted that the nomination stated she attended school in Ohio because there were no African American high schools in West Virginia at the time, and that was incorrect. Dr. Ledbetter moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Peyton provided the second. Motion carried.

At 12:10 p.m. Chairman Forbes called for a lunch break and the meeting restarted at 1:15 p.m. Chairman Forbes discussed the letter he was to write to the state legislature in support of continuation of the budget for Culture and History and asked if federal support should be included. Dr. Hohn stated he believed it should. He also suggested determining the purpose of the correspondence and whether to include additional supplemental materials. Chairman Forbes led the discussion of when, how, and to whom the letter should be sent, and it was determined that the letter would have to be mailed after the new leadership is chosen if it was to be sent to the committee chairs. He informed members he may send something to them for review.

Mr. Geiger informed members that the administrative section of Culture and History now required the completion of a travel authorization form for attendance to commission meetings.

Chairman Forbes noted that the Winter meeting is scheduled to be held at Hawks Nest State Park on February 24, with March 3 as a backup date. The Spring meeting is to be held at Cacapon Resort State Park, with the date to be determined.

Mr. Greco made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Forbes declared the meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr. Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History