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MINUTES
WEST VIRGINIA
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY COMMISSION
WINTER MEETING
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017
STONEWALL JACKSON RESORT
ROANOKE, WEST VIRGINIA


Chairman Harold Forbes called the meeting to order at 9:33 a.m. In addition to Mr. Forbes, voting members present were Dr. Melissa Bingmann, Dr. Robert Conte, Nat DeBruin, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Dr. Billy Joe Peyton, Nathan Randolph, and Alison Thornton. Voting members absent were Tommy Bailey, Rebecca Frye, Victor Greco, Dr. Joan Walker, and Keven Walker. 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, 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; Randall-Reid Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; and Sandra Scaffidi, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Also present were Historic Preservation office staff members Jennifer Brennan, Pam Brooks, and Jeff Smith.

Chairman Forbes asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 30 September 2016. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dr. Ledbetter, with a second by Dr. Peyton. The minutes were approved.

Chairman Forbes then called for a motion to approve the agenda. He noted that the Beckley Mill Site would be considered when the presenter arrived, and he added the Division of Culture and History to the reports section. Mr. Randolph made a motion to approve the agenda as amended, with a second by Dr. Conte. 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 September 2016 through January 2017 (copies attached to official minutes) and then reviewed recent activities. He noted that eighty of the sesquicentennial highway markers had been ordered and locations were being determined for the first forty. Geiger informed members that the listing of the Monongalia County chancery files, which numbered 302 boxes, was nearly completed. Dates for History Bowl regional competitions and the state tournament were shared, and Geiger noted that Culture and History would be participating in a program, offered by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, to offer training to groups and individuals on how to properly preserve documents and artifacts. He shared that the map collections of Archives and History are being placed on-line and plans are being made to add certain photograph collections. Archives staff are currently processing collections from Governor Tomblin, First Lady Tomblin, and the Secretary of Stateís office. In response to Chairman Forbesís inquiry, Geiger reviewed the schedule of events for History Day.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Susan Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) and reviewed section activities. She noted her recent attendance at the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). Jennifer Brennan conducted training for Historic Landmark commissions in Fairmont, Lewisburg, and Buckhannon. Staff consulted with the owner of the McIlhenny Lodge in Lewisburg concerning a grant project and determined the proposed demolition inappropriate, which led to the cancellation of the grant. Applications were received for FY2017 Survey and Planning Grants and the second round of FY2017 Development Grants.

The Snookie Nutting Lecture Series at Independence Hall included three presentations, and an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was held at the Culture Center in October. The GIS system was updated with an interactive map, making it more useful to researchers. Ms. Pierce stated she had consulted with the Civil War Trust and Shenandoah Valley Foundation regarding a proposed easement for the Standard Land Tract in Jefferson County. Hurricane Sandy disaster workshops were postponed until April 2017 due to timing conflicts, but the FY2016 end-of-year report was completed and submitted to the National Park Service. Ms. Brennan provided a technical assistance presentation in Middleway and participated in the Huntington tax credit program for real estate developers.

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. The Fiesta exhibit, which celebrated the 80th anniversary of the introduction of Fiestaware, continued to attract visitors. The education staff completed West Virginia: A Digital Primer, an on-line resource featuring lesson plans, interactive puzzles, maps, quizzes, and other features. Camp Washington Carver was closed for maintenance, while at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, a successful local artists program was initiated, along with a lecture and film series, and archaeology exhibits were updated.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Ms. Scaffidi for the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia report. Ms. Scaffidi spoke about PAWVís efforts to increase the state historic rehabilitation tax credit. The organization is also updating its logo and providing training on historic rehabilitation and economic development opportunities. In response to Chairman Forbesís question about what commission members could do to support efforts to increase the tax credit, Ms. Scaffidi suggested calling legislators and urging them to support the legislation, as the change is necessary for the betterment of our state.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Dr. Hohn for the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey report. Dr. Hohn noted he was contacted by Robert Burns at WVU concerning a Geopark initiative to create a virtual park in Greenbrier, Fayette, and Raleigh counties.

Due to Dr. Arnettís absence, no report for the West Virginia Historical Association was given. Chairman Forbes then called upon Mr. Armstrong for the West Virginia Historical Society report.

Mr. Armstrong noted that the newsletter had been mailed to members, and the organization was assisting Archives and History with History Day.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Commissioner Reid-Smith for a report on the Division of Culture and History. He stated that the museum shelving and waterproofing projects have been completed and that the theater is currently being updated. The commissioner spoke about the success of History Bowl, which in 2017 will include 145 teams in 39 counties. He observed that the marker book would be updated after the sesquicentennial marker project was completed and noted that Museums and Historic Preservation were also updating their publications. The commissioner reviewed the awarding of Records Management and Preservation Board grants, and he also mentioned the successful Mountaineer Challenge Academy. He observed that a large crowd attended Margaret Brennanís presentation on Betty Zane at West Virginia Independence Hall, and that the Wheeling walking tour brochure had been updated. He informed the commission that Barnwood Builders wants to do a television show episode teaching lost skills at Camp Washington Carver and may repair the maintenance sheds.

After a short recess the meeting reconvened at 11:09 a.m.

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

Beckley Mill Site, Raleigh County, nominated under Criterion D, with a period of significance being circa 1835-1927, was presented by Dan Pezzoni. Dr. Tom and Sally Lemke, who were also in attendance, spoke on behalf of the Raleigh County Historical Society about the history of the project. Following the presentation, Dr. Peyton inquired why they chose not to pursue Criterion B and was informed that Alfred Beckleyís home, Wildwood, already listed in the National Register, is more closely associated with him. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Ledbetter provided the second. Motion carried.

Turning to Old Business, Chairman Forbes called for an update on previous National Register nominations. Mr. Smith reported that both the Feagans Mill Complex and the Memphis Tennessee Garrison House were listed in the National Register on January 23, 2017.

Chairman Forbes discussed the letter he had sent to all legislators urging them to support the Division of Culture and History. He requested that members contact senators and both finance chairs to advocate for passage of the legislation increasing the state historic rehabilitation tax credit. Dr. Hohn noted that the bills can be viewed in their entirety on the legislatureís website.

Chairman Forbes called for a lunch break at 11:52 a.m. The meeting reconvened at 1:00 p.m.

Chairman Forbes then called on Ms. Pierce to present the FY2017 Survey and Planning Grants. Ms. Scaffidi and Dr. Peyton recused themselves. Ms. Thornton asked about the currently unresolved status of the annual federal funding, and Ms. Pierce detailed possible options to fund the grants. Ms. Thornton questioned several of the applications, and Dr. Hohn explained the panelís deliberations. Mr. Armstrong asked if the grant for the penitentiary is for the entire prison, and Ms. Brennan responded that the project is for four interior rooms and is necessary to promote tourism and later development. Dr. Conte made a motion to accept the panelís recommendations for the FY2017 Survey and Planning Grants and Mr. Randolph seconded. Motion passed.

Ms. Scaffidi and Dr. Peyton returned to the meeting. Chairman Forbes then called on Ms. Pierce to present the second round of FY2017 Development Grants. In response to a question from Chairman Forbes about the Blue Church, Ms. Pierce stated that it had already received funding and was passed over this time. Mr. Armstrong asked if the kitchen addition had been completed when the Hickory Hill property was put on the register, and Ms. Brennan replied that it had been. Mr. Randolph made a motion to accept the panelís recommendations for the second round of FY2017 Development Grants 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. Peyton seconded. Motion passed.

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

Chairman Forbes noted that the Spring meeting is to be held at Cacapon Resort State Park on Thursday, May 25. The Fall meeting is scheduled for Pipestem Resort State Park on September 29 with a backup date of October 6.

Dr. Peyton made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Forbes declared the meeting adjourned at 2:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr. Secretary


Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History