Chairman Robert Conte called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m. In addition to Dr. Conte, other voting members present were Harold Forbes, Becky Frye, Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, and Dr. Joan Walker. Voting members absent were 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 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; Jeremy Morris, president of Preservation Alliance; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Bethany Castle and Erin Riebe, and Independence Hall site director Travis Henline.
After introductions, Chairman Conte requested that the minutes reflect the gratitude of commission members to Victor Greco for hosting an event in the original state capitol building on Thursday evening. Mr. Greco thanked Pat Cassidy and others for their assistance. Following introductions, Chairman Conte asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of 31 May 2013. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Forbes, with a second by Dr. Arnett. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. Mr. Geiger referred members to information provided in the monthly reports May through July 2013 and distributed the annual report for Archives and History (copies attached to official minutes). He reviewed continuing work with the Department of Education on providing primary documents to teachers to assist them in meeting core objectives, plans for the 2014 History Bowl, lectures and workshops in the Archives and History Library, and a photograph exhibit on railroad photographer J. J. Young. Mr. Greco asked if private schools were participating in the History Bowl event and was informed by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith that they were.
Chairman Conte then called upon Ms. Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce referred to the report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes) and mentioned work on filling open positions. She noted that she had been assisting with tax credit and development grant monitoring and was working on projects for a grant application for Hurricane Sandy funding. Ms. Pierce mentioned that SHPO is receiving requests for quotation for an economic impact analysis of tax credits in the state. She also noted that two posters were being printed, one for Archaeology Month and one for the sesquicentennial; the 2014 calendar was in the final planning stages; and the Details newsletter was ready to be sent to the printer. She also shared that the office sponsored a LEED workshop in Charleston and a CLG training ("nuts and bolts") workshop in Wheeling in September, and noted work on review and compliance projects. Ms. Pierce noted the completion of the state annual report and mentioned that SHPO is waiting on action by the federal government on the budget. Comments had been received on the annual work program and corrections had been made as needed. SHPO also spoke with the National Park Service about the grants manual and was informed they do not need to provide program narratives; they only need to put together major tasks. Mr. Greco stated that he attended the "nuts and bolts" workshop and thought it was very informative and beneficial. Dr. Ledbetter asked when Archaeology Month was celebrated and was informed by Ms. Pierce it was in October. Mr. Armstrong asked what had to be done on the annual work plan and was informed that the staff only needed to list the major tasks it would complete. He also asked if all the development grants approved at the last meeting were initiated or if some were cancelled, and Ms. Pierce responded that none had cancelled as of yet. Mr. Armstrong noted that at the last meeting there was speculation about receiving $30,000 in supplemental funds and asked if that funding had been approved. Ms. Pierce stated they did not receive the supplemental funds but had sufficient funds to pay for the grants. Mr. Armstrong asked if the hiring freeze was still in effect and was informed it was not.
Chairman Conte then called upon Charles Morris for the Museums report (copy attached to official minutes). Mr. Morris reviewed sesquicentennial activities and educational endeavors, and he discussed a grant Museums had received to address the Buffalo Native American remains. He also detailed work on maintaining and restoring Culture and History buildings. Dr. Conte commented on the Independence Hall exhibit on statehood and asked about the drawings on the wall in the courtroom. Travis Henline, site manager at Independence Hall, spoke about the drawings. Jeremy Morris asked if Culture and History sections were doing anything to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. In reply, Charles Morris spoke about exhibits in the State Museum on sit-ins in West Virginia and said they might elaborate on that. Mr. Armstrong asked about upcoming activities, and Mr. Morris spoke about West Virginia 150, work on an exhibit with West Virginia University on Virginia Evans, a congressional youth exhibit, holiday exhibitions, expanded use of the clothing collection, an exhibition on Conestoga wagons, and another on early agriculture and farming. In response to a question from Mr. Armstrong about the status of the Jenkins Plantation, Commissioner Reid-Smith replied that the Corps of Engineers, which owns the property, has no money to move forward and is awaiting an appropriation. Mr. Armstrong asked if the property was sinking into the swamp, and the commissioner stated Mr. Armstrong would have to check with the Corps of Engineers. Mr. Armstrong noted that at a previous meeting, staff had spoken of efforts to achieve accreditation and wondered if that effort was ongoing. Mr. Morris responded that they were trying to become accredited and were working on a storage system and some other issues. As soon as these projects were completed, he believed there was no reason the museum should not be accredited. He also stated that the water leak into the building would have to be fixed before putting in a rolled storage system. Mr. Armstrong asked about funding to fix the leak and was informed it had been secured from the Legislature.
Chairman Conte then recognized Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, who gave a report on Culture and History. He informed the commission that VH-1 had awarded thirty-eight grants, with West Virginia receiving eight of them. He also stated that it was his idea to display the WV150 exhibit for a year and that it had been a great success. Commissioner Reid-Smith mentioned the installation of an exhibit at Grave Creek and discussed a new program for 2014 entitled "West Virginia: The Early Years of Statehood," which would feature three to four lectures per year. He noted that the Science and Arts fair will be held at WVU Tech on November 16. The statewide marching band competition is scheduled and twenty-seven bands have already signed up. Eighteen choirs have signed up for the Festival of Songs, and preparations for History Bowl are being completed. Culture and History continues to work with the Department of Education on extended learning opportunities and providing teacher resources. A juried arts exhibition will open in Martinsburg on November 24. Essay and photo contests would be held in 2014 as part of the sesquicentennial celebration. The hiring freeze ended on July 1, and Culture and History currently has fourteen open positions.
Turning to Old Business, Ms. Riebe provided updates on National Register nominations previously reviewed by the commission (copy attached to official minutes). She informed the commission that New River Gorge Bridge and Mt. Woods Cemetery had been listed.
Turning to New Business, Chairman Conte called for the presentation of the National Register nominations.
Fort Mill Ridge, Hampshire County, nominated under Criterion A, Military, and Criterion C, Engineering, with period of significance being 1863, was presented by Sandra Scaffidi. Dr. Walker stated that she supported the nomination but wanted an additional illustration to show the field data. She asked if field mapping was done and was informed it was not. Dr. Walker also stated she would like to see actual field data leading to the reconstruction. Mr. Armstrong offered some minor suggestions and asked about the difference in acreage. Dr. Hohn noted that two different groups, Federals and Confederates, assessed the same site and came to different conclusions as to its value; he believed it was an interesting nomination. Dr. Walker moved for approval of the nomination and Mr. Armstrong provided the second. Motion carried. Mr. Greco abstained.
Whitesville School, Boone County, nominated under Criterion C, Architecture (local), with period of significance being 1931, was presented by Bethany Castle. Ms. Castle introduced three guests who were in attendance to support the nomination. Mr. Forbes suggested a photograph could be used to demonstrate structure bonding. Dr. Hohn liked the structure due to its architecture and to the fact that it was in good shape and still being used as a school. Dr. Walker also liked the building and nomination. Mr. Armstrong had some minor corrections and questioned whether the stone retaining wall should be listed as contributing. Ms. Castle informed him that they did not know if the wall was constructed at the same time as the school and therefore had to list it as non-contributing. Mr. Forbes moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Arnett provided the second. Motion carried.
Potomac Mills, Jefferson County, nominated under Criterion A, Industry, and Criterion D, Archaeology-Historic-Non-Aboriginal, with period of significance being 1826-1901, was presented by Edie Wallace. Dr. Walker stated she really enjoyed reading the nomination, which she believed was very well done. Mr. Armstrong stated he thought a link was needed to transportation, specifically water and road transportation explained in the history, and believed it should be a part of the nomination. He also questioned whether coal would have been used in the furnace in the 1820s. Mr. Armstrong moved for approval of the nomination and Dr. Ledbetter provided the second. Motion carried.
Chairman Conte then called on Jeremy Morris, who made some remarks about Wheeling efforts to create a statue of Francis Pierpont to be erected at the corner of Market and 16th streets. An artist had been commissioned, a bust had been created, and fundraising efforts were underway. Mr. Greco asked who would receive donations, and Mr. Morris informed him the Wheeling National Heritage Area would be handling that endeavor. Mr. Morris added that they needed to come up with $120,000 and that about $50,000 had already been raised. A statewide fundraising campaign will be launched in the near future.
Chairman Conte noted that the Winter meeting is scheduled to be held in Fairmont on January 31, with February 7 as a backup date. The Spring meeting will be held in Lewisburg on May 30, with June 6 as a backup date.
Mr. Armstrong made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Conte declared the meeting adjourned at 11:09 a.m.
Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Archives and History Commission