Historical Commission meeting

Monday, December 13, 2021, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Edie Field, Honorary
  • Absent: Susan Lynton
  • Absent: Eva Gibavic
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:20 PM
  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Linda Whiting

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:10PM

Meeting closed: 8:19 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Access to Historical Commission monthly meeting - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556

    • SM contact - leveretthistoryinfo@gmail.com Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556 Meeting ID: 861 2514 7556 Since the state will allow virtual meetings to continue until 4/22, the LHC plans to hold a virtual meeting on zoom until further notice.

  3. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • Industrial History programming - UPDATE on "A Sense of Where You Are: Getting to Know Leverett's Industrial Past' Virtual and in-person tours to Leverett's historic industrial landscape and sites." Signage program ("Town Pound" test case?) Slarrow Mill, Brushy Mtn. industries - mill, charcoal, other industries for 2022 programs?

      General Discussion...
      The application, which Pleun prepared, was submitted to CPC by 1 December, 2021. It covers extension of the "Sense of Place..." industrial heritage programming to include historic charcoal businesses among others, "embodied" (oral) histories with living folks who worked in the sawmills, charcoal kilns and other local industries and have a personal relationship with the materials and skills of their craft. Another extension to have come out of previous industrial heritage programming, is the initiation of a permanent interpretative signage program, which owners of some of Leverett's historic properties have expressed an interest in. Historic signs will also help to garner enthusiasm for Leverett's 250th Anniversary in 2024.

    • LHS Collection Inventory - UPDATE - Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and Field Family Museum collections of the Leverett Historical Society inventoried and digitized.

    • Slarrow Sawmill and other prominent historic properties - UPDATE - Select Board's ad hoc committee on question of accepting ownership of North Leverett (Slarrow - Kirley) Sawmill and Dam property. Discuss Historical Commission role in preserving town's historic properties. Most are privately owned. How can the Historical Commission take a pro-active stance to encourage preservation and sustainable adaptive re-use?

      General Discussion...
      A new proposal has been submitted to the CPC to fund the rehabilitation, restoration and repurposing of two significant historic properties: the Leverett Historical Society's School House Museum in Moore's Corner and the Field Family Museum, former Field Library, owned by the town with some expenses paid by the Leverett Historical Society. Both buildings are under-utilized and in need of restoration. An alliance of stakeholders is proposed which would include the Historical Commission, the Historical Society, the Cemetery Association, the 250th Anniversary Committee and, perhaps, the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, among others (historic churches in Moore's Corner, North Leverett Baptist, Leverett Center Congregational...?). The idea and request for letters of support is being presented to those groups currently. At the state level, consultations with Preservation MA, MA Cultural Council and MA Humanities have been initiated as well as conversation with National Endowment for the Humanities and an architecture firm that works on preservation projects.

      Still needed for this proposal is at least one more bid on the restoration work. Several local contractors are being approached, among the names mentioned are Bob Obear, Charlie Abbott and Sid Poritz. A suggestion of consulting with FRCOG Planning Dept. was made. Assessors maps and photographs are needed for the CPC review according to Ann Tweedy. Support letters from all of the stakeholders with their commitment to an alliance will be necessary. The question of "how this alliance of stakeholders would work in reality?" and who would actually oversee the restoration and make decisions about adaptive reuse directions, is as yet unanswered. The project would dovetail with the Master Planning process that the town Planning Board is undertaking over the next two years. It also is incentivized by the approaching 250th anniversary of the town's founding in 1774, in 2024. It will be important to define the alliance and to include interested individuals as well as current non-profits and institutional stakeholders. Bringing the question of "What is your stake in Leverett's history and future?" to the town generally is essential in order to define an alliance that can function and the work accomplished. The formation of a "stakeholder alliance" can offer a proactive solution for the perennial problem of deferred maintenance of town-owned and historic properties. It will be critical to spell out the organizational arrangement with input from all parties in a transparent manner in order for any stakeholder alliance to successfully address habitual disfunction and neglect of Leverett's rich heritage and turn the historic landscape into a contributing factor in a sustainable future.

      The need to start preparing CPA applications, due December 1, in September was registered. Who will be in attendance at the 1/5/22 CPC meeting to answer questions and fill in blanks on this second application? We are told that the CPC will meet as needed leading up to their March hearing date.

  4. History-related Cultural Events

    • Leverett 250 - Planning for 250th year 2024 in Leverett. Fund-raising questions. Next meeting Sunday, January 23, 2022, 3pm Town Hall. Activity subcommittees are working. A budget draft is underway.

    • Schooling in Leverett - "10 to 1", One-Room Schoolhouse Oral History Project publication. Collaboration with Leverett Education Foundation to highlight Leverett Elementary School and education's historical importance in Leverett. Next steps?

    • Stone walls - Preserving stone walls in Leverett - "Mapping Leverett", a project for 250th that brings together neighbors to locate and restore Leverett's stone walls.

  5. Historical Commission Mission and Vision

    • Mission statement - Mission & Vision statement draft. In addition to identifying and evaluating sites, how does LHC mission sync with encouraging sustainable preservation of our historical assets? Sterling mission statement - https://www.sterling-ma.gov/sterling-historical-commission

  6. LHC Activities Timeline

    • LHC Activities Timeline - Timeline illustrates Mission & Vision - draft. At this juncture, 3 years from the 250th, what focus of LHC might be most effective?

  7. Cemeteries

    • Individual Cemetery Issues

    • Veterans Recognition Project - New resource listing Leverett veterans from the TH vault..

  8. LHC - Schedules/ Meetings/ Duties

    • LHC Membership - LHC Vacancy

    • Town website - Update history section on Town website -"Leverett History" on town website

  9. Special topics

    • Suggested topic - Suggested topic for future exploration - updating the Howe's Brothers photos now (30 years after last "update")?

  10. Review and document CPA-funded properties

    • Review template - Yearly observations and documentation of historic properties which have received preservation funding from the Community Preservation Act account.

  11. New Business

  12. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by sm

Minutes approved on Wednesday, Feb 9, 2022

Posted to: Historical Commission