Historical Commission

Monday, January 10, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Edie Field, Honorary
  • Absent: Eva Gibavic
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • 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:

  • Pleun Bouricius

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:12 PM

Meeting closed: 8:49 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." Brushy Mtn. industries - mills, charcoal, other industries to finish out current grant? Research on Signage Program, Embodied History to begin? Follow-up on CPC request?

      General Discussion...
      Ann T. reports that the ASOWYA application was well-received by the CPA Commission members. They thought is was a logical next step in the industrial heritage inventory/education/engagement strategy that has evolved in response to the Historic Assets Survey (2017-18). There were questions about whether the "Signage" program was a logical outgrowth of the industrial heritage programming. They also asked what the town would be responsible for?

      Members discussed that the idea of signage came from property owners whose mill remains had been the focus of ASOWYA programs in the past year. We can make a list of those mills highlighted since 2019. We can also ask the mill-owners for letters of support. Signs increase engagement with historic events and sites over the long term. Focus first on interpretative signage, later expand to house signs. We can select 6-8 sites as test cases, ask for owner financial contributions matched by town funding, work with owners on text. More research on design, fabrication, list of mills, contact owners, are jobs to do for rewrite.

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

      General Discussion...
      The UMASS Public History grad students are doing a spectacular job. They will move operations (cataloguing and digitizing the LHS collections from the schoolhouse in Moore's Corner and the Field Family Museums) to the Field Museum where the heat will be more comfortable through the cold months. Sam Redman (UMASS Public History prof.) may have found a new student who is interested. How to share the depth and relevance of the collections with the broader community, will be a future topic of discussion.

    • 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 proposal for a "stakeholder alliance" to restore and repurpose town's historic properties. Discuss CPA and other potential funding. What is needed to complete the CPC application?

      General Discussion...
      Ann Tweedy shared points made at the December Community Preservation Commission meeting regarding the LHC's two proposals. She emphasized that the CPA Commission is pointing out uncertainties in an effort to make sure that each proposal gets to town meeting.

      Referring to the "restoration of the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse (MCSH) and the Field Family Museum (FFM) buildings over the course of the next two years in preparation for the 250th Anniversary in 2024, Ann Tweedy for the CPA Commission, sought advice from a general contractor about the impact of property ownership. At this point, with the FFM owned by the town, the state would regulate the procurement and wage requirements. That would not be the case for the MCSH, since it is owned by the LHS which is a 501c3 non-profit entity. CPA rules stipulate that the cost of the restoration cannot be more than the value of the building. Code compliance issues can be negotiated for historic structures, but may require variances. FRCOG is where the Building Inspector for Leverett is housed. He (Jim Hawkins) would have information on code compliance, permits, etc..

      The proposal crafted by Susan Lynton and Sara Robinson with advice from local contractors and engineers, proposed both structures be rehabilitated under the same project manager. Ownership issues will have to be resolved if they want to remain conjoined in one application. The project would be phased: I. Planning - which would include forming the "alliance of stakeholders", working with a design firm to assess the needs and ultimate uses of the two buildings. Conversations are underway with MAS an architectural firm that has worked around the country and world to assist communities in strategies for adaptive reuse of under-utilized assets. The LHC and related parties will meet with them in early February. They would not be available immediately anyway, so the lag time until the town meeting approval would not be a hinderance. Preservation MA, a statewide non-profit specializing in supporting restoration and re-use of historic structures around the state is also working with the preservation project sub-committee to look for additional funding sources.

      A timeline from May - September 2022, and then the following two years, will be created to help the CPA Commission envision since this is restoration on a scale that has not been attempted in Leverett. Anne Schuyler suggested that Phase I is really a planning grant as it the work of forming the "stakeholder alliance", determining ownership, evaluating the sites, planning the scope of work, engaging contractors to bid on it, all before any actual execution takes place in what would be Phase II. She suggested that Phase III would be the interior work, which could be a second grant request next year.

  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

    • LHC Budget - LHC Budget - Due 1/14/22. Shall it remain the same as last year?

      General Discussion...
      Yes, general agreement that budget should remain at $200.

  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 Tuesday, Mar 8, 2022

Posted to: Historical Commission