Historical Commission

Monday, March 14, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Edie Field, Honorary, at 7:45 PM
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Eva Gibavic, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Carol Heim
  • Pleun Bouricius

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:10 PM

Meeting closed: 9:33 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

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

    • Executive session - 7 - 7:30pm will be reserved for an Executive session. Commissioners will discuss issues pertinent to protocols used by the Commission heretofore.

      General Discussion...
      During the executive session, which was called to address several personnel issues that have arisen and become more pronounced in the past few months, members spoke about the importance of trust in relations, impact of personalizing and demonizing dissent, keeping the larger picture in mind, the Commission should be an open forum for differing opinions in which everyone feels safe and respected, most motives are not wrong, people should not feel shut down, it is not productive to go outside the Commission to solicit and sway opinion of other boards and townspeople to try to force a personal point of view, no matter how strongly held. There was consensus that ideally projects should be brought forth with plenty of lead time to iron out differing opinions. Citing the specifics of the CPC application to preserve two historic buildings, there was recognition that there are times when alacrity is needed.

      The session lasted more than 2x as long as expected, until 8:20pm. There was discomfort by one member of the public who was frustrated by waiting and questioned the legitimacy of the Executive Session.

    • 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? Dates for spring programs?

      General Discussion...
      Pleun Bouricius, historian and preservation consultant to the Commission for industrial heritage programming and other topics, reported that the 2022 programming has been generally set. There will be a zoom program in late April on each of the two original sites from 2019, Roaring Brook and the Sawmill River,/S.S. Graves' Ironworks, which happened only in person. The video record is something we have learned the value of during the necessity of the pandemic. It will be combined with new research. In early June there will be in-person visiting and zoom to the early industries in the settlement on Brushy Mountain. One was charcoal production which will then, hopefully, lead into documentation of the Howard Brothers 20th century charcoal business, possibly in-person or photogrametry as well, if the current owner is willing.

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

      General Discussion...
      Move to the Field Family Museum has been successful. New graduate student from UMASS Public History is working out well. Dawn has resigned from a leadership position with the Historical Society (the Commission's collaborator in this grant) but will continue working on the digitization of documents and artifacts of the LHS collections. The technology has been challenging.

      Discussion about how the collections will be accessed once they have been completely digitized: town website? at the locations? new LHS consolidated website (now there are three separate)? at the Leverett Library? A program called "Collective Access" is desirable, but will require raising funds to acquire and run. The accession format being used will be able to transfer directly into Collective Access.

    • 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 restoring and repurposing town's historic properties.

      General Discussion...
      Discussion continued about various misgivings related to the viability of the Historical Society to successfully guide the building preservation project. Reassurances were given that the LHS was being revived and had assigned members to a "Project Committee" who would be in charge of the following and executing the project successfully.

      MOTION, moved by Susan Lynton, seconded by Sara Robinson: "Moved that the Historical Commission support the application by the Leverett Historical Society to rehabilitate and preserve two historic buildings, the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and the Field Family Museum building in Leverett Center.".

      Pass: Aye: Edie Field, Ann Tweedy, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton. Nay: Eva Gibavic.

  4. History-related Cultural Events

    • Leverett 250 - Planning for 250th year 2024 in Leverett. A calendar has been created. Activity subcommittees are working. A budget draft is underway.

      1. 2024_Calendar_of_Events_2.pdf
    • Schooling in Leverett - "10 to 1", One-Room Schoolhouse Oral History Project publication. Collaboration with Leverett Education Foundation to celebrate the publication of "10 to 1", Leverett Elementary School and education's historical importance in Leverett on June 11, 1pm at the Leverett Library. Also presentation of the project at the staewide Massachusetts History Conference, June 7, 2022.

      General Discussion...
      Pleun told us that we will need to have a spokesperson chosen (w/a bio), a name for the session and a short description of what our session will be in the next week. We will be contacted by the Massachusetts History Conference organizers. The conference will take place over two days in Beverly: one day outside and one virtual. Our session will be virtual on 6/7/22.

    • 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

    • Demolition Delay application - Demolition Delay application at 74 Amherst Road - Tanya Cushman requested a review for changes to an out building, which upon inspection does not rise to the level of "historical significance" as defined in the Leverett's Demolition Delay Bylaw.

      General Discussion...
      Susan visited the site and toured the building Tanya may want to dismantle. She is still questioning whether it should be taken down entirely, repurposed or demolished and a new building built in its place. She was asked if she would donate the materials if she took it down and she said, "Yes, if I do not use them myself."

      MOTION, moved by Susan Mareneck, seconded by Susan Lynton: Moved that the LHC send Tanya a letter to verify that we do not think her shed rises to the level of "historical significance" as defined by Leverett's Demolition Delay Bylaw.".

      Pass: Aye: Edie Field, Ann Tweedy, Eva Gibavic, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton.

      1. demo_app_t_cushman.pdf
    • LHC Budget - Expense receipts?

      MOTION, moved by Sara Robinson, seconded by Susan Mareneck: "Moved that the LHC send a plant to Alyson Bull, LES 6th grade teacher in memory of Justin Miller, a 6th grade student who lost his life by accident recently.".

      Pass: Aye: Edie Field, Ann Tweedy, Eva Gibavic, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton.

      Should we pay from Commission funds? It was decided that private contributions would be more appropriate.

  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, May 3, 2022

Posted to: Historical Commission