Historical Commission meeting

Monday, April 11, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Edie Field, Honorary
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Eva Gibavic, at 7:00 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
  • Carol Heim
  • Dawn Marvin Ward
  • George Brace-Montague Reporter
  • Doc Pruyne-Reminder

See original Agenda * * * DRAFT Meeting Minutes * * *

Meeting opened: 7:05 PM

Meeting closed: 8:54 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.

      General Discussion...
      The state of Massachusetts has extended the emergency permission to meet virtually until July 2022. Since we have a member who would like to meet with us during May and June while she is in Europe, the LHC will continue to meet on zoom through June. July is usually the month in which we travel to the locations in town which have received funding from the town Community Preservation Act Fund, to review their current condition. We will determine where and how to meet in August based on the status of the state regulations and commissioners' preferences.

  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. Update on CPC action.

      General Discussion...
      The Community Preservation Commission (CPC) approved forwarding the "Sense of Where You Are..." FY23 programming proposal to the Town Meeting at their meeting on 3/16/22. Programs for the FY22 programs will begin on April 22, 2022 with a virtual program on the Graves' Ironworks on the Sawmill River; with the possibility of an in-person visit the following weekend TBD. We still need dates fro "Roaring Brook Industrial Corridor" and "Brushy Mountain Industries (3 BM mills)" programs. Ann T. has posted to the Leverett History Facebook page, Susan M. will post to the LHC page on the town website and Leverett Connects.

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

      General Discussion...
      The Leverett Historical Society collection inventory is moving along. Devon and Charolotte, graduate students from the UMass Public History Program will continue working into the summer and fall. Though they have moved their operations for digitizing and cataloguing to the Field Family Museum where there was heat, the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse materials are not completed yet. Edie Field says she is enjoying having company at the Field Museum as she goes about adding to and documenting the collection there.

    • Slarrow Sawmill and other prominent historic properties - UPDATE on ownership of North Leverett (Slarrow - Kirley- Friends of North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS)) Sawmill and Dam property. Update on CPC action. Approval of LHC support for FONLS application to NEH for funds to begin preservation work. Discuss Historical Commission role in restoring and repurposing town's historic properties.

      General Discussion...
      The Slarrow Sawmill has been donated to the non-profit Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) by the Kirley brothers trust. The "founders" are a group of about 10 neighbors who made donations to cover start-up expenses. At the invitation of the FONLS, two MASS Design Group principals met with about 40 local representatives of various interest groups and town boards on a visit to Leverett to view historic assets. It is hoped that an application for a design & planning grant will be submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin the process of preserving the sawmill property. (In addition to the mill and the .5 acre property it is on, the Kirleys also donated a 2.5 acre adjacent property to FONLS.) Could there be a LIDAR model of the sawmill and ironworks ruins for the NEH application?

      Update on the Community Preservation Commission actions regarding the "Preserving the Leverett Historical Society Museums/Collection" (two buildings: Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and Field Family Museums; one collection) proposal. Ann Tweedy reported that after much deliberation it did not pass. The reasons given were: "Two properties, therefore could not be one application", "LHS needs to become stronger", "Estimates were not complete", "Bids seemed low", "one museum, not true", "procurement process unclear", "seemed rushed". At the meeting where the vote was taken, no responses to any of the criticisms were allowed by the chair of the CPC. Ann T. as the Historical Commission representative to the CPC, abstained. Susan Lynton stated that she did not think the CPC members were fully informed, it did not seems as though they had read the updated proposal that explained many of the previous questions or knew the Community Preservation Act law. In a meeting with Melinda Ordway from the Dept. of Revenue regarding the "Community Compact Financial Forecast for the Town of Leverett 2022", it was learned that some towns use their CPA Funds to purchase buildings, restore and sell them, borrow against the CPA Funds to do multi-year projects, etc..

      MOTION, moved by Susan Lynton, seconded by Sara Robinson: Moved that the Leverett Historical Commission support an application to the National Endowment of the Humanities by the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill for a design and planning grant.

      Pass: Aye: Ann Tweedy, Eva Gibavic, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton. Not Present: Edie Field.

      MOTION, moved by Eva Gibavic, seconded by Susan Lynton: Moved that the LHC support a $30,000 "Conditions Assessment and Planning" grant for the Field Family Museum, approved by the CPC, to go for approval at Town Meeting 2022." .

      Pass: Aye: Ann Tweedy, Eva Gibavic, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Susan Lynton. Abstain: Sara Robinson. Not Present: Edie Field.

      Wasn't this done for the same property in 2016 at the behest of the Selectboard? Are the conditions different enough to merit another study? Why was this generated by the CPC when the LHC is the town body charged with preserving Leverett's historic assets? Ann T. stated that, if approved, it would be carried out by the LHC. Susan Lynton stated that it could be beneficial for securing subsequent grants.

  4. History-related Cultural Events

    • Leverett 250 - Planning for 250th year 2024 in Leverett.

      General Discussion...
      The 250th Committee is asking for $1,000 seed money on the Town Meeting warrant. After Town Meeting the committee will decide whether to become an official town committee.

      For the March 2024 town birthday celebration - what will be the museums' role? Are there health issues regarding the mold in the buildings currently? Could artifacts be displayed outside? What role will the LHC play? LHS? A scavenger hunt for historic sites? A map? Planning is needed...

    • 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...
      A celebration of the "10 to 1" book and one-room schoolhouse project is planned for June 11, 2022 in the Community Room at the Library. Hopefully there will not be a limit on number of people who can attend by then. The Leverett Education Foundation would like to share the event with the LHC. Planning is underway. (a "save-the-date" postcard, press release?). We can use some of the LHC budget for refreshments, cards, etc..

      On 4/29, we are planning to videotape a conversation with students who interviewed elder "scholars", scholars themselves who might be able to join us, as well as the 6th grade teacher Alyson Bull who oversaw the project and LHS president Edie Field who invited the seniors who had attended one-room schoolhouses and facilitated the interview process, at the Leverett Elementary School. The videotape of this conversation, along with an excerpt from a 35 minute compilation from the videotapes of all the interviews in 2017-18 edited by Toler Poole, a former member of the 6th grade class that interviewed the scholars for this project, will be used for a presentation to the Massachusetts History Alliance's statewide History Conference, June 6-7, 2022 in a seesion on "engaging youth in historical practices".

    • 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.

      General Discussion...
      Eva reports that a group of interested townspeople are researching ceremonial stone structures to present at the 250th.

  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..

      General Discussion...
      There is $1,000+ left to complete the Veteran's SHRAB grant for informational signage to recognize and name veteran's in Leverett's cemeteries. Could we work to complete this, perhaps applying for additional funds if needed, by the 250th?

  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 - Expense receipts?

  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

Posted to: Historical Commission