Historical Commission meeting

Monday, September 12, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Zoom meeting this month. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
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 7:30 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:

  • Carol Heim
  • Carole DeSanti
  • Cynthia Baldwin
  • Linda Whiting
  • Pleun Bouricius

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:10 PM

Meeting closed: 9:09 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. LHC Membership

    • LHC Vacancy - Discussion of Carole DeSanti application for Commission membership and vote.

      MOTION, moved by Susan Lynton, seconded by Eva Gibavic: To request that the Selectboard appoint Carole DeSanti as a new member of the Historical Commission.

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

  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.

      General Discussion...
      Pleun suggests that the issue of digital storage, whether on the town website or other, is an important issue for the LHC to address. We are accumulating a valuable trove of video resources, digital artifacts and from various projects ( digitizing the LHS Collections, ''10 to 1'' archives and MHA Conference presentation, ''Stories Alive'' as well as all the zoom presentations the the ''Sense of Where You Are...'' programming.

      Susan Lynton shares a possible grant through the National Archives. Ann T. and Eva concur that the. CPA monies will not be enough to complete the digitization of the LHS Collections. We will want. to collaborate with the town clerk to work together on ''digital storage for the town archive''. Such a discussion could include. Pleun, Eva, Susan L, Susan M, Ann Tweedy and Lisa Stratford, Leverett Town Clerk to begin with. Pleun will contact ''Digital Commonwealth'' to. find out what opportunities there are. How do we get the documents that we have ready for digital storage? Ann T. suggests a ''Google Folders'' link that people can click on in Google Drive to post on, not through .

      The previous year's funding (21-22) will finish up with a program on the charcoal industry in Leverett. Date TBD before the end of the year. Since there are people in town who worked in the. Howard brothers' charcoal business who we would like to interview, this program will be a transition to the next funding cycle (22-23) and segue into personal interviews (perhaps live events?). We. are calling this ''embodied history''. Leonard LaClaire, Matt, Andy and Wayne Howard, Elliot Sherman could all be resources (if they are willing). What might be a location for a conversation. amongst people who are still around who were involved in the charcoal industry?

      The other topic of the coming year's funding is to work with several owners of mill remains which have been the subject of one of the industrial heritage programs to create permanent signage at their sites. The topic of ''signage'' will be on October's agenda.

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

      General Discussion...
      The collection project lost a wonderful contributor when Devine moved to Ohio this summer. Elle Davis and Charlotte M. have joined the team. They are looking for a third person. They are currently going through and digitizing ''Box 5'' of 6 boxes that Edie Field assembled. Once complete they will move onto plastic bins. More funding will be needed to complete the project, there are still objects to photograph, such as textiles. Next will come decisions about storage conditions.

      The town recently acquired a bible which belonged to Abner Gilbert given to Anna. Gilbert and Albert P. Field of Rat Hollow Road, which was found in Northampton.

    • Preserving Leverett's historic properties - UPDATE Update on Ad Hoc committee appointed by the Selectboard to gather community input on adaptive reuse possibilities for the Field Family Museum. Update on Slarrow Sawmill property in North Leverett. Update on Historical Society's efforts to preserve the Moore's Corner School House.

      General Discussion...
      Anne Schuyler reported on the Field Family Museum Ad Hoc Committee. appointed by the Selectboard during the summer in response to a warrant article passed at the 2022 town meeting to allocate monies to. evaluate the condition and prospects for the Field Library/ Museum building. The committee has 12 people. Richard Nathhorst was elected chair, Judie Todd, secretary. Lively conversation and differing opinions at the first meeting. The discussion centered around the difficulty of its site and the suggestion was made to move it. There will be a tour of the building and land around it. Meetings will be on Thursdays. They are hoping for. community involvement. Their charge is to produce options. for the Selectboard to consider. The professional consultation will respond to options spelled out by the Ad Hoc Committee. There will be an educational process through which the townspeople will be informed in order the make a decision about what direction to proceed at next spring's town meeting.

      Questions raised at the meeting included: issues of maintenance, content, people may not know about the history of the building and the strictures on it. Bathrooms and parking are two issues. Is it possible to expand its uses? Who sustains it in the interim? The town and LHS have been sharing expenses and maintenance. The LHS has been involved since the library left. In 2007 a ''Reuse Committee'' was appointed by the Selectboard. Since then, the LHS has used the space as a museum.

      A final report will be due to the Selectboard in December of 2022 that ''collects options''. The committee is meant to be an information resource and communications vehicle, not with decision making power.

      Sara Robinson said the final CPA proposal from the Leverett Historical Society to refurbish the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse is still in draft form, but will be provided to the LHC members once complete to read in hopes that the Commission will send a letter of support the the CPC on behalf of the LHS and the project. Among the issues that will be addressed at the Schoolhouse building are the outside envelope, the chimney, the foundation and the issue of heating. The L:HS envisions a ''mock 19th/20th century schoolhouse'' arrangement for the museum with chalk boards and desks and implements, replete with an outhouse including a tin can with toilet paper.

      LHS announced a program about Harold Chapin and his store at the Schoolhouse in !0/18 @ 7pm.

      Cynthia Baldwin shared a proposal that will be submitted to the CPC for funding on behalf of the newly former non-profit, The Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill, Inc. to create a ''Heritage Park and Nature Trail'' that would include much of the historic industrial site below the Slarrow Sawmill which includes stone work remains of the Graves' Ironwork and Smithy. Their proposal is also incomplete, but they wondered if they could send it to us to approve a letter of support after 10/1 and in the mean time ask us for a statement of significance of the area they are proposing to preserve. Cynthia provided the text for us to approve before the meeting ended and it was approved unanimously. Questions were raised about parking, maintenance, signage and vandalism. They will be working to eliminate invasives and create a pollinator-friendly nature trail along the river.

      1. FONLS_Industrial_Heritage_Park__Nature_Trail_LHC_presentation_9-12-22.pdf
      2. Letter_of_support_for_FONLS_CPC_Park_application.docx
  4. History-related Cultural Events

    • Leverett 250 - Planning for 250th year 2024 in Leverett. UPDATE from Anniversary Committee meeting on 6/12/22 and 8/25/22.

    • Schooling in Leverett - '10 to 1', One-Room Schoolhouse Oral History Project publication. Next steps? New collaboration with LES for the 250th? Alyson is interested!

    • 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

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

  9. Special topics

    • Design of LHC town webpage - Can we use the page more effectively? What should be there? Important to finish 'Mission & Vision'. Add a link to the file with questions we posed to the LHC candidates ?

    • 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

    • Yearly review - UPDATE on yearly observations and documentation of historic properties which have received preservation funding from the Community Preservation Act account at the July meeting.

  11. New Business

    • Interface among historical organizations - Discuss concerns about overlap between LHC, LHS, FONLS, FFM Ad Hoc Committee, etc..

      General Discussion...
      Susan M apologized for not calling a ''Special LHC Meeting'' to discuss the notice the Commission received from the Friends of North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) that they would need to temporarily enclose the openings on the road side of the building in order to secure an insurance policy; needed to complete the property transfer. Since the Historic Preservation Restriction (HPR) which was put on the sawmill when the town gave CPA funds to restore the collapsed roof in the early 2000's, and it prohibits ''alterations that would change the historic character'' and in retrospect, SM feels it would have been best to hold an emergency meeting to discuss before, rather than after, the panels were in place (even though they are removable and it is hoped that they will be replaced with glass windows in the not to distant future.). HPR will be discussed at October meeting.

      1. Letter_of_Notification_to_LHC_002.docx
    • LHC Meeting format - Do we want to meet in person @ Town Hall, where we can have a hybrid meeting in October?

  12. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Oct 17, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Zoom meeting this month. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      2. Mon, Nov 14, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Zoom meeting this month. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      3. Mon, Dec 12, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Zoom meeting this month. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      4. Mon, Jan 9, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Zoom meeting this month. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 9:09 PM.

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, Oct 25, 2022

Posted to: Historical Commission.