Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, May 8, 2023, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
A meeting of the Historical Commission


Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

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

Also Present:

  • Linda Whiting

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:04 PM

Meeting closed: 9:11 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. LHC Business

    • Mission & Vision - Revisit Mission statement. Update timeline. Who wants to work on the timeline?

      General Discussion...
      Discussion regarding the possible negative interpretation of the language used in the MGL Part 1, Title VII, Chapter 40, Section 8D of the law which defines the mandate of Historical Commissions in the State of MA, which was left out of the latest revision of the LHC mission statement, particularly in reference to the word ''develop''. A suggestion that ''develop material evidence of...the unique heritage of Leverett'' might replace the MGL official language that Historical Commissions have a ''mandate to identify, preserve, protect and develop historical assets'' was not generally accepted. General agreement was reached to keep the MGL definition, with elaboration of what the historic assets encompass in a second paragraph.

      Proposed ''Mission'' language would read,
      ''The Leverett Historical Commission was created by act of Town Meeting in 1973 under the authority of Massachusetts General Laws, Part I, Title VII, Chapter 40, Section 8D, with a mandate to identify, preserve, protect and develop historical assets.

      These historic assets encompass the entire and cultural landscape, and may include geological and archaeological sites, the architectural or built environment; social, cultural and industrial practices. Protection and preservation of our assets includes indigenous sites and artifacts as Leverett is located on or near the ancestral lands of the Pocumtuck, Nonotuck and Nipmuc people.

      The unique character of Leverett is shaped by its past and is key to a sustainable future.''

      Changes to the ''Activities...include. but are not limited to...'' section were minimal and final language followed Carole's edits:

      1. To identify, research, inventory and document historic assets
      2. To evaluate and advise on restoration, preservation, rehabilitation of, as well as creating public access to, historic assets
      3. To educate, engage and promote Leverett's historical assets through interpretative programs, documentation, educational outreach to encourage community awareness of these assets.
      4. To develop and assist in preservation planning partnering with other town commissions and private residents
      5. To advise town boards, committees, departments and administration in matters relating to historic preservation, including any proposed alteration, destruction, or relocation of historical assets
      6. To review, recommend, regulate as authorized in town's ordinance and bylaws
      7. To facilitate access to public records
      8. To be an active participant in the town planning process
      9 To explore funding and grant opportunities in support of the above

    • Town website - Redesign Historical Commission page: add timeline and mission statement, links to agendas, minutes, etc.. Possibility of using the ''Leverett History'' page as the interface for links to the LHC programming? Reference to ''places of interest'', such as mills, museums, Peace Pagoda, etc.. Create a ''digital vault''; possibility of online exhibitions? Who is interested in working on redesigning LHC online presence?

      General Discussion...
      A subcommittee of Carole DeSanti, Ann Tweedy and Susan Mareneck, possibly Anne Schuyler joining if she is able, will meet before next month to research other towns' web presentations and develop questions for the LHC and website tech folks. SM will contact town Administrator, Margie McGinnis and town Clerk, Lisa Stratford about using the ''Leverett History'' page (under ''About Us'' on the town website) to increase access to historical programming and resources.

  3. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • Industrial History Programming - UPDATE - (''Sense of Where You Are: Getting to Know Leverett's Industrial Past'') Next steps: 1. ''Embodied History'' - 2/11/23 ''Charcoal Talk'', status of video, plans for additional interviews on ''Charcoal Industry''. Next conversation: ''Timber Industry''? (logging; sawmills/lumber) Other? 2. ''Signage'' - historical markers, Next steps to initiate signage program. Timing? Staggered?

      General Discussion...
      Sara Robinson will speak with Leonard LaClaire regarding an individual follow-up interview about his intimate knowledge of the charcoal-making process. Pleun will speak with Eliot Sherman regarding his willingness to be interviewed about his more contemporary experience with charcoal-making. Are there other local people who worked with him who might contribute to a second ''Charcoal Talk''? (We seem to remember Mark LaClaire saying he helped Eliot and that there were others ''from the Howard Bros. days'' who gave him guidance as well.)

      We can begin to reach out to people involved in the timber business (logging, sawing lumber, etc.) for the next ''Embodied History'' industry conversation. Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill recorded two sawyers who worked with the Kirley brothers in the Slarrow Mill in the 1970's, Barry Black and Bill Pearson, in 2022, talking about their experience at the mill. We could ask Barry Black who else might be important contributors to the ''Timber Industry'' conversation. Were there any other industries that should/could be covered which have living representatives who are potentially available to convene?

      Regarding signage: our goal is to create some sample historic signage to mark a few sites explored recently in ''A Sense of Where You Are...'' programming. For the most part they would be ''Identification'' markers, short descriptions visible from an automobile, except for one marker at a walker's height on a trail in Still Corner in East Leverett, which could potentially have more interpretative information. Generally, the ID signs would be a sentence with a QR code for further interpretation and background on the site. Potential markers include the Tannery on Roaring Brook in East Leverett, The Slarrow Sawmill and Graves' Ironworks on the Sawmill River in North Leverett and the Marvel Mill on Cave Hill Road. Additionally, the Town Pound would receive a restoration of the original wood sign as well as an ''identification marker''. The idea would be to have the markers installed before the end of the 250th Anniversary year.

      Pleun will inquire of the fabricator she has identified about the possibility of having black letters on white background, though the sign is aluminum. Susan will contact Bill Rathbun to learn about the font and design parameters he followed in creating the National Register Historic District signs. the biggest hurdle will be contacting and working with the property owners to develop the language. Pleun is willing to help with these contacts. and this process. She will be developing descriptions for the online programming for the website reorganization, so will be familiar with potential facts and language.

    • LHS Collection Inventory - LHS Collection Inventory - Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and Field Family Museum collections inventoried and digitized. Status? Next steps? Raise additional funding? Speak with archivist ''Bob'' (and Brian Cooke IT advisor to the town?) about '' Rescarta'' shareware?

      General Discussion...
      Olivia will begin work soon as the new digital cataloguer for the summer, under the CPA funded inventory of Leverett's historical archives project.

    • Preservation Planning - Preservation Planning for Leverett's Historical assets: Updates on: Field Family Museum Ad Hoc Committee; Moore's Corner School House (LHS); Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill ''Heritage Park & Nature Trail''; Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, Rattlesnake Gutter Road restoration

  4. Access to Historical Commission meetings -

    • LHC Meeting format - LHC meeting access - https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09; Decide whether to have in-person option at Town Hall or online only. July 10, 2023 meeting to visit CPA funded sites?

      General Discussion...
      LHC members will meet to tour the CPA funded sites at the 7/10/23 meeting. We will meet at 6pm at the Field Museum to begin the rounds. SM will notify the relevant people at the sites of the date and approximate times in advance.

  5. New Business

    • Leverett 250th in 2024 - Leverett 250th Anniversary update: Souvenirs, ''Hidden History'', etc..

      General Discussion...
      SM, SR and AT gave an update on 250th planning. There is interest in doing something for Leverett like Whately's online ''Hidden History'' mapping. All ideas welcome!

  6. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Thu, May 25, at 7:00 PM "LHC Web Subcommittee" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      2. Mon, Jun 12, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      3. Mon, Jul 10, at 6:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- CANCELLED -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      4. Mon, Aug 14, at 6:30 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      5. Mon, Sep 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      6. Tue, Sep 19, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 9:11 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, Jul 18, 2023