Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, December 11, 2023, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Carole Desanti, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Eva Gibavic, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Pleun Bouricius

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:04 PM

Meeting closed: 8:56 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • CPA Application - Discuss 'Growing Preservation Partnerships' draft proposal to Community Preservation Commission.

      General Discussion...
      LHC's CPA proposal, 'Growing Preservation Partnerships' was reviewed at the CPC meeting on 12/3/23 w/ Stuart Saginor of the Community Preservation Coalition present on zoom. The CPC questioned whether it was the purview of the Historical Commission to propose a partnership with them to improve the efficacy of the monitoring practice for the town's investments in preserving its historic assets with the townspeople's CPA funds. Stuart Saginor's view was that the administrative funds apportioned yearly to the Community Preservation Committee could be used for such a purpose at the discretion of the CPC but only if initiated by them.

      The LHC will try to figure out a path forward towards an effective monitoring process to present to the town for consideration. One suggestion is a 'preservation trust' overseen by the Historical Commission. Ann Tweedy looked into what would be required but did not find enabling legislation such as exists for Conservation and Affordable Housing Commissions. Additional research into whether such might be proposed (with 'adaptive reuse' as a goal?) is one avenue to explore (perhaps in consultation with other towns? Stuart Saginor seemed to indicate that many towns have similar dilemmas). Another possibility would be to propose a line item in the town budget with the objective of maintaining value in the town's historic preservation investments. If the Historical Commission is mandated to monitor those investments on an annual basis, the rationale to institute procedures that would give clear requirements for recipients of CPA preservation funds and enforcement power to the town body (Historical Commission) charged with oversight, makes sense.

      Ann Tweedy will try to follow up with Stuart Saginor to see if there are any other possibilities for funding such a collaboration between CPC and LHC to improve the mandated process. It was suggested by a HC member that, since holding the Historic Preservation Restrictions for the town, which the Historical Commission does now, is not effective under current conditions, the Commission feels it is obligated to create a better process rather than continuing one that does not preserve value for the town's investment of its CPA funds. Susan M and Ann T. will also talk to MA Historical Commission regarding the issue and will bring a possible proposal to the town for a line item budget to more effectively monitor CPA historic preservation investments to the LHC meeting on January 8. Budget requests are due to the town by January 12, 2024.

    • Industrial History Programming - UPDATE - Scheduling CPA-funded programming: ASOWYA (''A Sense of Where You Are: Getting to Know Leverett's Industrial Past'') 1. Embodied History: Charcoal Talk presentation June 2024 (public); choose date/venue; Next ''embodied history'' topic: 'Timber Industry' - February conversation(s) - date/venue; collect contact info for potential participants, send invitations. 2. ''Signage'': Current status - Pleun report. (Sunraise printing in Hadley?) Contact owners of sites to develop text.

      General Discussion...
      'Embodied History' research and programming on Leverett's Timber Industry will include all aspects from logging to sawing lumber to forest management to local products made from the process: sawdust, furniture, commercial wooden boxes (Beaman-Marvel). Sara will add names to the proposed list of local folks who worked in the industry or may have memories from relatives who did. There are saws at the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse Museum and at the Slarrow Sawmill in North Leverett. The Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) plan to do a series of articles on the local timber industry as well. A video was recorded at the sawmill in 2022 with two local people who worked with Hug and Lloyd Kirley in the 1970's and 80's. Sara is willing to contact folks; Pleun will write up a description to invite local experts to a Saturday gathering in February, either 2/3 or 10 in the afternoon to reminisce. If there is a large response, we might want to divide the gatherings into smaller groups - possibly one focused on local experience, skills and knowledge, the other on a regional loggers/timber industry/industriall commerce network. Many issues touched on by this topic are relevant today beyond its historical importance to Leverett, such as forest management and the climate context. Diamond Match owned land in Leverett from the 18th to the 20th c..

      Pleun spoke with Sunraise printing in Hadley about making signage. Depending on the type of sign they offer a good alternative to the original fabricator found in upstate NY. For interpretative signs, we may need to invent a sturdy design since they are angled and can attract moisture, dirt and graffitti. Rocky Adriance is a possible collaborator. The identification signs are more straighforward; the highway department has already agreed to put in posts. Pleun presented some options for laying out the descriptive language. There was agreement that not a specific link for wach sign, but a general url for the town website where they can find the Historical Commission page on which there would be specific links to more information on each site. We might use the illustration from the turbine patented by O.M. Pike and S.S. Graves in 1868 which we have been using for the 'A Sense of Where You Are, Exploring Leverett's Historic Industrial Landscapes' logo. Pleun will write the texts. Susan M. will ask Bill Rathbun what font he used for the NRHD signs.

    • LHS Collection Inventory - LHS Collection Inventory - Update on Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and Field Family Museum collections inventory and digitization. Example of ''Jan'', researcher who used the collections during the summer.

  3. LHC Business

    • Leverett 250th in 2024 - Leverett 250th Anniversary update

    • Town website - Update on redesign of Historical Commission page on town website. Pros/cons of LHC email address change.

      General Discussion...
      Susan M related news from the new accountant that several of the budget lines belonging to the LHC had been closed by Margie and the auditor: less than $50 in the Historical Assets Survey acct., $100 in a donation from a resident; $400 in '10 to 1' book sales that LHC had voted to donate to the LHS for maintanence of the last remaining one-room schoolhouse, now a LHS museum and the signage design funds left from the 2018 SHRAB Veteran's Recognition grant for which Bill Rathbun had done quite a bit of work but had never invoised the LHC due to unforeseen circumstances.

      Though Susan registered a protest that funds were removed without knowledge of or consultation by the LHC, only two of the lines were reinstated. That the town accounts 'were a mess' and 'needed to be cleaned up' were the reasons given (not that the LHC had any responsibility for that situation...). We were also informed that a town body cannot 'donate'. Therefore, the LHS can invoice the LHC for an expense for the Schoolhouse and we can pay it, but not give them the funds to do it themselves.

  4. Access to Historical Commission meetings -

    • In-person, online meeting format - LHC members discuss current status and future for LHC meetings

      General Discussion...
      LHC will meet online through the winter months.

  5. New Business

    • National 250th Anniversary - Begin discussion of LHC interest/involvement in national semiquincentennial in 2026. Leverett has several 'witness properties' (Field Tavern, Slarrow Sawmill and ?).

      General Discussion...
      It has been brought ot our attention that the 'Hubbard Tavern' on Juggler Meadow Road - where a major development is being proposed - may also be a pre-Revolutionary War 'witness property'.

    • Update on Leverett's Historic Properties - Field Family Museum Ad Hoc Committee; Moore's Corner School House (LHS); Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill and ''Heritage Site & Nature Trail''(FONLS); Rattlesnake Gutter Trust (RGT), Rattlesnake Gutter Road restoration and Field Tavern.

      General Discussion...
      Discussion of how to follow-up on the Field Tavern situation. Susan will consult Judy Todd and possibly Linda Jablonski to see what they think about it as they may know the owner's daughter.

  6. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Jan 8, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      2. Mon, Feb 12, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      3. Mon, Mar 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      4. Mon, Apr 8, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      5. Mon, May 13, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      6. Mon, Jun 10, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 8:56 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, Jan 30, 2024