Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, February 12, 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 7:00 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 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Julie Shivley
  • Linda Whiting
  • Sam Black
  • Cynthia Baldwin

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:13 PM

Meeting closed: 8:43 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • HC Budget line proposal - Discuss presentation to Selectboard and Finance on 2/27/24.

      General Discussion...
      Research on positive impact of historic preservation on property values hard to find. Most done in early 2000's. Stockbridge is a good example of a town which has made a success of preserving its traditional downtown. It is a good example of the Historical Commission partnering with private owners. It is often helpful to have a well-known personality such as Erastus Salisbury Field, to build an argument for economic benefit (in the form of historic tourism for instance) on.

      1. HC_Budget_Line_Request_FY2025_submitted1-12-24.pdf
    • 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; Update on'Timber Industry' - February 10, 2024 conversation. 2. ''Signage'': Update - Pleun and others.

      General Discussion...
      Gathering 'Embodied History' continued on 2/10 at NLBC with 30+ people attending a conversation about Leverett and nearby region's timber industry. The contributions ranged from forest management to injuries and death in an often dangerous vocation to contemporary million-dollar harvesting machines that pluck trees out of the ground without chainsaws. There will be a 3+ hour video when Eva has time to edit. SM will write thank you's and follow-up with releases for those who did not complete on site. We plan to schedule smaller groups interviews when Sara returns in the summer for those who requested it (Stone, Stratford, Carey)

      Pleun will update on signage at next meeting.

    • 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: March events: Pancake breakfast 3/2; Pictorial Postmark 3/5-9; Birthday Party, 3/9/24. Historical Commission float in 250th parade?

      General Discussion...
      Susan mentioned that she had contacted Gary Billings about driving a tractor/hay wagon that LHC could ride on in historical costume - characters from any era - maybe build a charcoal kiln on a pop-up dome? Other ideas?

    • Town website - Update on redesign of Historical Commission page on town website.

  4. Access to Historical Commission meetings -

  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 Hubbard Tavern?).

      General Discussion...
      Research needs to be done on the Field Tavern to ascertain whether it, like the Slarrow Sawmill and several houses (formerly taverns as well as residences), is a pre-Revolutionary War 'witness property'. After numerous attempts to elicit response from the Field family now living in Shelburne Falls, the HC is concerned that 'demolition-by-neglect' may be the strategy being pursued. since it is such a historic property, centrally located in Leverett Center National Register Historic District, and because it holds the promise of being adaptively reused as senior housing, community center, local eatery, etc.. in light of the town's current 'Comprehensive Planning' initiative, we are in favor of action to preserve this building, whatever it might be, as the nation's 250th approaches in 2026. Could it be a requisite that any developer of the Kittredge estate be required to take on restoration of the tavern? Could we petition the Selectboard and Assessors to 'take' the tavern and put it into receivership with someone who would save it in exchange for a future interest in the property once it is income-producing? Something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

    • Update on Leverett's Historic Properties - Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill and ''Heritage Site & Nature Trail''(FONLS) - 7:30pm Rattlesnake Gutter Trust (RGT), Rattlesnake Gutter Road restoration update Field Family Museum Ad Hoc Committee; Moore's Corner School House (LHS); and Field Tavern.

      General Discussion...
      Julie Shively filled in the HC on the Historical Society's 2024-25 CPA funding request for $24,500. to paint the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards. She discussed the previous funding, which was mostly for steeple replacement with painting done to the best of volunteers ability, but not maintained in a rigorous manner, this needing to be redone 20 years later. The HC members moved, on Susan Mareneck's suggestion to approve writing a letter of support to the CPC pending a review of the application.

      Sam Black and Cynthia Baldwin from the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) update the commission on the CPA funds allocated at last year's town meeting for the 'Heritage Park & Nature Trail' below the Slarrow Sawmill. They asked that the LHC support the FONLS' 2024-25 CPA funding request for planning and design of the rehabilitation of the sawmill itself. The group has secured two MA Cultural Facilities grants to professionally assess the condition and make recommendations as well as create a plan of rehabilitation to preserve the mill. They are asking the CPC for $24,500. to augment the MA Cultural Council monies to design the project. LHC members agreed to review their proposal and write a letter of support if there are no objections.

      MOTION, moved by Susan Mareneck, seconded by Carole Desanti: Moved to write a letter of support for the Leverett Historical Society's 2024-25 application for CPA funding upon review of the proposal.

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

      MOTION, moved by Susan Mareneck, seconded by Carole Desanti: Moved to write a letter of support for the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill's 2024-25 proposal for CPA funding upon review of the application.

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

      1. Letter_of_support_for_CPC_funding_2024_LHS_req-.docx
  6. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Mar 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      2. Mon, Apr 8, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      3. Mon, May 13, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      4. Mon, Jun 10, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Online only: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 8:43 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 Thursday, Apr 4, 2024