Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, November 13, 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)

  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Edie Field, Honorary, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Carole Desanti, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 8:00 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: 8:52 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

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

      General Discussion...
      'Growing Preservation Partnerships' - Ann Tweedy reported on the CPC reception of the Historical Commission's proposal - some confusion about the prospect of collaborating, the 'place-holder' concept and the hypothetical budget figures. The CPC decided that they would like to set up a meeting with Stuart Saginor, from the Community Preservation Coalition, Danielle Barshak (CPC chair), Ann Tweedy LHC rep to CPC and Susan Mareneck, (LHC chair) to clarify some of these questions. One of the questions raised was about whether the CPC could work with the LHC on developing procedures and then approve funding for the project? Another was - in reference to a 'Compliance Form' shared by the Boston CPC - who initiates it? Since the LHC holds the Historic Preservation Restrictions on CPC investments in preserving Leverett's historical assets and is charged with monitoring them annually, developing improved procedures for the application/approval and follow-up would be most productive as a joint effort between the two commissions to develop a 'tool' in which all have confidence that it will provide the protection needed and also help to educate all parties (applicant, Historical and Community Preservation Commissions, residents).

      Suggestions for the Historical Commission's questions to discuss with Stuart Saginor from the Community Preservation Coalition and Danielle Barshak, chair of the Leverett Community Preservation Committee, to include:

      1. How the initiative be funded under CPC 'General' (Historic Preservation? could such a tool be used for other categories: Recreation, Open Space, Affordable Housing as well?) or CPC 'Administrative'?

      2. If the creation of the 'tool' is funded through 'Admin', how is future funding to institute the review process permanently funded? Could there be such an entity created - a 'Historic Preservation Trust'? - (such as the 'Affordable Housing Trust') to which funds could be allocated annually for monitoring and compliance?

      3. The goal is to have a better evaluative process, both during the application (which would include a professional Conditions Assessment, would require a documented 'Maintenance Plan' and disclosure that would cover design, fundraising, organizational management for the future of the entity seeking funds) and monitoring phases.

      4. We understand from other towns, that when such a more comprehensive procedure is instituted, the previously funded properties will not be subject to the new requirements and that each will need individual evaluation and follow-up, but hope the best practices will secure the town's future preservation investments. Historic New England recommends that Conditions Assessments (CA) be done regularly for previously conserved properties on a 5 year cycle. That would mean revisiting the cemeteries previously restored, as well as several properties with HPRs. (Two of which are currently updating their own CA's with privately secured funds.). Town-owned properties which received CPA funds for rehabilitation do not have PR's; but according to MA Historical Commission could agree to a MOU with the LHC/CPC regarding future maintenance.


      Moore's Corner School House - The Historical Society (LHS) is waiting for the fall town meeting in hopes of securing matching funds for the $8,000 'Systems Analysis' funding received from MA Cultural Facilities fund.

      Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill is resubmitting their application to the CPC with clarifications. Ann reports that the version received seems unchanged. Susan Lynton will check and make sure they have the revised version.

      Both of these requests have support from LHC members.

    • 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 (private? public?); Identifying next ''embodied history'' topic (timber industry? include logging, milling), identify participants, schedule a time and place to share stories? or individual interviews? 2. ''Signage'': current status? (Sunraise printing in Hadley?)

      General Discussion...
      Creation of a program that includes excerpts from the video recording of the 'Charcoal Talk' in February 2023 will be created and perhaps include a few live people as well as the history of the Howard's charcoal industry and additional pictures. A target date is June 2024. It can happen at the library or?

      Initiating a similar conversation among people connected to the 'Timber Industry' as part of the 'Embodied History' project, an off-shoot of the 'A Sense of Where You Are...' program series, will shoot for a February 2024 date. Where? LCA, Library, North Leverett Baptist Church all discussed. Who? A list has been drafted.
      Outreach will be initiated to individuals. Was there a 'coffin' maker in Leverett?

      Pleun is working on signage descriptions and will reach out locally to see if fabrication can happen nearby.

    • 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.

  4. Access to Historical Commission meetings -

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

      General Discussion...
      The topic came up of privately-owned historic properties (cemeteries, buildings, etc,) that are not well-cared for. Since it is LHC's mandate to 'protect and preserve Leverett's heritage' are all historic properties our concern? The Field Library/Museum is in the process of being addressed through a circuitous process which began with LHC supporting LHS in its efforts to clarify use and care-taker roles. Now the Field Tavern is a building of concern. LHC has reached out to the owners to ask if we can provide support. The Cemetery Association has been not been involved in cemetery conservation in the recent past, since Edie stopped championing it. The investments in repair and restoration should be monitored (see 'Growing Preservation Partnerships' discussion).

    • 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...
      'Heritage Site & Nature Trail' project of Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill is underway. The Sawmill itself is the recipient of several MACultural Facilities grants for evaluation and design; they have been fundraising for matches. Moore's Corner Schoolhouse has been active with robust programming throughout the summer and is having 'systems' evaluated through MA Cultural Council funding. The Field Library/Museum Ad Hoc Committee continues its 'discovery' phase.

  6. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Dec 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      2. Mon, Jan 8, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      3. Mon, Feb 12, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      4. Mon, Mar 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      5. Mon, Apr 8, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      6. Mon, May 13, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 8:52 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 Wednesday, Jan 3, 2024