The Historical Commission/HARB met on November 19th at the GVMS. Those members present were Dale Frens, Ann Kline, Rosemary Philips, John Pittock, Fran Rodgers, Cindy Thompson and Dan Wright. Tom Fillippo, Sheila Klement, Nancy Long and Michael Richter were not present. Peter Segal and Nancy Pittock were also present.
Rosemary Philips announced that Ann Kline had decided not to renew her appointment to the Commission as her term had expired. Rosemary expressed her thanks to Ann on behalf of all the Board for her dedication and hard work that Ann had done as a member. Linda Csete will advertise an opening on the Commission and that the applicant should be a township resident and preferably be someone who lives in on a historic property.
In new business, Peter Segal appeared before the Board to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness
to be issued for the home on 662 Church Road in the Charlestown Historic District in which he and Nancy Long reside.
Nancy could not be present because she was ill. The hearing concerned a partial roof replacement on the north side of
the house. Peter will be doing the work and be substituting the badly deteriorated cedar shakes with a copper roof.
His decision to replace the shakes was made because the 8 foot by 24 foot area gets no sun and does not dry out.
Dan Wright said that the area was not visible from the street nor by the neighbors and that the replacement could be subject to Township ordinances because it is on a historic site. Dale said that he had reviewed those ordinances and that the proposal was in keeping with them. He also discussed that even though copper was not used for roofing in the early 19th Century, tin, which was used, is no longer used. Cindy Thompson moved that the Certificate should be forwarded to the BOS and John Pittock seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously yes for the motion.
Also in old business, Dale Frens updated the Board on work being done at the Charlestown Cemetery. There are 2 steps in the bidding process to repair the cemetery wall and 6 firms have qualified to bid. Dale has worked with some of them and one of them has done work in the Township previously. There will be some changes in the wall structure. One change will be a sloping shape on the top stones. Also, a small informal area outside the wall will be laid out and used as a staging area for the work and have a metal gate to provide access to the cemetery. Bids for the work will be opened at the December BOS meeting and work could begin in March 2020. It is estimated that the work would take about 180 days and cost about $150,000.
Ann Kline updated us on the work which Dr. Laura Sherrod and her Kutztown University students performed at the cemetery on Charlestown Road. She brought a large illustrated color-coded poster showing different areas of the cemetery. Dr. Sherrod had done a previous study there in the fall of 2017 using GPR (ground penetrating radarmagnetometer and resistivity surveys to study possible mass burial sites of Revolutionary solders. Analysis showed a possible site, Two months ago, she contacted Charlestown Historical Society asking for permission to return to the cemetery so that she might conduct another resistivity test. She intended to compare our site to one she had studied at the Paoli Massacre site and compare the similarities /or dissimilarities. She has written and submitted an abstract to the EEGS ( Environmental & Engineering Geophysical Society) and will present her study at their 2020 conference. An archeological study would be necessary to substantiate definite proof of a mass burial site and it is so interesting that our cemetery has been studied. Ann worked closely with Dr. Sherrod and her students. CHS will receive a digital poster of the study for their archives.
Dale brought up the question of whether the BOS should check our ordinances to determine if they should be added to or altered. We do not wish to have an adversarial approach with owners of historical properties but try to work with them. Perhaps, a discussion with the BOS would be helpful to consider how neighborhoods have changed with new technology and cultural ideas.
Rosemary said that the Coyles, trustees of Swiss Pines, have not contacted Nancy Long about a site visit. One reason could be that the rehabilitation is such a major project.
The meeting was closed and our next scheduled meeting will be on January 21st