Charlestown Township
Historical & Architectural Review Board
Wisner/ Rapp House
Minutes of Thursday, July 21, 2020

HARB/ Historical Commission met on July 21st at 4 pm. The meeting was held outside the Wisner/ Rapp House at 3032 Yellow Springs Road. Those members who were present were Melissa Dicranian, Dale Frens, Nancy Long, Rosemary Philips, John Pittock, Fran Rodgers, and Cindy Thompson. Tom Fillippo, Sheila Klement, Michael Richter and Dan Wright were absent. Nancy Pittock attended as a guest.

Chairman Rosemary Philips introduced our new member, Melissa Dicranian, who is co-owner of the former Desfor Farm on Merlin Road. Ms. Dicranian expressed her pleasure in joining HARB and her long interest of the work of the Commission.

Each member also gave a brief statement of their position on the Board.

In old business, Rosemary asked Dale for an update of work at the Township Revolutionary Cemetery. Dale reported that the BOS has asked the firm, New Traditions, working there become township employees as they continue the renovations on the Cemetery wall. Rob Beebe and Tim Angelo represent that firm. The project was on hold until 2 weeks ago. Removing vegetation and trees had been done about a year ago and Dale observed there is now new growth that will have to be taken care of. At that time, it was determined that much of the wall must be replaced and that specific type of stone was necessary for that. This should be a one time project and therefore this work is cost effective.
Dale also updated the Board on the condition of Swiss Pines. He and Nancy Long did a tour on the outside of the location. There are several buildings on the property and those structures vary in their condition. The gardens were in good shape considering the care being given. Dale feels that this is a dramatic and important asset for the Township and should be restored. The question is whether the Township would be interested in acquiring the property. It is part of the Bartschi Foundation and under the trusteeship of Bill and Kim Coyle at present. The Township has expressed interest in working with the Foundation to explore options for its future use.

A question was asked about the state of affairs at the Nature Center. It is still under the ownership of the bank.

In new business, Dale talked about the replacement of the roof on the Farmhouse on Brightside Farm where a red metallic Azek roof is proposed. There is a Box Cornice section with crown molding and Dale suggests that the molding could be replaced in Spanish cedar and painted and then be incorporated into the Cornice. A recent email from Supervisor Kevin Kuhn expressed concern with this solution because of on -going maintenance. The Historical Commission supports Dale’s recommendation for retaining the box cornice and crown molding as these architectural features make the farmhouse something more than a drab 19th century farmhouse. The Pyle family were important gentlemen farmers in the township, owning large Brightside farms for more than a hundred years and raising prize-winning stock and poultry. The many surviving farm buildings attest to this. It may be possible to recreate the molding from weather resistant material. Whenever repairs and maintenance have been done, effort has been made to repair or replace distinctive architectural features on the most significant historic buildings on the farm. We would expect to see this effort continued.
Dale also noted that other buildings on the farm, such as the chicken houses, need to be evaluated.

John Pittock moved to adjourn the meeting.