Historical Commission minutes for December 1, 2020
Present: Diane Provenz, Sonia Morrison, Celeste Watman, Gail Gelburd, Judi Mabee
Guests: Lynn Geane, Geoff Pigman
Absent: Thomas Ragusa
Called to order at 9:55 am
Meeting minutes of November 3, 2020 approved with corrections
Junior Historical Society: Discussed forming a group for children in our area to learn more about town history. Sonia suggested possible funding for this through our eligibility for Farmington River Grant though Taconic Foundation. Lynne will research this – the application date is January 10th. Sonia suggested contacting Kathy Bork at the library to see if she would be interested in leading this new group.
Grants: Diane questioned whether we should apply for both grants through the Otis Cultural Council. A motion was passed to inquire before December 15th to see if both grants are available.
Knox Trail Video: Diane said Jessica, Josh and Ellen met in November and watched historical films to see how they were scripted. Agreed they should have narrator, scenery or image photos, and interviews. Suggestions for interviews would be Thomas Ragusa, Bernard Drew, Mr. Keller from FRRSD, Western MA Hill town Hikers, Thomas Cameron, and Maryanne Mitchell – a descendant of General Henry Knox, to name a few. Hoping to have a copy of the script in December, draft and shooting to begin in January. Sonia suggested we show the bigger history of the trail starting with its use by Native Indians, as a road to the West to reach Canada during the French and Indian War through the widening of it to accommodate canons in the Revolutionary War. Sonia believes Thomas Cameron and Joy Brown may have information regarding Indian tribe use and she will contact them. She also noted that the trail was still used after the Revolutionary War. Discussion regarding who’s voice to use as the narrator. Gail and Geoff suggested that reading the script would help decide what style voice should be used.
East Otis Schoolhouse: Diane will reach out Steve McAllister to see where this stands. Sonia said that Margaret from Town Hall advised that funds collected by Bill Dyer will need to go into a different account and not into our revolving account. She will speak to the selectmen to get an explanation why these donations can’t be included with others we have received.
Grants: Gail worked on Feigenbaum Grant and Celeste did editing – We need financials and letter of 501C3 for OPT. Question whether it has to go before the select-board. Diane will check. Sonia said we should run it by them anyway. Geoff will be the point person for this grant. He will reach out to Lynn to check population changes in the summer, second homeowners, tourists etc. Gail will also do some investigating. Judi and Geoff have sent information to Bonnie regarding the East Otis Historical District and Sonia will speak to Bonnie regarding the the MA Historical Grant for the East Otis Schoolhouse. Celeste will check on the Otis Cultural Council Grant.
St. Paul’s: Diane has spoken to Larry about the replacement of a damaged board and using John Field tree service for the work rather than renting a lift ourselves. Diane will call Larry to discuss.
New Business: Diane said OPT sent the “Giving Tuesday” email out and got a donation right away. Sonia thought we should share the letter on our own Facebook pages and she will see if Lynn can add it to the Town website since it is OPT and not the Historical Commission.
Diane suggested we send out holiday greetings to thank everyone who has donated. We will add new names to our donor list in the newspaper. Sonia had questions about the Meditation Garden proposed for the Community Center. Will the Preservation Committee accept the addition of growing certain types of herbs that were used in the past. Diane said she spoke to Bonny about this, and the fact that historic buildings in Stockbridge have gardens. She felt it should be ok and wouldn’t interfere with getting grants. Diane will pursue discussion with owners of the Squire Filley House regarding land behind the church. Gail thought we should put out a call to artists for landscape designs for the garden and send out an application for mock-ups of what they envision. Diane suggested we have time to investigate and should put it in the Otis Observer to get local artists interested.
Budget: Diane said we need to work up ideas for what we will need most for our various projects. The attorney for town will meet with attorney for Mr. Rosenblum regarding naming rights and Sonia believes that this issue should be on the warrant at this years town meeting. Also CPA should be on the warrant again this year even though it is less money than previous years.
New Business: Discussed creating a power-point presentation showing what we have accomplished. Should it be shown at the town meeting? Diane suggested she could send it via email before the meeting. Gail thought we might begin a “Notice Otis” series. It would show we are hoping to bring events to the town and school, and doing special events. This would help to push through CPA at the meeting. Diane suggested an on-line art event, video with Bonnie, or an interview with Geoff about his new book. We can use some to the video from last year on the Historic District. We can reach out to other Historical Commissions to see if we could post on their websites. Geoff suggested musical series: chorals, mini acapella, jazz songs etc. Maybe a January through April art series would have interest. Sonia would see if Celebration Committee would be able to finance. Loretta advised there is a gentleman in Blandford who does talks in period costumes,
Next meeting January 5, 2021 at 10am
Meeting adjourned 12:35 pm.