Archive for December, 2018

Hi Everyone,
The meeting we had on November 17, our annual Membership Meeting, went off very well, and between that conference and our regular monthly meeting on Nov. 28, we have found ourselves in a mood of renewed optimism about the building project. This is the planned museum and Memory Garden Park on the Petrolia Square, which we have been brainstorming for over three years now… and on which we are finally making headway.

At the Annual Meeting, Thomas Clark, Building Project Director, gave a talk as to the status of things. He was kind enough to share with me the speech as written.  I will follow Tommy’s words  (which I did edit slightly) with a preview of the plans for the museum itself.
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Greetings! I am Tommy Clark. I am your current Building Project Director.  Love the title; here’s how I view my job. It’s not unlike a cop directing traffic at a busy intersection.

Here’s where we stand:

Becky Enberg has pledged the land, two adjacent lots located in downtown Petrolia, provided the museum is built within the next 20 years.

Kathy Major has secured $15,000 in up-front grant money, which is sufficient to cover the County fees associated with the project.

The engineering firm of Omsberg & Preston and associates have pledged a total of $20,000 in engineering services towards the project. These services include:

Lot Merger Application.

Sewage disposal testing, design, and report preparation.

A Grading, Drainage, and Erosion Control Plan.

A Field Survey of the property, Monumentation, and a Record of Survey.

A Building Permit Application Package.

And Structural Analysis of the building plan.

To date, the fieldwork for the Site Survey and the sewage disposal testing have been completed.

The lot merger application has been approved by the county, pending final document preparation, survey check and recording. The overall site design for the property will commence as these preliminary steps are completed.

The property is located in an SRA  (State Responsibility Area) which deals with wildland fire safety requirements, and it will impact on various design elements to the property as well as the Museum building. Given our proximity to the Fire Station, our board has decided to engage a land attorney to look into the possible mitigation of some of the SRA requirements, and have set a preliminary budget of $400-$500 for this exercise.

Brian Gaynor has been suggested by Jim Groeling for this purpose.

Our Board of Directors is actively moving towards final details resolution on one of two building design studies that have been generously donated by Jim Groeling. Our board is leaning towards design #1, with slight modifications and final design elements being actively discussed by the board.

The task before us, the construction of a permanent museum, is daunting. On the face of it, cost estimates for the total undertaking run between 250 thousand to 400 thousand dollars. Furthermore, by one estimate, it will require 10 to 20 thousand dollars a year to maintain and sustain the museum.

It is widely held by the board that the launch of this project be accompanied by sufficient funding, and/or pledges of labor and materials to insure its successful completion.

As a first step, a contract to engage Jim Groeling to produce a working set of blueprints for the building [for a very friendly price, which is confidential]. This has the approval of the Board, and the contract as written has the cursory blessings of Ed Gilda, Attorney at Law.

We have two pledges of Douglas-fir timber totaling 4000 board feet from Mattole Valley ranchers. I am certain that among our 200-plus member Historical Society, many more pledges of  labor and materials will be forthcoming, to help bring down the dollar cost of the project.

Throughout the entire known history of the Mattole Valley, from indigenous times to the present, her occupants regardless of stripe have shared the common characteristics of  fierce determination, rugged self-sufficiency, a can-do spirit, and above all a willingness to come together and pitch in for any cause deemed worthy. I believe that the building of a permanent Museum meets these criteria, as it serves the purpose of the collecting, preservation, and dissemination of the entire known history of the Mattole Valley, for future generations as well as visitors to the Mattole.

As I consider the current crop of citizens of the Mattole Valley, I would have to say: Yes we can and should do this!

Here then, are the design studies, and my good friend Jim Groeling to share his thoughts on them…

Thank You.

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Jim showed the group his two preliminary plans, which the Board had already had a chance to look over (except for the four new members voted in at this same meeting–see below) . We agreed that we did like Plan 1 better so I will show you a sneak preview of it here.

Look at this Plan with the awareness that it is a very rough idea, and nothing Jim Groeling, nor we, would consider close to a final word; in fact, Jim will come up with an engineer-approval-ready plan probably within the coming month. I am only posting these here so you can see what we are thinking about and why we are getting excited about it all. Also, of course, if anything appears particularly interesting (off or on) to any Historical Society followers or members, please let us know!

And look at this with our recommended changes in mind: First, we have lengthened (west to east, or left to right) the building by 4′ for a main rectangular footprint (minus decks) of 24 N-S x 36 E-W. The extra 4′ would be added to the main hall, making its width 26′. Second, instead of a separate gabled roof over the restroom push-out on the east side, we will continue the uniform-level shed roof over the porch all the way around front (south) and east sides, which will completely cover the couple of short outdoor steps between the east exit door and the restroom door. It will also enable the Third suggested change: pushing the bathroom, which is half in the main rectangular plan in the original version, out eastward to end flush with the end of the porch, thus adding about 48 s.f. to the 864 s.f. of the rectangle for a total square footage of 912 or so. The main display room would be 24′ deep by 26′ wide at the entry; minus the utilitarian/HVAC room in the right rear, that’s about 480 s.f., with around 80 linear feet of wall display space. A Fourth change is reversing the positions of the two rooms on the west side: the library/research/study room will be on the sunnier south side, and the storage/display prep room on the back. Also, putting in a door between the two rooms, rather than wasting wall display footage on a door to the storage room from the main hall, is suggested.



JimG,plan1,NorthJimG,plan1,WestJimG,plan1,SouthJimG,plan1,EastJimG,plan2,East,preferredPorchRoofThe first EAST view is of the originally planned porch roofline from Plan 1; the sketch below it is from Plan 2, but is the shape we have proposed with our second modification, mentioned above.
Although we are very happy about these plans in general, and have left our most recent two meetings with a sense that this project is in good hands, there are, of course, a couple of general building-philosophy questions that have us occasionally asking ourselves, “Huh?” The main one is probably the question of general scale and expense. Thomas and I visited a friendly Patti Fleschner, Director of the Trinidad Museum, ensconced in her enviable surroundings at the greeting desk of that beautiful building. Patti shared with us, among many other edifying remarks, that one thing they regretted was not having a bigger building from the get-go. Once the site plan is in place, and utilities established, permits obtained, etc., it might be harder to expand than to just go for what’s wanted in the first place.
Well, we have left the option open for further expansion to the west, which is basically a plain wall with nothing outside of it. Perhaps such an enlargement wouldn’t happen for a couple of generations, but it’s good to know that it could.

But I am thinking of a more general philosophy question: Should we try to build the museum and grounds of our (current) dreams, since we need to raise a bunch of money anyway–should we shoot for the moon, go for a comfortably roomy floor space, have a beautiful custom-made design with specialty materials (often donated or locally sourced, which doesn’t add to the materials cost so much as complicating things, and in some cases, costing quite a bit more to accomplish)–or should we start as small as possible, keeping things uniform and simple, just so that we can get a fire-safe foothold there on the Square in downtown Petrolia, per the original wishes of the land donor?

Heck, Buck Miner doesn’t see why we shouldn’t have a museum there for about $40,000–fire-proof and all… “You just get a rectangular metal building kit, put it on a poured slab, throw it up with volunteer labor, and there you go!” I reminded him that now in the 21st century, and with our location right out there in front of everyone, we’re getting to that cost with permits and property legalities alone, not to mention installing utility systems (water, septic, electricity)… it is a whole new world for making a public building. The SRA requirements, as well as ADA (handicapped access) guidelines must be considered; liability is always an issue and we must be careful that everything is safe and scrutiny-proof for any agency that might be interested. Also, volunteers for work parties are fine, but we will need professionals to oversee essential elements.

Yet of course, the simpler, cheaper path would happen sooner, while a more elegant plan, costing more, will take that much longer to even begin–though I don’t doubt that eventually we could raise the sums we need.

So let us know if you have any ideas. You can reach me at my cell and message phone, 707-601-7300… or comment below.

You can see that Thomas and the other Building Committee members–Gary Fish Peterson, Bob Stansberry, Thomas Dunklin, and Kay Raplenovich–have some work cut out for them. However, with our four new Board members (including Thomas D. and Kay), all our “burdens” seem a little bit lighter.

Here are a few lines about each of our new Directors, and a fine bunch they are! A very condensed version of these paragraphs appeared in limited space in the print newsletter (#43 of Now… and Then), which is being mailed out this week. These notes are from my Minutes of the Nov. 17 Membership Meeting:

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Next, the new candidates spoke their pieces. Unfortunately, our fourth Director candidate, Lori Cook, was not present, but her name was still on the ballot as she had expressed eager interest. Cindy Lyman offered that besides Lori’s solid, nay, stellar, record as co-head (with her husband John Cook) of the Grange Beef ‘n’ Beans Barbecues for many years and her well-known Petrolia Vol. Fire Dept. service, that she is an incredible git-‘er-done fundraiser who has consistently rolled up her sleeves and gotten right to work to make benefit events profitable.
Thomas Dunklin, returned to the Valley to live at Jim Groeling’s old woodshop down on Lighthouse Rd. after 20 years or so in town, mentioned the potential for a barn-raising spirit with getting this museum built. So many talented wood-workers and builders here! We can build community while building a museum, as Nick Tedesco is doing with his recently-purchased home (Lita Cook’s old place) right there downtown—having volunteer work parties. Thomas is a geologist and can contribute the long view of geological history. He mentioned that there are only 14 triple-junction tectonic plate intersections around the globe, and we are on one of them. He said he will be happy to give geologic tours. He works well with Gary Fish, as they have both been heavily involved with the Mattole Restoration Council. He has a lot of old photos. He was friends with preeminent Humboldt (and further) photo historian Peter Palmquist and shared with him a real love of historical pictures. He can clean up and blow up photos to museum-ready condition.


Jamie Roscoe said that he was just getting ready to retire when Thomas Clark collared him with the question of service on our Board. He taught history at Eureka High, and at HSU for 20 years. His grandmother Martha Roscoe was a standout researcher and recorder of Mattole Valley and Humboldt Co. history, and a founding member of the Humboldt County Historical Society. His uncle was local history author Neb Roscoe (of course Neb was much more than that, but that’s another story), and his entire family reads like a who’s-who of Mattole Valley history. (Jamie didn’t say that; he mentioned all his close family members and relatives, which do read that way!) He listened to his elders—that was his point. He is an expert on local Native American matters, and will bring that knowledge and those connections to our Society, too. He still spends a lot of time up in Bayside but is basically planning on retiring to more time in the Mattole, as he has a couple of family places to stay out here.
Thomas mentioned that Wiyot tribal chairperson Cheryl Seidner, a good friend of his, recommended Jamie’s knowledge of Native artifacts and local history—high praise.


Kay Raplenovich told us about some of her background. Although she has only been here a few years, coming here from Ohio with her husband Bob because their son Aaron had already found the Mattole Valley and settled in, she is very enthusiastic about this place. Kay taught classical voice for preschool ages up through adult professionals, and currently leads the Mattole Singers choral group. She has a lot of experience in grant writing, and has sat on Arts Councils in Ohio and in Washington, D.C. She has also been “the one” in her generation to collect her own family’s history, and notes that her ancestors were Mayflower Pilgrims. Her husband, Bob’s, ancestral home was Slovenia. They have taken trips and lived there for stints that have been amazing and eye-opening for Kay. She is an “organized worker bee who answers emails.”


Well, that’s our report re: the Board and our Petrolia development plans.

I would like to finish with a request that you consider a donation to our Building Plan. We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation. Any amount you can afford would be a blessing, but bequeathing a notable amount as a legacy would be a point of satisfaction for your friends and descendants forever. (Okay, maybe not a notable amount… a “breathtaking” amount would be better! Haha–well, anything at all is appreciated.)
We will be selling Memorial Bricks with names engraved in them soon, for our Memory Garden… but there are benches, rooms, tables, garden plots, etc., that will need naming, too!


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