This just in from our friends at The Associated Press:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Blair Mountain Battlefield is coming off the National Register of Historic Places.Jacqueline Proctor with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History said Monday that the 1,600-acre site likely will be removed from the list sometime next month.
State officials were informally notified of the change on Thursday. Official notification is in the mail.
Following a public notice and 30-day comment period, the Logan County site of a bloody battle over union organizing in 1921 will be designated as eligible for listing.
The site was placed on the register in March. Efforts to remove it began after the number of objections was corrected to 30 of the 57 affected property owners.
Federal rules bar listing on the register if a majority oppose it.
Here’s an updated story from AP:
^By P.J. DICKERSCHEID=
^Associated Press Writer=
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Blair Mountain Battlefield’s brief listing on the National Register of Historic Places is coming to an end.
The 1,600-acre site of a bloody battle in southern West Virginia over union organizing in 1921 will likely be removed from the list sometime next month.
West Virginia Division of Culture and History Deputy Commissioner Jacqueline Proctor said Monday that state officials received e-mails Thursday indicating that official notification of the change was being mailed to the division’s director, Randall Reid-Smith.
Following a published legal notice and a 30-day public comment period, the Logan County battlefield would then be designated only as eligible for listing.
Historians and environmentalists have argued that the site is as historically significant as better-known battlefields like Gettysburg. But property owners and coal industry figures say the preservation effort is an attempt to block new surface mining operations from starting in the area.
Erin Riebe, that state’s national register coordinator, said the change from a listing to an eligibility ranking will still require affected property owners seeking federal permits or funding to go through a historic review process, but their eligibility for some state and federal grants and tax credits will be limited.
A coalition of historians, environmentalists and Logan County residents have been trying since 1980 to get federal recognition for the site where 10,000 miners battled police and federal troops in what some historians call the largest armed uprising in American history since the Civil War.
The site was placed on the national register in March, but efforts to remove it began after the number of objecting property owners was corrected from 22 to 30 out of 57.
Federal rules bar listing an area on the register if a majority of area property owners oppose it.
Proctor said the error was an “unfortunate oversight.”
The opponents included Massey Energy, which plans surface mining operations near the proposed historic site. Listing on the national register does not prevent mining, but it does entail a lengthier review process.
Bill Price with the Sierra Club was not immediately available for comment.
The 1921 battle was the climax of West Virginia’s bitter and bloody conflict over union organization in the southern coalfields. When it was over, an unknown number of people were killed and wounded, although sources commonly cite 30 as the number of dead.