CHAMPION — Cindee Mines jokes that she’s “just nosy,” but her love of history has led her to help preserve local stories as a member of nearly a dozen historical societies and museums.
“I think it’s important to let people see things from their history,” Mines said, adding when she looks at an old house or antique dress, she doesn’t just want to admire the item — she wants to know the story.
Take the John Stark Edwards House, for example. It’s the oldest house in Warren and possibly the oldest in Trumbull County, Mines said.
“But who is John Stark Edwards?” Mines said. “What did the family do? Where are they buried?”
Mines, 67, said she first got involved with historical societies in the late 1990s, when her three children were grown and her husband, Mark, got her a Trumbull County Historical Society membership for Christmas.
He also convinced Mines to volunteer at the National Packard Museum in Warren.
“He knew I wasn’t just going to sit around and do nothing,” Mines said.
Now, she is active with the Trumbull County Historical Society, the Packard Museum, the Warren Heritage Center and the Howland Historical Society, and is a member at the Vienna, Hartford and Champion historical societies, the Bristol Friends of the Library, the Sutliff Museum and the Upton Association. She also is active at her church, Otterbein United Methodist Center.
In the summer, Mines helps organize the local history gathering at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds, which brings local societies together at the historic church on the grounds.
Mines likes to do research and “get the word out” about local historic places.
She particularly enjoys learning about the ways the people of Trumbull County helped shape history.
Frederick Kinsman, the original owner of the Kinsman House in downtown Warren, was close friends with President James Garfield, Mines said. Brookfield native Wayne Wheeler spearheaded the nationwide prohibition movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And let’s not forget the Packards and their automobiles, which still can be found at car shows across the country today.
“Who knew how important the people of this community were?” Mines said.
Mines also has been active in the preservation of historic places.
Most recently, Mines has been working to save the Julia Harsh House on North Park Avenue in Warren, as well as the Yellow House, the oldest house in Howland that now houses the township’s historical society.
Mines isn’t just focused on the county’s history. She likes to learn more about her own history as well.
“Even in my own family I like to learn things,” Mines said. “Some of the things — it’s just funny. My dad gave me an old record player from the late ’40s — this was in the ’80s — my mom had lent it to him in college, and he kept it. I just thought, ‘So, when did you date?’ I got into that kind of thing.”
Mines has donated a lot of her family’s old clothing to museums. Two of her grandmother’s outfits are on display upstairs at the Warren Heritage Center, along with a childhood coat Mines used to wear in the 1950s. Mines put together the 1940s-1950s fashion display that she calls “Let’s Go Shopping.”
Mines collects vintage jewelry, some of which she also got from family members.
Her maternal grandfather used to be the Trumbull County engineer. Mines kept scrapbooks her grandmother made and has talked to more recent county engineers about her grandfather.
Her paternal grandfather was a minister, who traveled all over the eastern United States.
“I just think it’s fun to hear all those stories,” Mines said.
Her husband’s family has its own place in local history — with H.C. Mines School and Mines Road in Howland named after the family.
A 1971 graduate of Warren G. Harding, Mines married her husband in 1973, and they have lived in Champion ever since, she said.
She became an LPN after attending DeKalb Community College outside of Atlanta. She worked for 20 years at Warren General Hospital, mostly in pediatrics. Then, she worked as a nurse assistant at North Road School in Howland for 18 years.
Mines said she loves to travel — she has enjoyed places like Boston and Washington, D.C., but New York City is a favorite.
“That’s what I’ve done for my grandchildren: When they turn 10, I take them to New York City,” Mines said. She owes two grandchildren who turned 10 during the pandemic a trip to the Big Apple.
Mines said part of what she likes about discovering the stories behind people and places is the perspective it gives.
“I just think those are things you can learn about your parents, your grandparents, your country,” she said. “Sometimes you can be so divided about what you think and don’t think. If you learn about them, share a cup of coffee, and hear their histories, it’ll give you a different perspective on things.”
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