WARREN - The city-owned Kinsman House is becoming the new home of the Warren Heritage Center, which will be used to tell the history of the city and the people who live in it.
With the creation of the center, the Kinsman House is receiving an $150,000 facelift to both make it accessible to all members of the community and to restore its historic design.
Councilman Jim Valesky talks about Heritage Center.
It was built in 1832 by Gen. Simon Perkins as a wedding gift for his daughter.
"We, the city, have provided funds for the restoration of the Kinsman house from Community Development funds over last two grant periods," Councilwoman Helen Rucker, a member of the Heritage Center, said.
Using that money, the group is making the house handicap-accessible by adding ramps and an elevator that will allow people with disabilities to have access to all three floors.
Rucker said the Heritage Center will tell the stories of all people who have lived in Warren and their contributions to the community.
"We have people of Italian heritage, Greek heritage, African-American heritage and others who made important contributions to this city, and we plan for each of their stories and of others to be highlighted at the center," she said. "Warren, for example, was a very important station of the Underground Railroad that former slaves used in their travels north."
"We want to inspire a diverse audience," Rucker said.
Kinsman House facts
The Greek revival mansion at 303 Mahoning Ave. was built in 1832 as a wedding gift from Gen. Simon Perkins to his oldest daughter, Olive, and her husband, Frederick Kinsman. The first house to receive a federal restoration grant in Ohio, it is owned and maintained by the City of Warren. It is on the National Historic Registry.
Historian Wendell Lauth will talk about the Kinsman House at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, 444 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren.
The Warren Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization designed to explore the history and the culture of the city and relating the community's past to its present and future growth.
"We want to tell the city's story," City Councilman James Valesky, also the center's president, said. "To tell the story of early Warren, with a special emphasis on Warren's role as the first economic and judicial center of the Connecticut Western Reserve area, to collect, preserve and interpret objects that emphasize the uniqueness of our city."
The center will have the capacity to maintain and preserve collections and conduct exhibitions and educational programs.
Kathryn Hellweg, former superintendent of the Warren City Schools, emphasized that the Heritage Center does not have a permanent collection of artifacts to display at this time but will build a collection as it grows.
The center will be open for visitors during this summer, but will not fully open until construction on the building is completed during the next year. The center's board is working to develop a use plan for the the facility.
It is looking for grants and donations that will allow it to operate and to develop a permanent collection.
For information about the Warren Heritage Center, contact Valesky at WarrenHeritage@aol.com.