Historic Wheeling Wv

Wheeling, WV, is like a hidden treasure filled with stories from long ago. This city by the Ohio River has seen a lot of American history. Picture cobblestone streets and grand old buildings that take you back in time.

Did you know Wheeling was almost the capital of West Virginia? Yep, it’s true! Back in the Civil War, this place was super important. Imagine soldiers and steamboats all around.

History isn’t just in books, it’s right here in the city. There are old tunnels from the days of the Underground Railroad. It’s cool to think that Wheeling helped people on their way to freedom.

Let’s not forget, Wheeling was a big deal for making things. Glass, nails, and all sorts of stuff were made here. So, when you’re holding a shiny glass marble, think of Wheeling!

And just like a cherry on top, there’s a bridge here that’s super old. It was the first to cross the entire Ohio River. Back when it was built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world!

So, get ready to explore Wheeling, WV, and all its historic wonders. It’s not just a city; it’s a living history lesson!

Wheeling’s Founding and Early History

Long before our time, Native American tribes enjoyed the land where Wheeling stands today. They fished in the river and hunted in the forests.

A man named Ebenezer Zane found the area in 1769. He liked it so much, he made a deal to start a town. That’s how Wheeling got its start!

In 1769, the same year Ebenezer Zane came to town, Wheeling got its name. Some say it’s from a Native American word “Weelunk,” which means “place of the skull.”

Years later, people wanted to move west, and Wheeling was right on the way. It became a busy spot for travelers and traders.

The National Road came to Wheeling in 1818. This was a big deal because it was like a superhighway back then. Lots of people and goods passed through the city.

Wheeling was growing so much that it became a state capital. It held the title not just once, but twice! From 1863 to 1870, and then again from 1875 to 1885.

Establishment and Naming

Long ago, before there were cars and phones, Native American tribes lived on the land where Wheeling is now. They used the Ohio River to travel and find food.

Then, people from far away places started to come here. They built homes and the town of Wheeling started to grow. That was way back in the year 1769.

Wheeling got its name from a Native American word that means “place of the head.” Some say it’s because of a story about a head rolling down a hill!

Did you know that Wheeling has an island? It’s called Wheeling Island and it’s right in the middle of the Ohio River. People have lived there for a long time.

The city has a special day called Wheeling Day. It’s when people started living here and it’s celebrated every year. It’s like a birthday party for the city!

There’s a place in Wheeling called Heritage Port. It’s where boats used to come in with things to sell. Now, it’s a place where people hang out and have fun.

Back in the old days, Wheeling was a new frontier. People came looking for a fresh start and to make their dreams real. It was full of hope and adventure.

Industrial Expansion

Some of the first people to build in Wheeling were the Zane family. They made a fort called Fort Henry, and it was really important back then.

Fort Henry was a place where people could be safe from danger. It also helped make Wheeling a spot where people wanted to come and live.

Trains and boats made Wheeling a busy town. There was a lot of coal and factories here. That made Wheeling a big deal in the old times.

In Wheeling, they had a super important meeting about West Virginia becoming its own state. This was during a time when the United States was fighting a civil war.

Because Wheeling was becoming big, it became the first capital of West Virginia. That’s where the leaders would meet and make laws.

Lots of important buildings from back then are still here. You can see them when you visit Wheeling. They help us remember the old days.

People in Wheeling used to make glass and all kinds of things people needed. They were really good at it, and it made the city famous.

Wheeling also had a big bridge that connected it to Ohio. It was one of the first bridges to cross the whole Ohio River.

There’s a market in Wheeling called Centre Market. It’s been around for over 150 years. People go there to shop and eat.

Civil War Era

Wheeling got its start a long time ago in 1769. That was when the Zanes claimed the land. Later, other people started to build their homes there too.

The town grew by the river, which was perfect for boats. Boats on the Ohio River could bring in things people needed and take out things to sell.

Wheeling became a real city in 1836. That’s when they wrote down laws to make sure everyone knew how the city worked.

Kids in Wheeling went to school just like today. The first free school for everyone started in 1870, which was a big deal back then.

There was also a big flood in 1852, but the people of Wheeling didn’t give up. They rebuilt their houses and kept the city growing.

When cars became popular, the city built roads. This helped even more people come to Wheeling and see all it had to offer.

If you want to learn more about Wheeling’s early history, you can visit the Ohio County Public Library. They have lots of old stories and pictures there.

Architectural and Cultural Heritage

Wheeling has many old buildings that tell stories of the past. One famous place is the Capitol Theatre that opened in 1928. It’s where people went to see plays and listen to music back then. It still stands today.

Another important building is the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. When it was built in 1849, it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world. People could cross the river much faster because of it.

Many homes from long ago are still in Wheeling too. The Victorian “Old Town” area has houses with big porches and tall windows. Some of these homes are over 100 years old!

Every year, Wheeling celebrates its past with a festival called Victorian Heritage Days. People dress up in old clothes and do things like they did in the 1800s. It’s like stepping back in time.

The city also remembers those who worked hard in factories and mines with a museum. It’s called the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, and it has toys from a long time ago. Kids and grown-ups can have fun learning there.

To see art from West Virginia, there is the Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center. This place has art from now and long ago. It’s a good way to see how people in Wheeling have been creative over the years.

Wheeling’s heritage is also about the different people who lived here. There are places like the Wheeling Heritage Trail where families can walk and see where trains used to go. Signs along the trail teach about the history of the place.

Victorian Architecture

Wheeling is like a big book about history that you can walk around in. The buildings are old and tell stories about the past.

One famous place is the Capitol Theatre. It’s been there since 1928. People in Wheeling have gone there to see music and plays for a long time.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is really old too. It was built in 1849. People still drive across it every day. It was the biggest bridge like it when it was new.

A lot of the houses in Wheeling are special because they’re Victorian. That means they were made in the time of Queen Victoria. They look fancy and have lots of details.

The Wheeling Island area has a bunch of these old houses. People still live in them and take care of them.

Each year, Wheeling has a big party called Victorian Old Town Christmas. It’s a time when everyone remembers the past and has fun.

Wheeling also has a place called Centre Market. It’s a spot where you can buy food and cool things. The market has been around for more than 150 years!

For a taste of history, you can eat at Coleman’s Fish Market in Centre Market. It’s been there since 1914, so a lot of people in Wheeling have eaten there.

Notable Landmarks

Long ago, Wheeling was a place where new things started. It was the first state capital of West Virginia.

The city has a train station called the Wheeling Heritage Port. It was once used to send things all over by train.

Some buildings in Wheeling are made of stone and brick, which make them strong and help them last a long time.

People in Wheeling love their history. They work to save old buildings so that they don’t get torn down.

Besides buildings, Wheeling has old stories. The city was an important spot during the Civil War. Soldiers from both sides were here.

There is also a special neighborhood called North Wheeling. It has many homes from the 1800s. Walking there is like time travel.

To learn more about old times, you can go to the Wheeling Heritage. They have lots of information about the city’s history. You can visit their website here.

Every summer, people in Wheeling celebrate with music and food at Heritage Music BluesFest. This event brings everyone together.

Cultural Institutions

Wheeling is like a treasure box of old buildings. The Capitol Theatre is one of these gems. It opened a long time ago, in 1928. Inside, it’s fancy and has a big stage for shows.

Another treasure is the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. This bridge is very old, it was built before the Civil War in 1849. It’s special because it was the first bridge to span the Ohio River.

People here are proud of the Wheeling Custom House. It was built when Abraham Lincoln was president. It’s special because it used to be a place where important decisions were made.

In Wheeling, they have a fun way to remember the past. It’s called Victorian Old Town. Once a year, everyone dresses up like it’s the 1800s and has a big party with old-time games and foods.

The city is also known for its art. There’s a place called Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center. It shows art from a long time ago and new art made by people who live here now.

If you like old trains, you can see one at the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum. They have a big collection of toys and trains from years ago.

Historical Figures and Events

Long ago, Wheeling was a major spot for making things like nails and glass. This work was very important for the city and for America.

One big event was the Wheeling Convention in 1861. People from Virginia who didn’t want to leave the United States met here. They decided to make a new state called West Virginia.

Wheeling was the first capital of West Virginia. This happened during the Civil War. Many big choices were made here.

Some famous people from Wheeling are Betty Zane. She was a hero in the Revolutionary War. She ran through a battle to bring gunpowder to help her friends and family.

There was also Francis Pierpont. He was called the “Father of West Virginia.” He worked hard to create the state and keep it part of America during the Civil War.

Wheeling has a bridge called the “Stone Bridge.” It was built in the 1800s for trains to cross. Now, it lights up with colors at night.

In 1920, a big radio show started in Wheeling. It was called WWVA Jamboree. Lots of country music stars sang there. People all over America listened to it.

Prominent Residents

Wheeling has a story about a famous fight called the Battle of Fort Henry. It happened a long, long time ago in 1777. This was a big deal because people in Wheeling fought against Native Americans and British soldiers to keep their land.

There was a man named Ebenezer Zane who did something brave. He made a road called Zane’s Trace that helped people travel and settle in Ohio. He started it in Wheeling and it was a big help to everyone back then.

People in Wheeling remember a lady named Betty Zane for her courage. During the Battle of Fort Henry, she ran across a field under fire to bring gunpowder to the soldiers. She’s a hero because she helped save the fort.

A long time ago, there were freedom seekers passing through Wheeling. They were escaping slavery using the Underground Railroad. Wheeling was an important stop because it was close to the free states.

One of the most famous people from Wheeling was Walter Reuther. He was born in 1907 and grew up to be a big leader who fought for workers’ rights. He helped make jobs better for a lot of people.

Some say that a famous spy named Rose O’Neal Greenhow stayed in Wheeling during the Civil War. She gathered secrets for the South and was very sneaky. Her visit to Wheeling is a story many still talk about.

A big event in Wheeling was when West Virginia became a state. People met at the Wheeling Custom House to decide this. It’s called the Wheeling Convention, and it led to West Virginia breaking away from Virginia in 1863.

Wheeling has a place called West Virginia Independence Hall. It’s where the state of West Virginia was born. You can visit and imagine what it was like when people argued and made big decisions there.

Significant Historical Events

Long ago, Wheeling was a place where glass was made. The Wheeling Glassworks started in the 1800s and became famous. People made beautiful glass things people used in their homes.

There was also a big company called Wheeling Steel. It was one of the biggest places to work in Wheeling. A lot of families had someone who worked at the steel mill.

A cool thing in Wheeling is the Suspension Bridge. It was built a very long time ago in 1849. It was the first bridge to span the Ohio River and was once the longest in the world.

Many people don’t know that the first state capitol of West Virginia was in Wheeling. It moved to Charleston later, but Wheeling was the first place it was located after West Virginia became its own state.

Important people came to Wheeling long ago, like Abraham Lincoln’s friend, Frederick Douglass. He was a famous man who fought against slavery. He gave a powerful speech in Wheeling in 1852.

Another big moment was when the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad reached Wheeling. It happened in 1853. This railroad made it easy to send things to other places and helped Wheeling grow.

Some people in Wheeling made pottery that was very nice. The La Belle Pottery Company started in the 1800s. Their pottery was so good that people from all over wanted it.

There’s a famous house in Wheeling called the Eckhart House. It was built in the 1800s and is very pretty. Now, people can visit it and see how fancy houses were back then.


Wheeling has many stories from the past. People who love history would find it cool to see how the city has changed. The old factories, bridges, and houses tell us a lot about the people who lived in Wheeling a long time ago.

Walking on the old streets of Wheeling is like going back in time. You can find buildings that are very old, and some are even fixed up so they look like they did many years ago. It’s neat to think about what happened in those places long ago.

Visitors can learn a lot about Wheeling’s history by going to special places like museums. There are things to see that show how people used to live, what they made, and what they believed was important.

What makes Wheeling special is not just the big old buildings but also the stories of regular people. These were the people who worked hard in the factories, built the city, and made it what it is today.

When we remember all these things about Wheeling, we keep the history alive. Knowing about the past helps us understand our city better and shows us how far we’ve come. And who knows, maybe one day our stories will be part of Wheeling’s history too!