Wheeling West Virginia
Wheeling was and might still be the most important city on the Ohio river between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Wheeling thrived as a commercial/industrial center in the mid to late 1800s and continued growing until 1930 when it reached it's historic peak population of 61,659. Wheeling was the original capital of West Virginia. Wheeling's current population is 28,213. The rate of Wheeling's population decline has slowed in recent years and may be starting to level off. Wheeling was a heavily industrial city in the late 1800s and early 1900s but was also a major commercial center. This left Wheeling with a wealth of opulent commercial buildings in it's outsized downtown. Wealthy merchants built beautiful and ornate homes in Wheeling's neighborhoods many of which survive. The photos on this page do no justice to the incredible diversity of historical architecture in Wheeling.
The National Road, one of the Untied States' first and most important highways past through Wheeling. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge pictured here was completed in 1849 and was briefly the largest suspension bridge in the world.
Many historic buildings in Wheeling have been demolished over the years and replaced with surface parking lots, highways or in some cases empty lots. City leaders in Wheeling recently (2011) demolished an entire block of priceless, irreplaceable, Victorian homes in East Wheeling to build a ball park. More recently several historic buildings in downtown have been demolished. City leaders seem to be putting at least as much effort into erasing Wheeling's past as they are in promoting Wheeling as a historic destination. Areas outside of Downtown are neglected but have suffered less from active demolition. South Wheeling is especially interesting, although substantial chunks of South Wheeling have been leveled. A large area was wiped out in 2005 to make way for a Lowes home improvement store.
The bluffs above Wheeling offer beautiful views of the city and river but are not developed for visitors. Mt. Wood Cemetery is one easily accessible place for views of the city and Ohio River.
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