Wheeling West Virginia (pop. 34,882; met.
area pop. 159,301) is an industrial city on the Ohio River in northern West
Virginia. The city has an area of about 11 square miles (28 square kilometers).
It includes Wheeling Island in the Ohio River. Wheeling West Virginia is
the seat of Ohio County. The Wheeling West Virginia metropolitan area
includes Belmont County in Ohio.
Wheeling West Virginia lies on a level plain, which rises to steep hills, along
the Ohio River. A scenic plaza was built in the heart of the business district.
Two bridges connect Wheeling Island with the rest of the city, one being
Suspension Bridge, which
was the first bridge span across the Ohio River and
is a registered National Historical Landmark Wheeling
Downs Dog Race Track, which features dog
races, occupies one end of the island. Wheeling has two principal parks,
Oglebay Park and Wheeling Park
Wheeling West Virginia has about 40 public schools.
Other educational institutions include Wheeling
Jesuit College; West
Virginia Northern Community College; Wheeling
Park High School, Mount
de Chantal Academy ; Linsly
Liberty State College and
College are nearby.
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Wheeling lies near West Virginia's great coal- and natural-gas-producing region,
and these minerals furnish power for many of the city's industries. Wheeling's
most important products include aluminum, bronze, chemical products, garments,
glass, iron and steel, metal stampings, plastics, and tin plate. The city is
also a coal shipping center. Tourism is the most important industry in Wheeling,
which attracts visitors with its parks, historic sites, and local events.
"Jamboree USA," a weekly country music show at Wheeling's
Capitol Music Hall, is broadcast in the United States and Canada. A Winter
Festival of Lights is held from early November to early January. Wheeling has
two modern hospitals and is a medical center for the surrounding region.
Colonel Ebenezer Zane and his brothers founded Wheeling in the winter of
1769-1770. They came from the south branch of the Potomac Valley in Virginia to
settle a claim at the city's present site. Other settlers soon joined them, and
in 1774 they erected Fort Fincastle. In 1776, they changed the fort's name to
Fort Henry in honor of Patrick Henry. Wheeling was laid out in 1793,
incorporated in 1806, and first chartered as a city in 1836. The National Road,
now U.S. Highway 40, reached the Ohio River at Wheeling in 1818.
During the Civil War (1861-1865), Wheeling was the headquarters of Virginians
who opposed secession from the Union. Union supporters organized the state of
West Virginia in Wheeling on June 20, 1863, and the city served as the state
capital from 1863 to 1870 and from 1875 to 1885. Wheeling has a city-manager
form of government.
Contributor: Mack H. Gillenwater, Ph.D., Prof. of Geography, Marshall Univ..