Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Historic Wheeling

Before writing about our tour of historic Wheeling I want to mention that it is in this town that observance of Memorial Day started.  It was the wife of the Governor Pierpoint who thought it appropriate to decorate the graves of Civil War heroes.  She is credited for the first Decoration Day in 1866.  It was renamed Memorial Day in 1888.
Sorry, I had promised pictures of Victorian homes, but this was once a firehouse.  It was built in 1891 by a local resident who wanted to ensure fire protection for his home.  The central bell tower was shortened and the bell sits somewhere else nearby on Main street.  The majority of fine Victorian homes are on this street and the walking tour required little effort on our part, which was good because it was a very warm afternoon!
The middle house, called the Philips-Robertson home,  was built in 1892.  According to our walking tour brochure the oriel window on the left is rectangular rather than curved which was more the norm.  I must say that on this tour of Victorian  homes I did pick up a few new architectural terms, and I thought that I knew them all! 
The above picture may seem a bit odd, but I wanted to focus on some of the home's unusual features.  It is the Alfred Paull House built about 1883.  There is a Moorish keyhole front window and tall, ornate wooden doors.  Above it is an oriel window topped with ornamental frieze.  An oriel is a projection from a wall which does not reach the ground.
The above twin townhouses were built in the 1890s, the one on the left has stained glass windows  in the lower level.  It is described by our guide book as "one of the most beautiful buildings in Victorian Wheeling".  These "eclectic" houses are further described as having "sandstone arches, corbeled brick and classic triangular pediments over extended oriel windows".   Just the description makes them beautiful!
We did get a peek inside one of the homes.  Unfortunately we were too late for the one tour of the day, but the owners were only too happy to point out the features of their house (they reside in the upper level- lower level has a gift shop and tea room).   This house, the Eckhart house, was built in 1892 in the Queen Anne style.  Inside the gift shop I noticed intricately carved newel posts in front of a beautiful staircase.  On the wall behind the stairs is a deeply embossed brown wall covering, which I was informed is called lincrusta.     Other features of the house include fireplaces, tiled floors and fretwork.  John and I had a rather long chat with the owners about their home and they also had many questions about our life style as gypsies.   I think it was rather a case of the other side of the fence looking greener for all of us!

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