Over the past week-end we stayed in an Ohio state park. It was a very quiet place with no internet access. Sometimes that is good. On Saturday morning we drove over the Ohio River into Wheeling not sure if the visitor's center would be open to give us the information we needed to tour the town. All we knew from out-dated tour books was that there is a lot to see and do in Wheeling.
Independence Hall, pictured above, was once the Federal Custom House. It was built in 1859 and served as the capitol of the "Restored Government of Virginia" for two years prior to the granting of West Virginia statehood on June 20, 1863. The statehood story is documented in a film we saw in the museum "For Liberty and Union". We learned that people in this part of Virginia did not desire to be part of eastern section of the state because of the rumors of its secession from the United States in 1861. West Virginia, although a slave state, wanted to be a part of the Union. The statue in from of the building is that of Francis Pierpoint, the first governor of W.Va. The building in the background is that of First English Lutheran Church, established 1860.
We had lunch at North Centre Market House where there are antique stores and restaurants. It was built in 1853. In the 1800s Wheeling was a boom town with its natural resources of coal and gas. It also attracted skilled artisans in numerous glass works. Tobacco and nail factories also sprang up, Wheeling back then was known as the "Nail City". Beautiful Victorian-styled homes were built, our afternoon in the town was spent on a walking tour of the old homes. More on that in the next posting.