Chronology of Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation’s Activity & Accomplishments


  • Plan for the Wheeling National Heritage Area – Completed and adopted by the Board of Directors, the Plan was the guiding document for creating the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation and early projects.


  • Wheeling National Heritage Area Interpretive Master Plan – Completed and adopted by the Board of Directors, the Interpretive Plan continues to guide how Wheeling’s history is interpreted to residents and visitors.


  • Wheeling National Heritage Area Community Venue Plans – completed and adopted
  • Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation is incorporated as a private non-profit community development organization.
  • First executive director, Charles Flynn is hired
  • Construction begins on Wheeling Artisan Center, Murphy Dittenhafer Architects, Ionadi Corporation, Pittsburgh is the contractor.  The Artisan Center will become a venue for the sale of locally, handmade art and craft and an anchor for downtown social gatherings and events.
  • Sasaki Associates of Boston, MA hired to create master plan Heritage Port and waterfront redevelopment.


  • Wheeling Heritage Challenge Grant Program launched, it was the first community grant program offered by the Heritage Area.
  • Wheeling’s Spoken History Project , oral history project captured hundreds of hours of local history and resulted in an on-going locally broadcast radio program.
  • Heritage Lighting Program lights the exterior of CapitolMusic Hall
  • Wheeling Heritage Trail is supported by WNHAC programming in collaboration with the Heritage Trail Partners and the city of Wheeling.  The trail was recommended in the 1992 Plan and principally implemented by the City, is a 13-mile bike and pedestrian facility that follows the east bank of the Ohio River passing along the edge of Heritage Port, adjacent to Center Wheeling, and along sections of Wheeling Creek to the east.


  • In August Nail City Brewery opens at the Wheeling Artisan Center.
  • In November,  Wheeling Artisan arts and crafts retail shop and art gallery opens
  • “Made in Wheeling” Industrial Heritage exhibits open on the second floor of the Artisan Center, Harley Warrick, famouse Mail Pouch sign painter, paints one of his last signs at the Artisan Center.  His technique and style is documented in video.
  • Wayfinder signage and map program is implemented, providing directional signage throughout city for major attractions and venues.


  • In January the Artisan Center third floor opens as a Loft Gallery and Banquet space.
  • In March, the inaugural Wheeling Celtic Celebration is held at the Wheeling Artisan Center, Celtic celebration continues
  • In July, the WNHAC office is opened on the third floor of the Artisan Center/
  • The Heritage Port Master Plan is unveiled by Sasaki Associates


  • In June – Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center opens and is dedicated by Senator Byrd.  The construction of the facility allows for the redevelopment of the Wheeling Waterfront into the premiere waterfront development in the State of West Virginia.
  • Wheeling Visitors Center and offices of the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau open at the Intermodal Transportation Center.
  • “Wheeling: Crossroads of America 1818-1865” exhibit opens at the WheelingVisitorsCenter – designed by Michael Krayzel, Pittsburgh
  • Wharf Parking Garage removed allowing for the construction of HeritagePort
  • Wheeling Heritage Octoberfest held on 14th Street with brew pub


  • Construction begins on Phase 1A of HeritagePort – Palliotta Construction, PittsburghPA general contractor
  • In April,  Senator Robert C. Byrd dedicates the WheelingArtisanCenter
  • In June,  “West Virginia: Born of the Civil War” exhibit opens at West Virginia Independence Hall designed by Hadley Exhibits, Buffalo, NY
  • November – 150th birthday of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge including “Bridge Blast” celebration and the video documentary “Crossing Time – The Wheeling Suspension Bridge.”
  • November – Wheeling Suspension Bridge is lit as a partnership project of WNHAC, the State of West Virginia and the City of Wheeling.
  • Construction of Phase 1B of HeritagePort – Palliotta Construction
  • Façade Loan Program, a partnership of WNHAC and the City of Wheeling renovates Wheeling Coffee and Spice Co., Egerter Building (Subway) and Laconia Building with the use of City CDBG funds.
  • July, Suzanne Quinn hired as executive director
  •  October, Ann Knight appointed Administrative Assistant


  • In September, Phase 2 of Heritage Port begins with OH/WV Excavating Company as general contractor.
  • In October,  the Wheeling National Heritage Area designated by U. S. Congress.
  • October, Christine Villamagna appointed administrative assistant
  • City of Wheeling, WNHAC receives a TEP/T-21 grant for Heritage Trail signage and map reprinting.


  • April – Wheeling Heritagecontracts with Century Equities for outlet mall study and receives Benedum Foundation grant
  • Wheeling Heritage begins the planning process for the WheelingVictorianOutletCenter, now known as the Wheeling Outlets.
  • In August, Senator Byrd dedicates Wheeling Heritage Port
  • In September WNHAC receives TCSP grant
  • Elevated B&O railroad bed in Center Wheeling stabilized and rehabilitated
  • Wheeling Heritage contracts for exterior rehabilitation of the WheelingStampingBuilding


  • In January, Hydie Friend appointed executive director
  • In April, The Global Operations Center of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP locates in the Wheeling Stamping Building
  • WV Economic Development Grant Committee awards $70M for Wheeling Outlet Project
  • Victorian kitchen exhibit opens at the John List House in North Wheeling
  • Update on the Management Plan for the Wheeling National Heritage Area undertaken by ICON architecture, inc. and Economic Research Associates.


  • In March, Wheeling Heritagesponsors 7th Annual Wheeling Celtic Celebration at Artisan Center
  • Interpretive Grants Program is created and early awards include the restoration and display of Civil War battle flags at the West Virginia Independence Hall and the Bicentennial Commemoration of Lewis & Clark”
  • In June, the Heritage Area welcomes the NPS Tent of Many Voices – Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.
  • In July-August, Outlets receive no Economic Development Grant Committee funding, project abandoned
  • September, the Lewis & Clark Re-enactments, “Guns, A Red Boat and Watermelons”
  • Update of Management Plan continues with IKON architecture and ERA
  • Identity project with Selbert Perkins Design Group – leads to new logo and proposed signage with environmental sculptures


  • Management Plan Update completed and approved by the National Park Service
  • Brent Carney hired as project coordinator
  • Research and design of industrial and neighborhood wayside signs
  • Interpretive grant awarded to Oglebay Institute for exhibit “Cheer for the Home Team”
  • Judge Frederick Stamp awarded the “Friend of Heritage Award” for the expansion of the Federal Courthouse


  • Architectural Feasibility Studies—After completion of the Wheeling Stamping Project, there was great interest in the redevelopment of other major warehouse buildings.  Wheeling Heritage invested $54,000 in the architectural feasibility of five large footprint warehouses:  Warwick China, Stone and Thomas Department Store, Wheeling Wholesale Grocery, Zarnit’s Grocery, Reichart’s Furniture. As a result of this study, four of the buildings were purchased, rehabilitated, and created or relocated jobs to Downtown Wheeling.  The Stone and Thomas Building is now the Stone Center and is home to Williams Lea and Wheeling Jesuit University programs, Wheeling Wholesale Grocery is now the Education Center for West Virginia Northern Community College, Zarnit’s Grocery has become the Corporate Headquarters for Staley Communications, Reichart’s Furniture was partially rehabilitated, but was lost some years later to demolition after a water main break in the building (the Warwick China building was deemed unfeasible to rehabilitate at the time of the study).
  • Jeremy Morris hired in July as Project Manager
  • Wheeling Heritage Trail Map first published
  • Wheeling Interpretive Signage—Wheeling vast history is explored through massive signage panels scattered throughout the city, particularly along the Heritage Trail.  These signs were written by local historians and explore the history of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, Wheeling’s frontier landscape, and the many industries that build the city.  The signs were installed in August of 2005 and inspire people to learn more about Wheeling’s history each and every day. Documentation of the Labelle Nail Factory begins.
  • Heritage Port Phase 3 design and construction started by Hays LAS and Walters  Construction.
  • December 2005, Community “stakeholders” talk to Clear Channel regarding the future of the Capitol Theatre


  • Completion of Phase 3, restrooms and sidewalks at HeritagePort
  • Dedication of Walter Reuther Memorial on October 12, 2006
  • WNHAC leads effort to evaluate the purchase, renovation, operation and management of Capitol Theatre.
  • Adaptive reuse studies Paxton-Zinn building are completed
  • Stone Center undergoes $8M renovation, WNHAC assists with Historic Investment Tax Credits for project.
  • Financially underwrote Heritage Music Blues Festival
  • Assisted Wheeling Big Band Society with preservation and cataloguing of  the “It’s Wheeling Steel” collection
  • National Civil War Memorial/Restoration of WV Battle Flags efforts initiated


  • Capitol Theatre closes May 2007 and WNHAC continues efforts to evaluate the purchase, renovation, operation and management of Capitol Theatre.
  • Cemeteries of Ohio County, WV Glenna Dillon, published
  • Historic Stone & Thomas graphics installed in Williams Lea, LLC in the Stone Center Main Floor
  • Preservation of the Browne Brothers collection by local historian Margaret Brennan
  • Partial Rehabilitation of Soldiers & Sailors Monument, Courtney Micker
  • Wheeling Heritage advises on Historic Investment Tax Credits for Bennett Square (Wheeling Public Library)
  • Rebekah Karelis hired as part-time archivist.
  • The Ellen Dunable postcard collection catalogued and archived.  The collection now resides at Oglebay Institute
  • Wheeling Heritage nominates Holloway Estate-Mt. St. Joseph to the National Register of Historic Places
  • Wheeling Heritage underwrites Ohio Valley Heritage Radio Program – every Tuesday afternoon on WVLY-AM
  • Wheeling Heritage co-hosts Preservation Alliance of WV Annual Conference meets in Wheeling


  • Published Wheeling, the Birthplace of the American Steamboat, John Bowman. In partnership with Wheeling  Historical Society, underwrote the Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review
  • Continued to provide staff to the Wheeling Historic Landmark Commission and technical support to owners of historic properties
  • Wheeling Historic Gateway Signage—Through National Scenic Byways grant the Wheeling Heritage created and installed gateway markers at the entrance of Wheeling six most prominent historic districts. The markers were designed and constructed to resemble the Labelle Cut Nail, as Wheeling was once known as Nail City.  The seven foot cut nail is adorned at its top with a sign topper icon distinct to each district.  The six districts demarcated include Downtown, North Wheeling, Wheeling Island, Centre Market, Woodsdale-Edgwood and National Road.


  • Bekah Karelis hired as a full-time historian.
  • Capitol Theatre (2009-present)
  • In late 2005, stakeholders in Wheeling began to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Capitol Theatre so that may once again be a community-owned and operated theatre.  This stakeholder effort was led by the Wheeling Heritage and consisted of efforts to evaluate the architectural feasibility and programming feasibility of the theatre.  Wheeling Heritage funded an architectural feasibility study which prioritized the short-term and long-term needs of the building along with projected costs.  A programming/economic feasibility study of the building was funded through Wheeling Heritage by the Benedum Foundation. Through the evaluation of those studies it was determined that the collective resources of the city could purchase and operate the facility.  On April 23, 2009, the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau purchased the theatre and began renovation with the oversight and assistance the Wheeling Heritage.  Later that summer, the Wheeling CVB entered into a management agreement with the Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority to operate the operations of the theatre. The Capitol Theatre re-opened on September 23, 2009 to a packed house full of local entertainment.  The theatre is venue to the Wheeling Symphony, touring Broadway shows, comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, national musical acts including the Avett Brothers, Jason Aldean, and others.  Since reopening, theatre attendance has been nearly 200,000 and thus demonstrates the importance of this facility to the community.


  • Jeremy Morris appointed executive director
  • Wheeling Heritage receives Save America’s Treasures Grant for Capitol Theatre façade, grant will restore terra cotta façade.
  • Wheeling Heritage and partners to create First Fridays event in Downtown Wheeling


  • Wheeling Heritage partners with the City of Wheeling to nominate Wheeling as a WV ONTRAC community, a precursor to the Main Street Program.
  • Wheeling partners to create the Wheeling Mobile smartphone application that puts city restaurants, hotels and businesses at the tips for residents and visitor’s fingers.


  • Wheeling Civil War Smartphone Application–Through the financial assistance of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Civil War Commission, the Wheeling National Heritage and the Wheeling Civil War 150 Committee created a smartphone walking tour application that interprets 22 Civil War related sites in Downtown Wheeling and surrounding neighborhoods.  The site uses gaming technology that allows the user to scan the horizon with their smartphone and moving from site to site without the use of traditional maps or navigation.  The application is enriched with audio descriptions of each site and video of historical re-enactments.  The application is free at either the Apple App store or Android Market.
  • Publishes It’s Wheeling Steel (Wheeling Big Band Society) a comprehensive remembrance of the It’s Wheeling Steel Program, broadcast from Wheeling and one of the top radio programs in the nation from 1936-1944.
  • Wheeling Heritage takes over the publication of The Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review which was a product of the Wheeling Area Historical Society, which disbanded in 2011.  The Review is a scholarly journal dedicated to the history of Wheeling and surrounding counties and continues.


  • Wheeling Heritage co-hosts West Virginia Association of Museums Conference in Wheeling in March
  • Madonna of the Trail Restoration—Through a National Scenic Byway grant and in partnership with the Wheeling Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Wheeling Heritage was able to restore the statue.  A re-dedication ceremony was held in the summer of 2013.
  • West Virginia Statehood Celebration—Wheeling Heritage co-chaired the Wheeling 150 Committee and led efforts to interpret our State’s founding at West Virginia Independence Hall.  Activities include historical re-enactments, educational lectures, sponsored poem “A Song for West Virginia by WV Poet Laureate Marc Harshman., sponsored in part the commission of “A Fanfare for West Virginia” an original composition for the Wheeling Symphony.
  • Wheeling National Heritage Area began fundraising and restoration of Mt. Wood Cemetery in partnership with the Friends of Wheeling and Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley.
  • Mount Wood cemetery is nominated and accepted to the National Register of Historic Places
  • PreserveWV Americorp program begins.  Wheeling Heritage funds two volunteers to work on historic preservation projects in Wheeling, Jacob Dougherty and Joy Williams.  Jacob Dougherty focuses on Downtown Redevelopment projects and supports the activities of Downtown Wheeling, Inc. Joy Williams focuses on South Wheeling historic property survey and National Register nominations.
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