If residents of Wheeling refuse to take their surroundings for granted, then they can experience some unusual sights in all corners of this Friendly City.

These photographs were captured during the past two years, and the featured locations are Wheeling Island, Dimmeydale, the downtown, Centre Market, and  the Elm Grove neighborhood, but there are so many more awaiting the camera lens in Woodsdale, South Wheeling, North Park, Warwood, Springdale, Edgwood, Oglebay, Pleasanton, Greenwood and Mount Calvary cemeteries, Clator, North Wheeling, Fulton, and East Wheeling.

This is the first part of “Scenes Seen” because, simply, there are so many more to be snapped. Please feel free to contribute your own photos for future stories by emailing the picture with your name, the location, and a short explanation of the photograph to weelunk@weelunk.com.

“At Play”

This pleasant surprise is located in the backyard of Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Dimmeydale. The title given the statue is, “Fountain of Youth,” and it was sculpted by Gary Lee Price, according to OI Executive Director Danielle McCracken.

Oglebay Institute offers many classes throughout the year that welcome children of all ages from the Wheeling area, and this summer various camps will be available once again, as well. To examine the choices, feel free to visit the non-profit’s website, www.oionline.com.

“Door to Dungeon”

Soon after a storage vault was uncovered during the excavation of the downtown’s 1100 block to make way for the Health Plan headquarters, many residents of the Upper Ohio Valley were intrigued about the history of such construction. The door in this photograph, in fact, leads to a large, sandstone basement that is located beneath an apartment complex on the north end of Wheeling Island.

The storage area, according to the property owners, once was used during the time when this area of the Island was covered with a vineyard during the early 1800s. It measures 84 feet in length and is 19.5 feet wide.

“Old Hold”

It is connected to a tower that measures 153.5 feet above the low water level and helps support a 1,010 span that initially allowed for passage over the main channel of the Ohio River from downtown Wheeling.

But people don’t often look into the sandstone supports for the Wheeling Suspension Bridge although many walk by them on a daily basis. The cables, first connected to this support in the mid-1800s, are anchored at four locations on both sides of the bridge, one of which can be discovered in the basement of the Capitol Theatre.

“Tree Eyes”

She vanished from Wheeling’s landscape for more than 30 years until the Talking Christmas Tree resurfaced during the 2014 Perkins-Fantasy of Lights Parade in downtown Wheeling.

And, thanks to the efforts made by Wheeling resident Bill Bryson, the Talking Christmas Tree has a new home. Once situated in the front window of L.S. Good’s Market Street entrance, she is now named, ‘April,” and the re-developed attraction is located in the courtyard of Centre Market and welcomes area children on Fridays and Saturdays during the Christmas season. Jody Coleman from Coleman’s Fish Market crawls inside and uses these three windows to see the visiting kids and parents.

“In Repose”

He is known as the founder of West Virginia although he was not the first governor of the new state, but local historians found it appropriate to commission the sculpting of a nine-foot statue of the man.

He is Francis Pierpont, a teacher and attorney who was raised in Marion County before becoming involved with government in the state of Virginia. It was his wish to separate himself from slavery, and those efforts led to the formation of the country’s 35th state.

The statue, located on the corner of 16th and Market streets in front of the West Virginia Independence Hall, was sculpted by Montana resident Gareth Curtiss, and this photograph shows Pierpont getting his final moments of rest before the statue was erected by employees of Walters Construction.

“Push Back”

No boundaries.

Not age or gender or race or religion, and the country’s drug epidemic most definitely has had an impact in the Wheeling area.

So much so, this message was carefully painted on one of the supports of the Fort Henry Bridge along an eastbound entrance ramp on Wheeling Island. Nearly 900 residents of the Mountain State died of an overdose in 2016, a 13 percent increase from the year before, as was reported last month by the West Virginia Health Statistics Center. Opioids accounted for 86 percent of the deaths during a year in which a state drug user passed away every 10 hours.

“CHOMP”

Just reading in some book about how big a bite some shark breeds can take is one thing, but at the Smart Centre Market customers can almost feel it.

The business, owned and operated by the Strong family, rests on the corner of 22nd and Market streets and is open six days each week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. The Smart Centre staff offers camps for kids, science presentations, stargazing sessions, dinosaur displays, and live music, as well as educational toys, books, games, and yes, ice cream, too.

“Faded Echoes”

Crossing East Bethlehem Boulevard at most times of the day is a dangerous task, and that is why this tunnel was constructed under the roadway near Bridge Street Middle School in Elm Grove.

The pathway remains open to those wishing to traverse it, and children attending Bridge Street use it every day, according to Principal Raquel Welch McLeod.

“Loft Living”

Maybe an employee of the former Stone & Thomas has enjoyed this view of the Valley, but not many others in this region have.

This photograph was taken on the top floor of the Stone Center, where 22 one- and two-bedroom loft apartments were constructed by the Woda Group and have been lived in for the past 18 months. The Boury Lofts, another Woda Group venture, are expected to be completed by the end of this month and the building will offer 78 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The re-purposed building once was a grocery warehouse and then was a storage building for Boury Enterprises and T.J.’s Sports Garden.

“Flood Wall”

Approximately 240 feet away from this back door of a Wheeling Island house is the back channel of the Ohio River, and it can be seen while driving along the entrance of the Wheeling Island Marina.

The land on which the marina is located is managed and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the property soon will feature a disc golfing course. The Wheeling Island Community Association manages the Wheeling Island Marina Shelter and rents it out for social gatherings such as steak fries.

(Photos by Steve Novotney)



8 Responses

    • Ryn

      It was, before pills and other drugs ruined it. It’s such a sad place now. I wish it could be beautiful again.

      Reply
      • Steve Novotney

        Ryn – I hate that you have been left with this impression of the city of Wheeling, but yes, this opioid epidemic has taken way too many folks in this area, and throughout the country. And yes, that includes the Los Angeles area, too. Saw this is the LA Times …

        “Earlier this month, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced that more than 1,200 doses of naloxone — an anti-opioid nasal spray known by its brand name Narcan — are being issued to deputies patrolling Santa Clarita, East Los Angeles, Crescenta Valley as well as parks and colleges.

        “Soon, all 240 sworn members of the department’s Santa Clarita Valley station, including supervisors, will be issued doses and trained on how to administer the life-saving drug, Lewis said.”

        As far as that beauty you mentioned, there are a lot of people working very hard to get that back so I hope you’ll consider at least visiting sometime in the future. Have a great weekend.

  1. Sally Anne Schneider

    Absolutely wonderful shots. Thank you! So miss Wheeling

    Reply
  2. Anne F. Taylor

    Wonderful photographs!! Almost makes me want to move back to the area…

    Reply

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