Blue Church

10 Ways You Can Celebrate Historic Preservation Month in Wheeling

Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Preservation Month brings attention to historic places to instill pride, promote heritage conservation, and encourage tourism. We know our historic buildings are important, but May is a great time to give them a little extra attention and appreciation.

Wheeling is home to an impressive array of historic architecture – from pre-civil war structures of our early settlement (like The Blue Church) to funky mid-century department stores, Wheeling’s got a building for everyone.

Here are a few ways you can show your love of Wheeling’s architectural heritage.

1. Take a Walk

Explore one of Wheeling’s many historic neighborhoods. Wheeling Heritage has several brochures that you can download to embark on your own self-guided tour of Wheeling.

2. Visit a Historic Site or Museum

Independence Hall, Oglebay, and the Stifel Center are just a few of the historic sites, museums, and cultural institutions Wheeling has to offer.  Plan a visit and pay attention to the architectural elements you might otherwise overlook.

Oglebay Institute's Stifel Fine Arts Center
Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center.

3. Get to Know the Local Preservation Organizations

Several neighborhoods in Wheeling have historic preservation organizations that meet regularly to share information and participate in community service. The South Wheeling Preservation Alliance, Ritchietown Renaissance, Friends of Wheeling, and Victorian Old Town Association are all organizations that welcome new members with an interest in preservation.

4. Shop Historic

The best way to save old buildings is by using them! Stroll through Centre Market, or visit a shop or restaurant located in a historic building. Notice the details of the space that make your experience unique.

Centre Market

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5. Take our Neighborhood Quiz

Ever wonder which historic neighborhood you really belong in? Take our neighborhood quiz to find out. Not living there yet? Check out our Living in Wheeling page to learn how to change that!

6. Take a Picture

Share your photos of historic buildings on social media using the hashtag #thisplacematters. Part of a larger campaign launched by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, #thisplacematters is a way for people to share the places and spaces that mean the most to them.

WV Independence Hall
Independence Hall

7. Speak Up

Do you love old buildings? Let people know! Historic buildings are precious resources that cannot be replaced once lost. Communicating with your local leaders, attending historic landmarks and city council meetings, and writing letters to the editor are all great ways to advocate for historic preservation in Wheeling.

8. Get Spiritual

Wheeling is home to several historic churches with rich histories and stunning architecture. Download Wheeling Heritage’s historic churches brochure, pick a building that interests you and then go see it in person.

St. Joseph
St. Joseph Cathedral

9. Read a Sign

Highway markers, trail signage, and local landmark plaques are all great ways to learn about the built environment. Read these signs and let them guide you through the city of Wheeling.

10. Learn More

The Ohio County Public Library is a great place to dig deeper into local history. You can make an appointment to visit the Wheeling Room and view their collection of Sanborn Maps, or visit their Flickr page and browse the impressive collection of historic photographs.

Betsy Sweeny is the director of heritage programming at Wheeling Heritage. She is an architectural historian, yoga teacher and dog mom to her rescue dog Marshall.