Hunt for Wheeling History with Ritchietown Renaissance

May is Historic Preservation Month, and Ritchietown Renaissance Inc. is celebrating the unique architecture of South Wheeling with a photo scavenger hunt! Ritchietown Renaissance is an organization dedicated to preserving the physical history of South Wheeling, originally known as Ritchietown. The spark that started the group came in 2022, with the loss of the John L. Hobbs House, which was the last physical connection to South Wheeling’s glass industry. Inspired by this, they hope to preserve historic buildings, by their own efforts and by offering assistance to those doing their own preservation efforts.

Tow of the buildings you can look for on the scavenger hunt.

Accepting submissions through May 30, Ritchietown Renaissance has published an architecture scavenger hunt that features 10 photos in the Eoff to Jacob Street areas between 33rd and 37th Streets. Any submissions received by the deadline will be entered for a chance to win gift certificate prizes to be announced on May 31. The goal of this program is to promote awareness and pride in the South Wheeling neighborhood and to provide a bit of education on some of the many architectural details that can be found throughout the area. This activity is for all age ranges and requires no prior historic architecture education. Printable versions of the sheet, including submission details, can be found on our Instagram or Facebook (as photos available for download), and printed handouts will be available at the Ohio County Public Library, Flying Spoon, and other businesses in South Wheeling. You can also print a copy from our website or from this link.

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The highlighted range shows where the building of the scavenger hunt can be found.

A major project for Griffin Nordstrom, Ritchietown Renaissance’s first AmeriCorps member, has been to provide a mapping resource of the historic properties of South Wheeling to better depict and educate on what has been lost and what remains.  For this effort, various resources have been researched including the published guide ‘The Saga of South Wheeling’, the South Wheeling Historic District nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, and the newspaper and historic maps collections at the Ohio County Library archives and databases. The product of this project is available publicly on Maphub software here. As this is an ongoing mapping project, there may be absences or areas for expansion in the current map, and suggestions are welcome from members of the community with knowledge of the area that may be otherwise hard to find.

Founded in 2022 with the purpose of saving the physical historic resources of South Wheeling, Ritchietown Renaissance Inc. has been hard at work in this mission with events and outreach, sharing education and support about the historic character of the South Wheeling area and how buildings can be better preserved for future care. Included in this mission is awareness of the recently established South Wheeling Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places, which includes a majority of the area covered in the Love Your Neighborhood Architecture Scavenger Hunt.

 

Griffin Nordstrom is a native of Morgantown WV, but currently resides in Pittsburgh while he pursues a Master’s in public history at Duquesne University. He is the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps member for Ritchietown Renaissance Inc., where he is helping establish the organization’s digital presence and mapping South Wheeling’s history. He received Bachelor’s degrees at West Virginia University in Sculpture and Art History.