The historic 1400 Block of Market Street has seen many businesses over the years, from restaurants and saloons to car companies and candy shops. Based on extant records and architectural styles, the current buildings on this block were probably starting to be built in the mid-to-late 19th century. Each building has its own history, but their pasts are intertwined as the downtown area grew. Take a look at these advertisements for some of the various businesses throughout the 20th century!
Killian Bader and Phillip Mauer operated a saloon, restaurant, hotel, and turf exchange at 1427-1429 Market Street in the early 20th century (Wheeling Intelligencer, Oct. 7, 1905)
The Wheeling Candy Kitchen at 1433 Market St. offering delicious and delectable sweets (Wheeling Intelligencer, August 25, 1919)
Washington Restaurant opened after Prohibition started in West Virginia with the straightforward advertisement, "Good Food." (Wheeling Intelligencer, May 26, 1924)
The Capitol Car Company sold early 20th century automobiles (Wheeling Intelligencer, July 1, 1916)
In a newspaper ad, Fette's News Depot wishes all its patrons a merry Christmas. (Wheeling Intelligencer, December 25, 1948)
Many of the earlier businesses in the 1800s are difficult to find information on, let alone advertisements, but they ranged from saloons to the Standard Cigar Works to a dry cleaning business to various hotels. At 1429 Market, Killian Bader and Phillip Mauer opened the Bader & Mauer Saloon and Restaurant at the very beginning of the twentieth century. It eventually expanded to include a hotel and a “turf exchange,” which was where you would place or redeem gambling bets. Other businesses from the block included the Wheeling Candy Kitchen, Washington Restaurant, the Capitol Car Company, and one of the final ones, Fette’s News Depot.
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Probably one of the most remembered businesses was Zeller’s Steak House at 1429 Market Street, primarily for its role in organized crime. On the surface, one would see a typical steakhouse in the 1940s, marketed to middle-class people looking for a special, yet affordable, night out. However, it wasn’t a secret that Zeller’s was owned by William “Big Bill” Lias, one of the most well-known crime bosses in Wheeling. A well-known figure in Wheeling, Lias was allegedly involved in illegal gambling, prostitution, breaking liquor laws and was eventually arrested for tax evasion.1 But, can you imagine getting a full lobster dinner for $2.50 today?
What is the next life of the 1400 Market block going to be? If you or anyone you know is interested in buying and developing this historic city block and its buildings, click here for more information!
• Emma Wiley, originally from Falls Church, Virginia, was a former AmeriCorps member with Wheeling Heritage. Emma has a B.A. in history from Vassar College and is passionate about connecting communities, history, and social justice.