By Angela Zambito Hill
When I travel, I enjoy studying urban residential architecture and going on period home tours. Learning about the history of homes and the people that inhabited them is fascinating and teaches you about the history of the city itself. Wheeling is characterized by late Victorian era homes, dating between 1850-1910. You can see signature architectural features, such as mansard roofs and stained glass in many of Wheeling’s neighborhoods, but in my opinion, North Wheeling captures the quintessence of Victorian Wheeling.
My husband, Chad, and I purchased our North Wheeling home three years ago this month. It’s hard to believe. We moved in as just two and now have a handsome baby boy and two fluffy cats. When we were house shopping, Woodsdale was the top neighborhood on our list, and North Wheeling wasn’t even on it!
After several months of looking around at our options, our minds were opened up to the possibility of an old Victorian with a river view. I was brought up to have an appreciation for historic homes and antiques thanks to my mother’s influence and Chad was won over by the river view. Now, I know that there is so much more to love about this developing Wheeling neighborhood and its people.
First let me describe our house a bit. Known historically as the “Roberts House,” it is a three-story, Queen Anne duplex built circa 1890. It has a distinctive brick façade with sandstone details, a slate, cross-gabled roof, and a stone foundation. Similar to many of the homes on the 600-800 blocks, it boasts a National Registry of Historic Places designation.
The interior is very eclectic, with a mix of original Southern pine floors, exposed brick and decadent fixtures. From what I understand, our house was remodeled about eight years ago. It was cleverly transformed, but kept consistent with the period look. Chad has since done a number of projects himself, including a basement renovation.
One of my favorite features is the spacious deck overlooking the Ohio River! It is a great space for entertaining friends and family. Out there, you would never guess you are a few blocks from Downtown Wheeling! We even have a private backyard with enough space for gardening and playing corn hole.
I love that in North Wheeling, the rail trail runs behind my house, the Wheeling Marina is practically in our backyard, and we are within walking distance of downtown activities, such as summer festivals at Heritage Port, the Capitol Theater, and WesBanco Arena. As downtown develops, the idea of living in the vicinity becomes even more exciting!
Probably one of the best features of the North Wheeling neighborhood is the people! So many of my neighbors have overseen their own home renovation, and many of them spend their free time trying to beautify the greater North Wheeling neighborhood. As a matter of fact, we are members of VOTA (Victorian Old Town Association). This group of caring neighbors meets monthly to discuss neighborhood projects such as community gardens and façade upkeep.
It’s also an opportunity to see other homes and businesses owned by members because it moves to a different location each month. We pay membership dues, which go to small grants and neighborhood projects that align with the mission. Oh yeah, and we party a lot. We’ve even had progressive parties that move from house to house because one thing we all have in common is an interest in nosing around each other’s homes to see the outcome of projects and the décor.
The most exciting North Wheeling news of the moment is that we have a number of new neighbors who are energetic and like-minded! North Wheeling has proven to be a great place for Chad and I to set up housekeeping. If you are interested in a historic neighborhood with a great sense of community, I happen to know there are a couple of homes on the market now.