We are at a crossroads. The construction fencing and towering cranes tell the story of new buildings and a bright future. Yet you can still hear the echoes of our rich history, if you listen closely.
This intersection of past and future is evident everywhere. The new Health Plan building sits in the shadow of the old Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel building. Much of our new home construction happens a short drive from Mr. Oglebay’s mansion. And brand new sewers are installed under the streets of historic North Wheeling.
The stories of 737 Market St and the city Wheeling are inextricably linked. Through the best of times, and the worst, each has been a manifestation of the other. The imminent future of our city is tied to our rich past by common threads of entrepreneurship, public service, and a commitment to preservation. We owe a debt to the men and women who led Wheeling to this day, where past, present, and future are connected by the fabric they carefully wove.
One of those early pioneers was Frank R. Scroggins. As a boy of eleven, he worked in a local glass factory, earning an apprenticeship as a machinist by the age of 16. At 20, he began working in the laundry business, and by his early thirties had struck out on his own, founding the White Swan Laundry. It was around this time he is believed to have built the home at 737 Market Street. Mr. Scroggins was known as one of Wheeling’s most prominent businessmen for the better part of half of a century. He was active in local service organizations, and led many home front initiatives during World War I. It seems that his bent for service, community, and patriotism likely played a role in the sale of this home to its next owner: American Legion Post 1.
Wheeling’s Post 1 is proud of the fact that it is the oldest American Legion Post in the country. This claim has been disputed a few times over the years (by lesser Legions, no doubt), but a review of congressional records puts the matter to rest. Post 1 made 737 Market Street its headquarters for a period of about 11 years.
The threads of service and community continued through the next era in this home’s history. It was purchased in 1949 by its longest occupant to date: The Seeing Hand Association, Inc. This organization serves the local visually impaired community by offering advocacy, education services, job training, and a host of other services. For more than 50 years, their outreach to our community came from 737 Market Street. After The Seeing Hand moved on in 1997, the home was empty for about 2 years. The entrepreneurial spirit returned to the home at this time, with at least one subsequent owner attempting to convert the home to a bed and breakfast. These efforts were sadly unsuccessful and the home went into foreclosure.
In 2013, downtown Wheeling and 737 Market Street were once again a reflection of each other…and neither looked very good. Few people at that point saw a bright future for either. This home needed an advocate, and it got one in Tishawana Terry.
Ms. Terry is a lifelong resident of Wheeling and a mother of three. To say she has been active in our community would be an understatement. She speaks up at city council meetings when she sees an injustice. She steps up to serve her neighborhood, most recently as the Vice President of the Victorian Old Town Association. And when she sees a beautiful, historically significant home in need of saving, she jumps in with both feet.
After buying 737 Market Street out of foreclosure, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. Crumbling plaster was torn out, old plumbing and outdated wiring eliminated. The kitchen was updated, the baths were remodeled, and the heating and cooling system was replaced.
Demolishing, scraping, sanding, painting, fixing, restoring, cleaning, building, improving, updating, and, wherever possible…preserving. The work has been continuous for the last few years; the results are nothing short of stunning.
Today, the home’s six bedrooms, three bathrooms, and classic floor plan are well suited to a wide variety of uses. The large back yard and the two extra lots (one on either side of the home) make for some interesting options, and the commercial zoning designation opens up possibilities for even more. The home is listed on the National Historic Registry, is located in the district of the Victorian Old Town Association, and is eligible for significant tax incentives related to restoration and preservation.
Most of the original woodwork is still there, the built-in cabinets are still there, the ornate columns and oriel window are still there. The original craftsmen would recognize their work in an instant, and they would be amazed at the improvements that have been made.
Throughout, the current owner has maintained a keen awareness of both the cultural significance and the architectural interest of this beautiful home. All of the work has been done with a care and attention to detail that will be appreciated for generations to come.
Today, as it has been through most of the last century, the home is the embodiment of the city that surrounds it. Enter the foyer, and you see the handiwork of craftsmen from the early 1900s. Take a few steps into the functionally modern kitchen, and you know that this home is ready to serve its occupants for decades to come. Walk a little further, out onto the rear deck, look out over historic North Wheeling, the Ohio River Valley. Notice the cranes and construction vehicles working downtown, as our city is ushered into its next chapter.
The home Mr. Scroggins built in Wheeling’s first heyday is set to be an icon in its next.
The home will be open on Sunday from 1-5 as part of the Friends of Wheeling Tour of Homes. For more listing information click here: 737 Market Street
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