Earlier this year, Libby and Robert Strong made a life-changing decision. After more than a decade of operating their science center in the heart of Centre Market, the Strongs took a leap of faith by purchasing a historic building in Downtown Wheeling. Since then, they have been working diligently to renovate and restore the four-story building on Main Street.
With backgrounds in education, taking on a project of this scale has been a challenge for the Strongs, but it hasn’t been insurmountable. They credit much of the progress to the skilled local trade workers who have taken part in the restoration. “You need to have good people who know what they’re doing, that’s absolutely true,” said Libby Strong. “Not all, but a lot of people, if they would’ve bought this building, they probably would’ve gutted it. I’m happy that even though it’s taken longer, that’s not the path that we decided to take.” Thanks to support from incentives like the City of Wheeling’s Facade Improvement Program and Wheeling Heritage’s Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program, they’ve been able to make improvements to the building that will preserve the building’s historic integrity and keep it in use for decades to come.
As the project continues, the Strongs will commemorate the building’s rich history by including nods to the former Goodwin Drug Company in their design plans. Plans are in place to include an interactive legacy kiosk where visitors can learn more about the history of the Goodwin Drug Company and the role it served in the community throughout its century-long time in operation.
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Once complete, the community will have a bigger and better place to learn about the world around us through impressive fossil collections, telescopes, and interactive science experiences. The Wheeling Heritage Media Team got a behind-the-scenes look at the progress being made at the SMART Center’s new home at 1410 Market Street. Watch to learn more about the project and hear what the Strongs have learned along the way.
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Wheeling Heritage Media creates a variety of multimedia experiences in order to tell Wheeling’s story, both past and present. Through videos, podcasts, photos, and more, they create content and provide digital access to help more people feel connected and engaged with this vibrant, growing community