Wheeling’s Downtown Historic District Expanded

Wheeling Heritage is thrilled to announce the expansion of its Downtown Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. This move highlights its commitment to preserving its rich heritage while fostering continued growth and development. 

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of buildings, structures, objects, and sites recognized by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior for their importance to local, state, or national history. Properties must retain their historic integrity and may be recognized for their connections to American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. 

The district’s original boundaries, added to the National Register in December of 1979, are bound by 10th Street to the north; Eoff Street to the east; 17th Street to the south; and Water Street to the west. The period of significance for this historic district has been expanded to include buildings that are 50 years or older.  This means that buildings in downtown Wheeling built as recently as the 1970s will now be listed as contributing to the historic district. Before this time period expansion, the cutoff date for buildings in the downtown district was the mid-1930s. 

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Betsy Sweeny, Director of Heritage Programming commented, “This is particularly significant for our mid-century buildings looking to undertake historic rehabilitation and need to access historic tax credits to finance their projects. Helping Heroes and the Kaufman’s building are two examples of architecturally significant buildings that were not included in the previous period of significance, and thereby ineligible for tax credits. Now that is no longer the case.” 

Expanding the period of significance for the Downtown historic district will allow buildings like the former Columbia Gas Building to be eligible for historic tax credits – often an essential component for making historic restoration projects financially viable (photo courtesy of Wheeling Heritage Media).

Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archaeological resources. In each state, the program is administered through the State Historic Preservation Office.

The expansion of the Downtown Historic District is a testament to Wheeling’s commitment to its heritage, its residents, and its future. As the city continues to evolve, the preservation of its historical treasures remains a cornerstone of its identity. You can learn more about each of Wheeling’s historic districts and read through their nominations by visiting the City of Wheeling’s Historic Landmarks Commission webpage.