Wheeling West Virginia

Wheeling West Virginia is a smallish city located at the far northern tip of the state. In spite of being part of what is often considered a "southern" state, Wheeling is located at the same latitude as Trenton, New Jersey and Philadelphia. It is located only about 60 miles from Pittsburgh, and it's not much more than 100 miles to Cleveland and the shores of Lake Erie.

In 1861, the city became the capital of the new state of West Virginia, when it seceded from the state of Virginia and joined the Union effort in the Civil War. It only remained the capital for a short time—Charleston was made the permanent capital in 1885.

Some Wheeling hotels and bed and breakfast inns reflect the history of West Virginia independence and the Civil War. Most prominent of these is the McClure Hotel located at 1200 Market Street and opened in 1852. This is where statesmen stayed while they debated secession, and the hotel hosted a number of generals during the Civil War. It served as the Union headquarters for General William Rosecrans. While the grand dame's former glory is a bit faded, it remains an excellent mid-range hotel in the center of the city. Its location is only a couple blocks from the riverfront walk and the historic Wheeling WV Suspension Bridge, which in 1849 was the first bridge to span the Ohio River.

There are numerous Wheeling West Virginia attractions, including the legendary Capitol Music Hall, an ornate 1928 movie theatre that has been the stage for scores of country, blues, jazz, folk, and rock stars from Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and Ted Nugent. It is home to Jamboree USA, the second oldest music program in the United States, and also hosts traveling Broadway shows like Hairspray and CATS.

A stroll down Main Street will reveal lovely old Victorian architecture, including homes open to the public for tours. At 15th and Market Streets, you can visit Independence Hall, built in 1859 and containing exhibits and artifacts revealing a fascinating glimpse back in time. If you're interested in more ancient history, head about ten miles south to Moundsville and the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Site. This is one of the largest and most important conical grave mounds in the United States, and dates to a couple hundred years before the Christian Era.

The most densely populated island in the Ohio River is located under the Wheeling Suspension Bridge within the city limits. One of the Wheeling hotels as well as one of the West Virginia casinos is located here. The Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack is a large complex offering greyhound racing, slots, poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. The hotel offers deluxe rooms and suites, and there are several dining options.

If you're on family vacations, there is a good zoo (named Good Zoo) in Oglebay Park to the northeast of the city, the Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, and the Toy and Train Museum in town. Virtually all visitors to Wheeling West Virginia will arrive by car, because the closest practical airport is in Pittsburgh. This is also true of the nearest Amtrak station. Interstate 70 runs through the city, so getting here by car is quite easy. There are many Wheeling hotels to choose from, including budget motels, mid-range franchise hotels, and the luxury Oglebay Resort and Conference Center near the zoo and boasting an excellent golf course.

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