Wheeling, Ohio County
2017 Update: Early on February 29, 2016, Wheeling’s Second Presbyterian Church suffered a catastrophic roof collapse during a period of heavy rains and high wind warnings. After the city deemed it unsafe, the 1850, Greek Revival style building was demolished. PAWV had added the vacant church to its Endangered Properties list in 2013 after a partial, less damaging roof collapse due to truss failure. Since that time, a state historic preservation grant had assisted in the roof’s repair, using local timbers and volunteer labor, while the interior had recently been cleared of debris. The church’s owner, the Near Earth Object Foundation, was preparing to transform it into an urban observatory and educational facility. Although hopes for the church’s reuse are now over, certain key elements were able to be salvaged during the demolition process, including some stained glass windows and the original church bell.
2013: The Historic Second Presbyterian Church (Ohio County) is located at 2001 Market Street in the heart of the Wheeling’s Center Market Square Historic District. The Greek Revival Church has stood at its current site since 1850 and was the heart and soul of Wheeling’s Abolitionist Movement. In February, 1865, one week after President Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery with the passing of the 13th Amendment, the Freedmen’s Association held its meeting at the church. Additionally, in 1859 the church’s Reverend Richard Dodge, a good friend of President Lincoln, organized the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), which is still popular to this day. The church is currently threatened by environmental damage since a large portion of the roof collapsed due to truss failure in the summer of 2011. The roof’s trusses were weakened decades ago after being cut and modified to hang a chandelier in the sanctuary. Now the building’s owner, Near Earth Object Foundation, is rehabilitating and preserving the historic church to reopen it for presentations, plays, and educational events, as well as an urban observatory, a project to observe and monitor Near Earth Objects that is supported by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
Endangered Properties List
If you are interested in assisting with any of these preservation projects, contact the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org.