Fifteen homes in North Wheeling will be open for tours on Sunday afternoon, October 15, from 1 to 5 pm. A pre-tour Patron Party will be held the evening before. These events are part of a fund-raising effort to help save two antebellum homes on North Main Street.
Houses on tour are in the 600 to 900 blocks of Main Street, along with one house on Market Street. Histories of the homes and their early residents will be shared. The Oglebay Park trolley will provide transportation the day of the tour from the surface lot on the west side of the 10th Street garage to the middle section of the tour – 727 Main Street. The pre-tour Patron Party will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 the evening before the tour at the Robert W. Hazlett/Friends of Wheeling House, 921 Main Street. All revenue from both events will go directly toward saving the two buildings.
The two buildings in need of repair, along with the adjacent row house at 720 Main Street, have long and interesting histories. They were built around 1850 and were owned in their early years by the Hughes family. Brothers Thomas Hughes (a tailor) and Alfred Hughes (a physician) signed the Ordinance of Secession at the beginning of the Civil War, urging Virginia to leave the Union, and were labeled “traitors.” Later, Alfred refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the Union and was imprisoned for a time in Camp Chase, Columbus. Their sister, Eliza Clark Hughes, was a homeopathic physician like her brother and is believed to have been the first female doctor in Wheeling. She supported the South but eventually signed the oath of allegiance. Their brother John served for 17 years as a member of City Council, until his death from typhoid in 1870. His widow, nee Eliza Sterritt McLane, remained living in 724 Main after his death.
Charles H. Berry married Lida Hughes, the daughter of John and Eliza S. Hughes. The newlyweds moved into 724 Main with Lida’s widowed mother after their 1884 marriage and lived there until 1919, when they moved to the Woodsdale neighborhood of Wheeling. Berry was the son and namesake of Charles H. Berry Supply Company, a business that manufactured rope and twine for the riverboat industry and dealt in “pitch, rosin, oakum and leather belting, firebrick, fishing tackle, etc.” Berry Supply still exists and is thought to be Wheeling’s oldest surviving business.
Reduced price tour tickets can be purchased in advance from Wheeling Heritage (3rdfloor of the Wheeling Artisan Center, Monday through Friday), Eckhart House (810 Main – Saturdays from 10 to 5), or the UPS Store on Washington Avenue (regular business hours). Full price tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the Friends of Wheeling House (921 Main Street), the Irwin-Mathison House (727 Main Street), or the Edward Kramer House (624 Main Street).
Partners in the effort to save these remarkable buildings are the City of Wheeling, Wheeling Heritage, Victorian Old Town Association, Wheeling Young Preservationists, and Friends of Wheeling.
Tour houses are the Robert W. Hazlett/Friends of Wheeling House (921 Main), John K. List House (821 Main), Robert Gibson House (817 Main), Seybold Apartments (814 Main), George W. Eckhart House (810 Main), Reiss-Beltz House (805 Market), Scroggins House (737 Market), George Boyd House (741 Main), Joseph Hedges House (734 Main), Irwin-Mathison House (727 Main), Alfred Marks House (725 Main), William Goering House (701 Main), Phillips-Moser House (655 Main), Arthur M. Phillips House (653 Main), and Edward Kramer House (624 Main). More details on the houses are below
921 Main Street, Robert W. Hazlett House
This high-style, Second Empire home was built in 1887 by retired Wheeling physician Robert W. Hazlett. Designed by architect Edgar W. Wells, the three-story home displays fine workmanship in both the interior and exterior. Queen Anne details are found in the interior woodwork, featuring bands of suns and sunflowers. Lincrusta wainscoting lines the walls of the hall and stairway. Exterior features of note are the foundation walls of sandstone, molded brick walls, incised sandstone door and window lintels, elaborate cornice decoration, projecting bay supported by egg-and-dart brick corbelling, and mansard roof. The exterior front doors have been recently renovated. The building is presently used as headquarters for Friends of Wheeling and rental units.
821 Main Street, John K. List House
The John K. List house was built by prosperous banker Henry K. List for his son around 1893. It is primarily of the Queen Anne style, with steep roof, rounded front, entrance portico, terra cotta trim, pediment above the rounded front with a Palladian window and gable dormer with pediment. The well-traveled John List was a banker, like his father. After numerous subsequent owners and years of standing empty, the house is once again a family home.
817 Main Street, Robert Gibson House
This two-story Greek Revival house was probably built in the late 1850s by Irish immigrant Robert Gibson, a ‘tobacconist.’ Directory listings were found for Robert Gibson, as far back as 1864, living at 271 Main at that time (before North Wheeling street numbers were changed). By the time of the 1870 census, his household included his wife Amanda, sons Robert (age 15, railroad clerk) and Robert (age 12, in school), daughter Virginia (age 4), and one domestic servant.
810 Main, George W. Eckhart House
Built in 1892 by wealthy banker George W. Eckhart Jr., the Eckhart House was considered by the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer of October 29, 1892 to be one of the residential building achievements of the year. With most of its original architectural features well preserved, it is truly deserving of the title of Victorian Wheeling’s ‘Crown Jewel.’ The three-story, red brick townhouse is a fine example of a Queen Anne building, the dominant style of domestic building in the late-nineteenth century. It has a Romanesque, arched brick porch that was an early twentieth century addition to the original design. The facade features a distinctive oriel window with a painted, pressed metal pendant at the bottom. The elaborate interior detailing includes numerous decorative mantles with glazed tile surrounds and hearths, ornamental fretwork and spindlework, and lincrusta wainscoting.
814 Main Street, Seybold Apartments
Steamboat engineer John J. Seybold was the original owner of this three-story apartment building. The first city directory showing residents in it is dated 1911-1912. At that time, the first-floor apartment was occupied by Elizabeth Seybold, widow of John’s brother and fellow steamboat engineer, Peter Seybold, with other tenants on the second and third floors. As the only white façade in North Wheeling, the building stands out from its hue as well as for its classical design. Built in the classical revival style, the large Corinthian pilasters with ornate capitals support a massive cornice with egg and dart trim. A brick parapet sits atop a projecting cornice.
805 Market Street, Reiss-Beltz House
German immigrant and carpenter Mathew Reiss built this house around 1874 when the adjacent 8th Street was named Adams Street. It is probable that the building was the location of a professional office or small business, with living quarters above. The building design is vernacular with a mix of architectural trim details. The second owner was August Beltz, who worked as a blacksmith and wagon maker. His business letterhead stated that he was a “manufacturer of Carriages, Buggies, Spring Wagons, Etc., Repairing Neatly and Promptly Done.” Joseph F. Reass, son of the original owner (despite the difference in the spelling of the name), and his son, Joseph H. Reass were subsequent owners. The property stayed in the Reass family until 1993.
737 Market Street, Frank Scroggins House
Frank Scroggins, owner of White Swan Laundry, purchased this property in 1904 and probably built the house shortly after that. The American Legion Home Corporation bought the property from Scroggins in 1937, and the building was used to house American Legion Post # 1 until around 1948-49. It next housed the Community Foundation for the Blind from 1949 until 1997. During that period, it was the site of classes in such skills as caning and rug weaving for visually impaired people, along with a gift shop of the finished wares. It later was used as a bed-and-breakfast and is now once again a single-family home.
741 Main Street, George E. Boyd House
This Italianate style house was built in the 1860s. Several wonderful features include a stained glass window from Sacred Heart Church, the kitchen/great room with tin ceiling and old brick fireplace, and spectacular views of the Ohio River. George E. Boyd, Sr., a lawyer and Circuit Court judge, was married to Annie Caldwell, daughter of neighbor Alfred Caldwell. Their son, George E. Boyd, Jr., was also a lawyer and served as a U.S. Commissioner. The third -generation Boyd, Beulah Boyd, was a long-time history teacher at Wheeling High School.
734 Main Street, Joseph Hedges House
This half of a twin townhouse was built circa 1894 for Joseph Hedges. It stands on the former site of the Fourth Presbyterian Church. Spectacular stained-glass windows highlight the lower level. Other architectural features include sandstone arches, corbeled brick, and classic triangular pediments over extended oriel windows. Metal finials and a parapet are highlights of the roofline. Hedges was a traveling clothing salesman who worked for 38 years for M. Gutman & Company.
727 Main Street, Samuel Irwin, George Mathison House, 1850s
Deed records refer to this property as “homestead of Samuel Irwin,” and census records indicate that Irwin and his family lived in Wheeling from at least 1850. The first City Directory that was found with this actual street address was in 1865. The simple, little-decorated façade was typical of the pre-Victorian taste. Irwin was a Sheriff of Ohio County, and his son William H. Irwin, the next owner of the property, was a Deputy Sheriff. Subsequent owner, Scottish immigrant George Mathison, was a prominent businessman and insurance agent. His son, John J. Mathison, served as Wheeling’s mayor from 1938 to 1943.
725 Main Street, Alfred Marks House
The National Register Nomination for the district states, “circa 1850s – Alfred Marks, a river boat engineer, was probably the first resident of this house.” He was fixing some machinery on the steamer Ben Hur when he dropped dead of a stroke at age 55. Later, the house was owned by Seaton Alexander who, with his partner George S. Mathison, operated the largest retail shoe store in Wheeling. The house is a vernacular brick two-story structure with stone lintels and sill, and a metal cornice, with modillions, that extends across 727 Main Street.
701 Main Street, William Goering House
The builder of this fine house was W.G.E Goering who, like many mid-to-late 19th century arrivals to Wheeling, was born in Germany. He was a bookkeeper and treasurer of Central Glass Company in Wheeling, beginning in 1871. He tragically died after being struck by a train. The house is the only true Second Empire structure, and one of the few freestanding homes, in the North Wheeling Historic District comprised mainly of Italianate row houses. Inside, much of the historic fabric remains. An open staircase leads to the second and third floors, and lincrusta accents the wall of the main floor stair. Virtually every room includes a tiled fireplace with a carved wood mantel. Oak floors are found throughout the house, and door trim and crown molding have been left intact. Heavy panel doors on the first floor have their original faux finishes of burled wood grain. The small front court is enclosed within one of the few remaining iron fences in North Wheeling.
655 Main Street, Phillips-Moser House
This Federal-style house was probably built in 1843 by the Arthur Phillips family. The façade is quite old, with corbeled brick cornice, segmented arch dormers, and simple stone lintels and sills. The interior of the home still has much of its original woodwork. Patriarch of the family, Arthur M. Phillips, was a major manufacturer of steamboat boilers. His large family resided in several homes in North Wheeling, while their business operations took place behind the homes, along the river. Phillips’ granddaughter, Nell, married pharmacist Albert Moser, and they made their home here.
653 Main Street, Arthur M. Phillips House
The carved lintel above a second-floor window dates this house to 1831, making it one of the oldest houses in Wheeling. Or, at least the façade is that old. The house suffered a disastrous fire in 1996 and stood as a burned-out shell for nearly eight years before being returned to life as a single-family home. The original owner, Arthur M. Phillips, was a pioneer builder of steam engines for Wheeling’s thriving riverboat industry. He lost his position as Inspector of Boilers and Hulls after he was considered a traitor for signing the Ordinance of Secession, urging Virginia to secede from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War.
624 Main Street, Edward Kramer House
The first resident of this house was probably Edward Kramer in 1901. The two-and-one-half story, two bay, four-square residence has a brick façade, a slate roof, and a stucco-covered foundation. The first story has a modified Palladian window with a rounded arch transept.
Edward Kramer was a cigar-maker and the nephew of Theodore Roller, the bugler for Carlin’s Battery, the Union artillery unit that was formed in Wheeling during the Civil War. During at least part of his career Kramer worked for well-known cigar manufacturer Augustus Pollack.
News and Notes
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive e-news updates on historic preservation news and events in West Virginia.