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Engraving: 1854 View Of Wheeling, Virginia | by Ohio County Public Library
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Engraving: 1854 View Of Wheeling, Virginia

This 1854 depiction of Wheeling comes from "Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion," Vol VI. No. 14-Whole No. 144, April 8, 1854


Accompanying article about Wheeling reads:

"This city—a view of which we present below—is one of the most thriving and agreeable of its size in the New World. It is situated on the Ohio River, about fifty miles southwest of Pittsburg. The hills back of the city come so near the river as to leave rather a small area for building, so that the place is forced to extend along the high alluvial bank, principally on one street, for a distance of about two miles. It lies on both sides of the Wheeling Creek, which here empties into the Ohio. This was the site of old Fort Henry, and the seat of important operations in the early wars with the Indians. A fine stone bridge over the mouth of this, creek, connects the upper and lower portions of the city. It is the most important place in commerce and manufactures in Western Virginia. It contains several handsome churches, and other public and private buildings. It has cotton mills, rolling mills, a silk factory, a steam engine factory, etc. A large business is done in the building of steamboats. The Virginia Iron. Works, located here, turn out from one thousand to twelve hundred kegs of very superior nails per week. The national road, from Cumberland across the Allegheny Mountains, to St. Louis, passes through Wheeling, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad terminates here, making this place a great thoroughfare of travel between the east and west. The Ohio River is here crossed by a magnificent wire suspension bridge, erected at a cost of over two hundred thousand dollars. The span (said to be the longest in the world) is one thousand and ten feet from centre to centre of the stone-supporting towers, and its height, above low water mark, is ninety-seven feet. The height of the towers on the Wheeling side is one hundred and fifty-three and a half feet above low-water mark, and sixty feet above the abutment on which they stand. The entire bridge is supported by twelve wire cables, one thousand three hundred and eighty feet in length, and four inches in diameter, each composed of five hundred and fifty strands. These cables are laid in pairs, three pairs on each side of the flooring. The bridge has a carriage way, seventeen feet wide, and two feet walks, three and a half feet wide. The wire for this stupendous and beautiful structure was manufactured by D. Richards & Co., an enterprising firm in Wheeling. Like nearly all of our American cities, Wheeling is rapidly growing in wealth and the number of its inhabitants. It is one of the most centrally located cities, as it regards the rest of the Union, and possesses many remarkable natural advantages, among which is its character for healthfulness, in this respect being far superior as a residence to many of the southern and middle capitals. We have no statistics at hand, but the last census exhibited a most thrifty increase in the population, which still continues, and which will, ere long, make Wheeling a first class and wealthy metropolis. The tide of emigration which steadily sets towards this country from the old world, supplies the requisite material for this substantial growth in connection with nature’s increase."


- from the Engravings Collection of the Ohio County Public Library Archives


Visit the Library's Wheeling History website


The photos on the Ohio County Public Library's Flickr site may be freely used by non-commercial entities for educational and/or research purposes as long as credit is given to the "Ohio County Public Library, Wheeling WV." These photos may not be reproduced in any format for profit or other presentation without the permission of The Ohio County Public Library.


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Taken circa 1855