Wheeling, a port of delivery and the largest city of West Virginia, capital of the state and of Ohio co., on the E. bank of the Ohio river and on both sides of Wheeling creek, 92 m. below Pittsburgh, 365 m. above Cincinnati, and 215 m. W. N. W. of Washington; lat. 40° 7' N., Ion. 80° 42' W.; pop. in 1850, 11,435; in 1860, 14,083; in 1870, 19,280, of whom 4,153 were foreigners and 390 colored; in 1876, locally estimated at 30,000. It extends 5 m. along the river, with a breadth of from two to eight squares, and is bounded in the rear by a range of hills. It is divided into eight wards, but is popularly known by five divisions, viz.: North, East, and Centre Wheeling, Zane's island, and South Wheeling. The island, in the Ohio rive/, is more than a mile long, and contains 400 acres; it is connected with the city by a fine suspension bridge. The custom house, of stone, also contains the post office and United States court room. There are an odd fellows' hall, a public library, and an opera house. A new capitol is in course of erection. There is an extensive fair ground, with a trotting course. Wheeling has an important trade by way of the river and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and its connecting lines.
On June 30, 1875, there were belonging to the port 73 steamers, tonnage 8,508, and 128 barges, tonnage 13,336. During the year ending on that date 11 steamers, tonnage 2,067, and 17 barges, tonnage 1,383, were built. The chief interest is manufacturing, for which the city has rare advantages. The surrounding hills and the adjacent country contain immense deposits of bituminous coal, which is readily and cheaply obtained. The leading establishments are iron and nail mills, glass works, and founderies and machine shops. There are in the city six nail factories and two manufactories of railroad, merchant bar, and sheet iron, while within a radius of four miles are four other large iron and nail works. The spike mills produce annually 60,000 kegs for railroad and boat building. The Superior foundery and machine works, covering 2½ acres, produce castings of all kinds, rolling mill, steamboat, and blast furnace engines, and mowing and reaping machines. There are six extensive glass factories. There are a national bank, with a capital of $200,000, and several state banks, with $1,400,000 capital. Each ward has a free public school, in which both English and German are taught.
The "Wheeling female college is on the highest ground in Centre Wheeling. About 2 m. from the city is the convent Mt. de Chantal, a School for girls. In the city is St. Joseph's academy for males, adjoining the cathedral. The Wheeling library association has a reading room and a library of 5,000 volumes. There are three daily and five weekly (one German) newspapers, and 21 churches. - Wheeling was settled in 1774, and incorporated in 1806. It became the county seat in 1797..It was the seat of government of West Virginia from the organization of the state till 1870, when the capital was removed to Charleston. In 1875 the state government was reestablished at Wheeling.