The East Wheeling Historic District [†] is significant for architecture with varying styles of architecture used in the dwellings. Several buildings are works of noted architects. There are many types of architecture in the East Wheeling Historic District, however, four styles of architecture dominate the residential sections of the proposed East Wheeling Historic District: Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate and Eastlake. Other styles incorporated into the proposed East Wheeling Historic District include Lombardi Romanesque, Romanesque Revival, Victorian Gothic, Richardson Romanesque and Classical Revival, Colonial Revival and Vernacular. Wheeling's Edward B. Franzheim and F. F. Fans designed many buildings in Wheeling, including the YWCA, the Scottish Rite Temple, the Hazel-Atlas Building and the Elks building in East Wheeling. Franzheim, a Wheeling native born in 1866, was described by Cranmer as "probably the most successful and best known architect in the state of West Virginia." Mr. Franzheim, a member of a prominent Wheeling family of German descent, studied architecture for seven years in Boston. Cranmer credits him with designing many "of the most elaborate residences and buildings in Wheeling." The Court Theater and Board of Trade Building in Wheeling were also designed by Franzheim.
M.F. Fans was a partner in the prosperous firm of Giesey & Fans, founded in 1899, which designed and constructed, c. 1906, the elaborate porch at the main entrance to the Warden's residence at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville. He was also the architect for the Virginia Theater on 12th Street. Faris was born in St. Clairsville, Ohio. His father, Joseph A. Fans, was a well-known Wheeling artist. Giesey, a Wheeling native, was self-taught. He practiced architecture successfully for six years before partnering with Faris. Giesey had three brothers: Edward and Albert V. were carpenters, and John L., a contractor. They worked on many projects with Giesey and later with the firm of Giesey and Faris. Giesey was architect for the Wheeling Post Office/Custom House United States Court House and the Wheeling Steel and Iron Company building.
Other architects involved with East Wheeling were Roland Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio, who designed the Methodist Building and Edward Joseph Weber of Pittsburgh who designed St. Joseph's Cathedral. Weber also designed Commencement Hall on the Bethany College campus. John White was the master builder on the Greek Revival Protestant Episcopal Church at the corner of Byron and 12th Streets, part of the Monroe Street East Historic District.
St. Joseph's Cathedral at 1300 Eoff Street, a Lombardi Romanesque church, was designed by architect Edward Joseph Weber of Pittsburgh. The overall design of the church is that of a modified Basilica plan. The design is a cross with the great dome directly over the crossing. Four square piers support limestone arches to carry the 148-foot dome. The nave has eight massive limestone columns topped by a coffered barrel vault. The building has green-gray Vermont slate steps and altar platforms. The handmade Flemish quarry floor tiles have decorative insets of various crosses. Marble from Italy, Spain, Greece and France was used in the altars and shrines.
Weber sought out well known artists to work with him on the cathedral. Frank Aretz of Pittsburgh was the stone carver; George W. Setter of Bucks County, Pa., designed and made the stained glass windows; and Felix B. Lieftuchter of Cincinnati painted 9,000 feet of rare "keim" murals, painted with a type of German oil paint. The artist combined classic forms of Christian imagery with designs and colors of Mexico. The dome mural is a vision of heaven. The central mural depicts the enthroned Christ seated on his own cathedra in the midst of the Communion of Saints.
The west facade features a statue of St. Joseph, a wheel window flanked by symbols of the four Gospel writers, an arcade with happy and sad corbel faces and a semicircular tableau of the enthroned Christ. The main entry door arches feature the hand of God in the center keystone, while the other three arch motifs feature symbols of Christ, figures of Mary, John the Baptizer, the twelve Apostles and symbols of the Holy Spirit and the seven sacraments. An angel and a devil flank the entry with pen in hand to write down t e good or bad deeds of all who enter. Most of the statues were carved of Caen French limestone.
Sotter's stained glass windows are intricately designed. The wheel window is composed of glass panels between a series of overlapping rounded arches and columns in deep blues and reds with a central green cross. The side windows follow the life of St. Joseph from his marriage to Mary to his death. Six large medallions feature the major life events and eight smaller ones, the lesser events. In the dome, windows depict the four archangels. Panels on the side aisles depict the life of Jesus Christ and Old Testament parallels.
The Methodist Building, at the corner of Eoff and 11th Streets, is an Art Deco building of granite and limestone. Tennessee Tavemelle brown marble, Greek Tinos green marble, terrazzo and brass were incorporated in the building's interior. The grand staircase has a specially designed pressed bronze railing with silver-like Monel metal ships spaced evenly along the handrail. The steps are of Roman Travertine, a light-colored volcanic lava material from Italy. The stair risers are an original Moorish design in blue, cream and red. American black walnut, Prima Vera from Guatemala and mahogany from Africa and the Philippines were used in the wainscoting, doors, corridor paneling and baseboards. The building was designed to have more floors added. Steel joists of open web steel supported on steel beams were used to reinforce the floors. Two inches of clay or gypsum tile were added to the structural steel for fireproofing. The building was steam heated and fully air conditioned when completed in 1937. The cross mounted between the third and fourth floors on the front facade and another on top of building were added when the Fourth Street United Methodist Church bought the building in 1951. The sailing ship in relief on the front of fifth story section on the front facade matches the ships on the grand staircase and was the logo of the Fidelity Investment Company. The building was built to be the headquarters for the company's world wide investment business. The company had offices in Paris, London and Sydney. The building's architect was Roland Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson was a nationally prominent architect who designed many important buildings in the Midwest. In West Virginia, he also designed Commencement Hall on the Bethany College campus. George Fuller, Co., which built the West Virginia State Capitol, as well as the Arlington and Lincoln Memorials, the U.S. Supreme Court, Federal Reserve and U.S. Department of Justice buildings was the building contractor. The building has "1937" engraved in a cornerstone on the corner 11th/Chapline Streets.
The Hazel Atlas Building at 87 15th Street, now a classroom building of West Virginia Northern Community College, was built on a site previously occupied by the Cut Rate Food and Produce Co., a duplex and an abandoned building. Two hundred and thirty-five employees moved into the new building in April, 1931. Edward B. Franzheim was the architect. The Hutter Construction Company of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin was the general contractor. The four story building was erected at a cost of $200,000. It was designed to accommodate two additional floors. The red brick and sandstone building has a three story multi-ton glass entrance portal. Van-colored Vermont marble, bronze and stained glass were used throughout the building and are still evident on the first floor lobby. Although the interior of the building has been extensively renovated for classrooms, the fourth floor's luxuriously furnished boardroom featuring a large open fireplace is still intact. The building was donated to West Liberty College in 1964 for use as the college's Wheeling campus by Continental Can Company after a court battle over a merger between the Hazel Atlas and Continental Can Companies. The Hazel Atlas Company had been formed in 1902 by mergers of several glass companies in the Northern Panhandle. By 1956, the building was headquarters for the company, which had grown to control 12 glass plants and one metal plant. They manufactured caps, glue and paste bottles, mixing bowls, snuff bottles, Vaseline and Vicks jars, wide-mouth food and cosmetic jars, Mason canning jars plus glassware and dinnerware.
The John W. Morris Scottish Rite Cathedral is a square five story stone building on a raised foundation. The building replaced an earlier temple that had been destroyed by fire after only one year of use. Fred. F. Fans and his associate Ben Hamilton designed the current building, which was completed and dedicated in October 1916. The building at five stories was the tallest building in East Wheeling, excepting church spires and the YWC A. The bold geometric shape and recessed rows of windows on the side facades of the lower floors are modem looking but the building has classical ornamentation. Pilasters and Ionic columns break the building's horizontal lines, while wreaths, festoons and emblem sculptures enrich the building facades. Its interior is plush with dual white marble staircases with curving railings inside the front entrance. Marble fireplaces, a duck pin bowling alley in the basement, and a billiard room are included in the building in addition to a ballroom and Egyptian styled auditorium.
Adpated from: Teanne Grimm (with assistance from Hydie Friend, Wheeling Heritage, Katherine Jourdan, WV SHPO), Gran Jean, Research & Consulting, East Whilleing Historic District, nomination document, 1998/1999, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
12th Street • 13th Street • 14th Street • 15th Street • 16th Street • Byron Street • Chapline Street • Eoff Street • Jacob Street • Lane 13 • Wood Street