French's Tavern Painting
QUICK LINKS: - About Paintings of Old Wheeling | - John Joseph Owen Biography
Little is known about the original French's Tavern, but it was a prominent enough landmark at the time that John Joseph Owens deemed it worthy of placing in his series of notable landmarks. The building was erected sometime around 1829 and some years later became known as 'Simms' Boarding House.' Records show the building stood on the southwest corner of Chapline and 14th Street.
Captured on film in 1892 by early Wheeling photographer W.C. Brown, Simm's Boarding House can also viewed in our Brown Collection: ▶ View photo now
In a 1938 article in the Wheeling News-Register, long-time Wheeling butcher Fritz Luikert reminiced about an early delivery route he had as a young man
"I can still remember the route I delivered," Mr. Luikert said. "The first stop I made was John Diehl's place at Tenth and Main streets. Then I went to Jacob Bayha's place in the old Grant House, where the Hawley building now stands.
"I would go to the old Simms boarding house at Fourteenth and Chapline streets where Adolph & Maybus were in business, and then out Sixteenth street to Jacob, where Mr. Odburt and Mr. Jeffers had stores. On the north side of Sixteenth street, J. R. Acker had his grocery and feed store, and sometimes I took sausage to the B. & O. railroad for George Brinkman's hotel at Grafton."
(Hoffman, Harry. Wheeling News-Register, “Fritz Luikert "Needs A Rest" After 67 Years As Butcher, So City Will Lose Famous Bacon.” Mar. 27, 1938.)
A photo from the OCPL's Brown Collection shows the Simms' Boarding House in the late 1800s:
Later buildings to occupy this space included the Catholic Women's League and Young's Cafeteria. There is now a parking lot where these buildings once stood.
-- From the Ohio County Public Library's Special Collection, Paintings of Old Wheeling by John Joseph Owens
About the Paintings of Old Wheeling Collection
Twelve paintings of Old Wheeling by John Joseph Owens (1887-1931) are on exhibit in the Wheeling Room at the Ohio County Public Library, Wheeling, WV. The paintings were commissioned by George A. Laughlin to show scene characteristic of Old Wheeling were presented to the library and are now a part of the Library's permanent art collection.