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Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocers

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Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocers

From humble beginnings selling "fruits, vegetables, and produce" from his residence in 1884, Edward Wagner went on to be "the largest wholesale grocery business controlled by an individual in the United States."[1] By 1888, his business moved from his residence to 2109 Main Street. The 1892 Wheeling City Directory shows an expansion of his shop to 2109 & 2111 Main Street and is the first reference to Wagner selling "wholesale." By 1894, Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocer had moved to 1309 Main Street, listed as a dealer in "wholesale cheese and grocers' specialties, (Switzer and Limburger cheese a specialty,) also sole agent for H. J. Heinz Co., Pittsburg [sic]."

In 1915, work began on the Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocers Warehouse at the intersection of 20th and Main Streets. 

-from the Wheeling Warehouse Historic District National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 2002

The Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocers building, built in 1915, is an example of the Neoclassical Warehouse style. This unique building is the tallest of the warehouses in this area and has no structural wooden framing. It was designed by a Wheeling architect, F.F. Faris and provided storage for the Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocery Company. The building is framed with round poured-in-place concrete columns and thick elevated slabs and has non-bearing exterior masonry walls. Between the first and second floors is a narrow band of terra cotta. This decorative molding material also occurs at the parapet of the building and as flat capitals atop the brick pilasters. The round concrete columns decrease in size at each floor elevation as they progress to the top of the building. The capitals atop the columns are splayed to add support for the floors. The brick and terra cotta building was fireproof and had a railway siding leading into the building.

Wagner continued in the wholesale grocery business until around 1928/29. He briefly operated the Fireproof Storage Co., "storage, hauling and rug cleaning," out of the warehouse before he passed away December 28, 1929

Now located within the Wheeling Warehouse Historic District, the 70,000 sq. ft. old warehouse building is listed on the National Register of Historic places. In 2001, the McKinley & Associates Architectural and Engineering firm completed a $4 million renovation on the building, converting the seven-story historic structure into a "Class A" office space called the Wagner Building. It currently houses several businesses, including Wheeling's Main Street Bank. 

[1] Obituary: Edward Wagoner, "Spirit of Democracy," Woodsfield, Ohio, January 30, 1929


 ▶ ~1884-1886: 2124 Main Street ("fruits, vegetables, produce"; also Wagner's residence)
 ▶ ~1886-1888: 2148 Main Street ("groceries and produce"; also Wagner's residence)
 ▶ ~1888-1890: 2109 Main Street ("groceries and produce")
 ▶ ~1890-1892: 2109-2111 Main Street ("groceries and produce")
 ▶ ~1894-1901: 1309 Main Street ("wholesale cheese and grocers' specialties")
 ▶ ~1901-1915: 1309-1311 Main Street ("wholesale grocer")
 ▶ ~1915-1929: 2001-2009 Main Street ("wholesale grocer")
 ▶ 2001-present: 2001 Main Street (The "Wagner Building")


Edward Wagner Wholesale Grocers

Additional Resources

▶ Vertical File: Wagner Building, Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk.

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-Information on this page compiled by erothenbuehler
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