Wheeling Park was originally part of an estate owned by Thomas Hornbrook, an English immigrant. The estate was auctioned off to private investors, May 5, 1883. Throughout the late 1800s, the park was referred to as both "Hornbrook's Park" and Wheeling Park. In the 1880s, Reymann Brewing Company owned and operated the park, which they patterned after German beer gardens. In the early 1900s, it was a private amusement park with rides, a swimming pool, and a gambling casino.
In 1924, Charles Sonneborn and Louis Haller purchased the property, intending to subdivide it into residential lots. However, they offered to sell the property back to the city if enough public funds could be acquired to buy and equip the park. That year, retailer-philanthropist W.E. Stone virtually assured the purchase of Wheeling Park through his challenge grant, but in making his gift he laid down five conditions; placing control and management in a non-partisan commission, then as now, the most important factor in the growth of Wheeling’s parks system. State Senator Wright Hugus and city solicitor Carl Schmidt drafted the bill creating the Wheeling Park Commission, in response to Stone’s criteria, and took the proposed bill to the state legislature where it was enacted into law on January 26, 1925.
- The park was renamed "Wheeling Park" and opened to the public on May 30, 1925.
- The White Palace was constructed in 1926, on the site of the former gambling casino which had been destroyed in a fire.
- The golf course opened in 1926.
- The "Madonna of the Trail" statue was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1928.
- The Frank Rock Garden was created in 1929.
- In 1936, a Public Works Administration grant of $42,545 was allocated for a pool at Wheeling Park to replace the obsolete facility that dated to the early 1900s. The grant was matched locally by a gift of $52,000 from businessman W.E. Stone. The pool opened in 1937.
- The Schwertfeger Shelter opened in 1948.
- The Stifel Playground opened in 1948.
- The Memorial Ice Rink opened in 1959.
- The W.E. Stone Memorial Clubhouse and Pool opened in 1968, with a water slide added in 1979.
- A boathouse, dock, and miniature golf course were added to the Good Lake in 1972.
- A tennis dome was erected in 1972.
- The hilltop area at Wheeling Park started its development with Sonneborn Shelter, completed in 1973. Six tennis courts and the Boyce Tennis Shelter were added to the hilltop in 1984, and the soccer field complex was added in the late 1980s.
➤ 1801 National Road (Entrance to Park)
➤ No additional notes at this time.
Materials in the Wheeling Room: (non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk)
Materials in the Library's Archives: (non-circulating, view by appointment only*)
*Call 304-232-0244 or send an email to make an appointment to view archival materials.