Historic Warwood Structures Explored

In her year of researching the Warwood neighborhood of Wheeling, Christina Rieth has documented 1,381 historic structures built before 1969.

“It’s the densest neighborhood in Wheeling,” Rieth told a packed auditorium at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday during her Lunch With Books presentation, “A Virtual Historic Walking Tour of Warwood.” About half the audience members live in the neighborhood, judging by a show of hands.

Rieth, who studied architecture and is a PreserveWV AmeriCorps member working for Wheeling Heritage highlighted 23 historic properties in Warwood, all of which will be part of the actual walking tour she will conduct starting at noon Saturday at the Warwood Shopping Center.

Rieth, who is from Minnesota, explained her research is part of her bid to have Warwood named a national historic district, a designation already in place for other areas of the city, including Wheeling Island and the central business district.

“This survey is going to be presented to Wheeling Heritage, Wheeling Landmarks Commission, city council, really any interested parties. … If nominated, eligible properties will be eligible for historic tax credits and those are used for renovation and restoration projects here in Wheeling. So we hope to expand that to Warwood.”

Rieth gave a brief history of Warwood, noting it was named for Henry Warwood, founder of Warwood Tool Co., but originally was surveyed by George Washington, who had explored the area in October of 1770. Thomas Glenn was the first owner of land in Warwood, with Glennova, the northern part of Warwood, named for him. Richland is the central part of the neighborhood, so named for the rich soil that attracted farmers to the area, while the southern part is called Loveland.

The town was incorporated in 1911, with land owners J.W. Abercrombie as the first mayor and Charles H. Dowler, the second. It was annexed by Wheeling in 1919.

Rieth named the Lasch House at 603 Warwood Ave., currently occupied by Vice Mayor Chad Thalman, as the oldest property she has documented in Warwood so far, built in 1895 by farmer Conrad Lasch.

Other homes she featured include the George Dorsch house at 1100 Warwood Ave., a neoclassical home built in 1918 and the first stop on her walking tour; the turreted, 18-room Queen Anne style home built in 1904 for Dowler where Jeff and Sandy Mauck live on Warwood Avenue; a Dutch revival style home on North 18th Street that was one of four Warwood Tool company homes; and the home of famous Warwood resident and football great Chuck Howley, at 112 N. 21st St.

Rieth pointed out that the home next door to opera star Eleanor Steber’s is no longer standing but was located where the Rite Aid is on Warwood Avenue. Her father, she noted, was president of the Bank of Warwood, which was torn down in 2015 where the new Progressive Bank building is located on Warwood Avenue.

“There’s so many physical sites that attribute to her life, and they’re torn down. We’ve lost those physical memories, so it’s really important to save our historic sites in Wheeling,” Rieth said.

Many churches and industrial sites also are on the walking tour, as is an overview of Coney Island, the early 20th-century amusement park in the middle of Ohio River that was destroyed by a flood two years after it opened.

Rieth noted the water filtration plant scheduled to be demolished is “an architectural gem” that she toured in February. The geometric shapes that are the calling cards of Art Deco style can be found at the front entrance both outside and inside, where oak detailing and marble floors have greeted workers since 1924.