Friendly City Seeking Applicants for Historic Landmarks Program

If your walls could talk – and tell some fascinating tales about Wheeling’s past – the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission wants to hear from you.

The commission is taking applications for its new historic plaque program, which seeks to recognize buildings tied to the people, places and things that have shaped the Friendly City through over the years.

Commission member Greg Smith brought the idea from an Illinois community where he lived years ago, and the hope is the program will increase awareness and pride in Wheeling’s rich and varied history, and maybe even spur some to uncover yet-to-be-told stories as they research information for their application.

Those accepted will receive a plaque – painted white, bearing the date of construction, the name of the original owner and a neighborhood-specific logo – to be displayed on the building’s exterior.

Buildings must be at least 50 years old to qualify, and commission members will judge them based on three main criteria: architectural value, historical value and maintenance.

“It will have to be in good condition, good repair,” said Tom Connelly, assistant director of Wheeling’s Economic and Community Development Department.

Each of the seven commission members will score a building from zero to 10 in each of the categories, with an average score of six in all three needed to qualify.

The application fee is $50, enough to cover the cost of the plaque and lettering, but Connelly said any applicant who is denied will receive a full refund. There are 15 plaques available, but more will be ordered if the need develops.

Forms are available at the Economic and Community Development Department on the third floor of the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.

For more information, call 304-234-3701.