homeowner would have liked to "Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree" --
but Friday's storms required a lot more. As one drives up to Woodridge
House, things appear normal. Go over to the west side of the house,
however, and disaster.
Owner Beth Hinebaugh and her husband had been out to dinner minutes before the storm hit. They arrived to find, as Beth put it, "The wind came through, knocked down an approximately hundred-year-old oak tree onto the top of the house."
Woodridge House had been their dream house -- as it had been for Daniel Steenrod, who built the house in Wheeling, Virginia, in 18-31. Patriarch Daniel Steenrod moved to what was then Wheeling, Virginia to help build the National Road. His descendents figured prominently in Wheeling's history through the early 1900's, as local historian Margaret Brennan explained.
"Daniel amassed a lot of land, and he actually, where he built his house, Woodridge, on the hill, they said as far as the eye could see from that hillside, it was 'Steenrod Land,'" she said.
Debris from the tree and roof littered the grounds. The Hinebaughs worried about Woodridge House. The old oak tree had punched a gaping hole in the roof and wrecked the third floor. Steve Katz began cautiously cutting the remains of the oak tree at nine in the morning. By about three in the afternoon, he cut the toppled tree in the right place -- and it crashed to the ground, missing an awning. Earlier, Katz believed he had a 50 - 50 chance of avoiding further damage to the house.
Beth took the bad news from the insurance adjuster in stride. "We were told there's some structural damage, there's a lot of
cracks throughout the house," she said. "Doors are not fitting in the frames properly now.
We're not real sure of the exact extent yet. We're definitely going to need a
new roof," stating something terribly obvious.
The Hinebaughs say they're determined to fix the house, as they want future generations to enjoy this piece of Wheeling's history as much as they have. They now need to call in a structural engineer and general contractor to determine the extent of repairs Woodridge House will require.