Portions of a former Wheeling Church came crumbling down early Monday morning just after the current owners have made strides toward re-opening the structure.

The former Second Presbyterian Church on 20th and Market Streets was built in 1850, making it older than the state of West Virginia.

Members of the Near Earth Object Foundation, who are the current owners of the building, say President Abraham Lincoln was friends with the first minister and his wife. Now a large part of the building lies in pieces on Market Street.

The collapse happened right around 4:30 a.m. Monday and investigators think the strong wind conditions combined with years of vacancy led to this collapse.

“It is a little discouraging we managed to get the roof put on, and literally just finished cleaning out the interior in terms of debris and everything, getting ready to start on a nice Spring/Summer session of making some progress,” said Richard Pollack, Member of Near Earth Objects Foundation.

“Well, we looked at it this morning to see if it’s stable enough to leave stand and that’s some decisions that we’re making right now with the owners of the property,” said Chief of Wheeling Fire Department, Larry Helms.

In 2011 the roof had blown off of this same building, but since then the current owners have invested in renovating the building, in hopes of re-opening it soon.
Wheeling Fire Chief, Larry Helms, says they will recommend the property owners take immediate action.