When you think of Wheeling you often think of the Suspension Bridge, the Capitol Theatre, maybe even Figaretti’s Restaurant.
Two other institutions have made a big impact on this area and they’re both celebrating 90 years in Wheeling this year. The Wheeling Symphony and Wheeling Country Day School were both founded by two sisters.
The City of Wheeling has a rich history, that includes the nearly century-old Wheeling Symphony.
“Enrico Tamburini, who ended up being our first conductor, came to Wheeling to play in the orchestra for silent movies,” explained Wheeling Symphony Orchestra Librarian Dr. Gail Looney. “But Eleanor Caldwell discovered he paid cello in a string quartet. She invited the quartet to come to her house and play. Pretty much, that’s how it was founded. June 7th, 1929 the Wheeling Symphony Society was founded.”
Gail explained Eleanor Caldwell was highly influential and respected and successful. So was her sister Margaret Holloway. In fact, the same year Eleanor founded the Symphony, Margaret founded Wheeling Country Day School to give her daughter the best education.
“Margaret Holloway had a vision and it’s now my job to see it through in what it now looks like in the iteration of 2019,” said Elizabeth Hofreuter, Head of School at Wheeling Country Day. “That includes returning to our roots and opening a middle school again. That’s exactly what she did in 1929.”
The first location of the school was on the lower floor of a house in Woodsdale, a house actually donated by Eleanor Caldwell.
Over the years, the locations and people have changed, but both institutions have thrived. From 7 students to 200 and 40 to nearly 100 musicians, it seems both are here to stay.
“In 1929, to have that foresight, for the culture of Wheeling and for Wheeling to support them over 90 years, with all the ups and downs, is impressive to me and inspiring,” Hofreuter added.