Wheeling is filled with many years of history, and Wednesday marks the day where West Virginia’s capital started moving from here in Wheeling to Charleston.
On this day 148 years ago at 5 in the morning, West Virginia officials met here at Heritage Port, loaded up the steamboat named the “Mountain Boy” with furniture, records, and people, and it set sail for Charleston to become the new state capital.
When West Virginia was first founded in 1863, Wheeling was set as the temporary capital until they could find a permanent location.
It wasn’t until 1869 where the state legislature voted to move to Charleston since it was more of a developing city.
Wheeling was the capital of West Virginia for six years, seven months and eleven days.
And on this day in 1870, the first steamboat arrived and took off down the Ohio River.
Project Manager at Wheeling Heritage, Rebekah Karelis said, “Wheeling to West Virginia was very different to the rest of the state in the 1800’s. We were kind of ahead of our time when compared to the rest of the state. You know it has a lot of amenities here even back in the 1800’s we had a lot of amenities compared to the rest of the state, so it’s a fascinating part of our city’s history.”
Now the first state capital building still stands on Eoff Street in Wheeling, it is also known as the “Birthplace of West Virginia.”
And although Wednesday marks the first steamboat arriving here at Heritage Port, there was another trip made on the river to grab the last of the items from the capital building.