About This Place
Wheeling is a city in northern West Virginia. The city lies in Ohio and Marshall Counties. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 28,486 (31,059 in Ohio County, 360 in Marshall County).
Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British Colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1861 when the western counties of Virginia seceded from the state. Wheeling was the location of the Wheeling Convention, which established the state of West Virginia, and was the first capital of West Virginia. The capital moved so often in its early years that it was nicknamed the "floating capital". In 1870, the State Legislature designated Charleston as the capital city. In 1875, the Legislature reversed their decision and voted to return the Capital to Wheeling. This was appealed by the citizens of Charleston and finally settled by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in favor of Wheeling. In 1877 the Legislature ordered an election to be held for the citizens of West Virginia to select a permanent location for the capital, choosing between Charleston, Martinsburg and Clarksburg. By proclamation of the governor, the official move took place eight years later, and in 1885 the capital moved from Wheeling to Charleston, where it has remained.
The origins of the name "Wheeling" are disputed. One of the more credible explanations is that the word comes from the Lenni-Lenape phrase "wih link", which meant "place of the head." This supposedly referred to a white settler who was scalped and decapitated. His severed head was left on display at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River. Originally explored by the French, Wheeling still has a lead plate remnant buried by Céloron de Blainville in 1749 at the mouth of Wheeling Creek. Later, Christopher Gist and even George Washington surveyed the land in 1751 and 1770, respectively.