Wheeling, WV: National Road Bridge

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You’ll find great views of Wheeling from the old suspension bridge (discussed more on the next page).  The city has plenty of old buildings which are surprisingly tall, but appear to be completely vacant.

Pictured above is an exception: the Capitol Music Hall, which rivals the Grand Old Opry in importance for country music fans.

The “Available” sign on the Marsh Stogies factory would seem to indicate that the cigar business, like so many others in Wheeling, has seen better days.

Walk a few blocks downhill from the suspension bridge and you’ll find a nice waterside park.  It provides another nice viewpoint of the river and bridge.

National Road Suspension Bridge

One of downtown Wheeling’s most interesting and historic features is the old Suspension Bridge.  The pre-civil-war structure carried the old “National Road” (later known as US 40) across the Ohio River.  A much newer bridge to the north now carries most of the traffic.

Walk across the bridge for some great views of Wheeling, the Ohio River, and of course, the bridge itself.  Traffic is restricted to vehicles weighing 2 tons or less.

Concrete curbs near the bridge are painted in bold black-and-white, making the entrances distinctive and easy to find.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is noteworthy for several reasons, according to a historic plaque placed at its eastern end:

It was constructed between 1846 and 1849.
It was the first long-span wire-cable suspension bridge in the U.S.
For many years it was the longest clear-span bridge in the world.
Its original towers and cables are still in service.
It is the most significant remaining pre-Civil War bridge in the nation.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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