Wheeling, West Virginia, the seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is on the Ohio River, about 45 miles (72 km) southwest of and downstream from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wheeling Island, a residential area, is connected by bridges with the main part of the city on the east of the river and with Ohio on the west. In Oglebay Park is a plantation house dating from the 1830's.
Abundant waterpower and large deposits of coal and natural gas in the surrounding area have made Wheeling a major manufacturing center. The city's products include iron, steel, glass, enamelware, clothing, chemicals, medicines, and electronic products. Food processing and tobacco processing are also important. Wheeling is a center for shipping by water, rail, air, and highway. The city is the site of Wheeling Jesuit College.
Ebenezer Zane (1747–1812) and his family settled Wheeling in 1769. In 1774 Fort Fincastle, renamed Fort Henry two years later in honor of Patrick Henry, was built for defense against Indians. It was the scene in 1782 of one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War. Wheeling grew as an important trading post as it was reached by steamboat in 1811, by the National Road in 1818, and by railway in 1853.
Pro-Union during the Civil War, Wheeling led northwestern Virginia counties in forming a new state. The Wheeling Conventions met for that purpose in 1861–62 and made the city the capital of the Restored Government of Virginia. When West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863. Wheeling became the first state capital, 1863–70. It was again the capital during 1875–85.