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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wheeling in Ohio County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Gateway to the West

 
 
Wheeling Suspension Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
1. Wheeling Suspension Bridge Marker
Inscription. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge, designed and erected by Charles Ellet, Jr., was completed in 1849. Known as the "Gateway to the West," the bridge was the first to cross the Ohio River carrying people and products to the West along the National Road. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world, 1010 feet at the time it was constructed. The bridge held that distinction until the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. Called "the father of American suspension bridges," it is the oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the world that is still being used.

The great 1849 suspension bridge at Wheeling extended the National Road west, bringing people and goods to the city. At the northernmost navigable part on the Ohio River, overland routes, river traffic, and railroads converged, attracting entrepreneurs who manufactured iron, steel, nails, textiles, glass, tobacco, and other goods.
 
Erected by The Friends of Wheeling.
 
Location. 40° 4.193′ N, 80° 43.515′ W. Marker is in Wheeling, West Virginia, in Ohio County. Marker can be reached from Wheeling Heritage Trail. Click for map. Marker is on the Wheeling Heritage Trail along the eastern bank of the Ohio River. Marker is in this post office area: Wheeling WV 26003, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Wheeling Suspension Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
2. Wheeling Suspension Bridge Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wheeling Suspension Bridge - 1849 (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Henry (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Wheeling Suspension Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fort Henry (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pennsylvania Depot (about 400 feet away); The Siege of Fort Henry (about 500 feet away); In Memoriam (about 500 feet away); Slave Auction Block (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Wheeling.
 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 
Opening Day image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
3. Opening Day
❶ The first official crossing occurred at 10:30 a.m. on October 29, 1849, as Charles Ellet, Jr. drove his one-horse carriage across the bridge to great applause from thousands of onlookers. The formal opening occurred on November 15, 1848, as bands played patriotic music, cannon burst, and Wheelingites in their "Sunday best" promenaded across the bridge.
Close-up of photo on marker
Pay First image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
4. Pay First
❷ For over 104 years travelers crossed the Wheeling Suspension Bridge had to pay a toll. A man and horse was $.10, a six-horse carriage was 15, a four-horse mail coach was $1.25 per month, hogs and sheep were $.02 per animal, and the Western stagecoach was $2,000 per year. The tolls ended on June 15, 1953.
Close-up of image on marker
In Repair image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
5. In Repair
❸ In the 1970s the mighty bridge was in jeopardy from neglect and deterioration. It was slated for demolition. The Friends of Wheeling petitioned the state of West Virginia for funds to repair the bridge. Extensive repairs were completed in 1983, and again in time for its 150th birthday in 1999.
Close-up of photo on marker
Charles Ellet Jr. <br>Designer of the Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
6. Charles Ellet Jr.
Designer of the Bridge
close-up of an image on marker No. 561.
The Wheeling Suspension Bridge image. Click for full size.
Wikipedia
7. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 505 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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