B&O Railroad Passenger Station
In 1853, the B&O Railroad arrived in Wheeling with the first passenger station located at the mouth of Big Wheeling Creek on the Ohio River. The rising number of train passengers called for a new passenger station, and construction on the new building began in 1906. However, the major flood of 1907 delayed the project until the doors opened on September 3, 1908. The station was very modern for its time and had an internal telephone system, steam heat, indoor plumbing, and electric elevators. In 1962, passenger trains stopped running to Wheeling, and the building was sold to a private owner who opened a bar on the 4th floor. The state of West Virginia purchased the station in 1975, and in 1976 the building was reopened as West Virginia Northern Community College.
Backstory and Context
The Wheeling Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Passenger Station opened in September of 1908.
The electricity for the station was generated using steam where the current library for WVNCC is located today. The inside of the building was described as very elegant with the two-story lobby having a colored glass dome ceiling, marble floors and wainscot, brass and wrought iron chandeliers and sconces, scarlet colored walls, oak trim, and cast iron stair wells. The train tracks were elevated because the area was prone to flooding. Therefore passengers would purchase their tickets in the first-floor lobby and board the train on the second.
The railroad industry hit its peak in Wheeling during the 1920s, and gradually declined in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1962, passenger trains stopped running to and from Wheeling, WV. However, freight trains still use the viaduct today. The building was sold to a private owner who had a bar in the 4th floor, the Blue Caboose until the state bought the building in 1975. In 1976, the building was reopened as West Virginia Northern Community College. The exterior of the station was restored, and the inside of the building now contains offices, an auditorium, classrooms, and a student activities center.
The Alumni Association for WVNCC has preserved the Wheeling B&O Passenger Station by maintaining a large collection of B&O memorabilia in their museum. The Alumni's museum belongs to the West Virginia Association of Museums and contains 1,000 pieces of Hazel Atlas Glass and a small collection of Viking Glass manufactured in the New Martinsville area.
2. "Alumni B&O Building, WVNCC, West Virginia Northern." Accessed October 21, 2016. http://www.wvncc.edu/alumni/bando-building/103
3. Withers, Bob. "When the B&O Ruled Wheeling." Classic Trains, Fall 2000, 27.