The Cathedral Parish School was built in the late 19th century in Wheeling, West Virginia, and is commonly known today as the Wheeling Catholic Elementary School. The school was constructed to meet the needs of the fast growing population due to the growth of industry in Wheeling in the 1800s. The building is a Gothic Revival mixed with a late Victorian architectural style and still retains some original features. The school was closed permanently in 2011 due to low enrollment, with no plans for the fate of the building.


  • The Cathedral Parish School/ Wheeling Catholic Elementary
    The Cathedral Parish School/ Wheeling Catholic Elementary
  • The Cathedral Parish School in the 1920s
    The Cathedral Parish School in the 1920s

The Cathedral Parish School in Wheeling, West Virginia opened in 1896 to educate the local St. Joseph Cathedral Parish community in the area. The building has the same look and features today as it did when the school was built in the late 19th century. In the 1800s, the Catholic school system started opening schools in Wheeling to better serve the growing German community. The new Catholic schools were built with the goal for students to maintain the German language in their everyday lives.

In 1856, the Cathedral Parish opened its doors as an elementary school. When the school opened, it was primarily an all boys school, and they were taught in the basement of the church. However, when the high school opened in 1897 in the same building, the elementary school was moved to the first floor of the new high school. The school became co-ed in 1923 and the high school changed its name to the Central Catholic High School. In 1960, the Central Catholic High School relocated to the building next door, leaving the elementary school the only occupants in the building.1 The elementary school was then renamed to the Wheeling Catholic Elementary School.

Wheeling Catholic Elementary School closed in 2011 with only 13 enrolled. The reason for its closure is reduction in enrollment due to "demographic changes to the community." The remaining 13 students were transferred to other Catholic elementary schools in the area where the students would have a better quality education. The building remains vacant and there is no word yet on what the future holds for the building.

1. "United States Department of the Interior National Park." Accessed October 21, 2016. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/ohio/96001572.pdf.