Shepherd Hall/Monument Place
Shepherd Hall (Also known as Monument Place)
Historical Plaque of Monument Place
1832 Portrait of Lydia Boggs Shepherd by James Reid Lambdin.
Backstory and Context
Shepherd Hall, also known as Stone Mansion and Monument Place, was built in 1798 by Moses Shepherd as a home for himself and his wife, Lydia Shepherd (née Boggs) in 1798. Shepherd’s father, David, originally owned the land and built a fort on the site. This fort served as a refuge to families living around the Wheeling Creeks; however, the Shepherd’s Fort was caught fire and burnt down by Native Americans. Following David Shepherd’s death in 1795 Moses inherited the land. At the time of construction, the house was a part of a large plantation.
The Shepherds, especially Lydia, were prolific socialites and played host to several prominent guests during their lifetimes. The Shepherds often visited Washington DC and soon became friends with many politicians, such as Henry Clay, James Polk, and Andrew Jackson. While some of these politicians, especially Clay, passed through Wheeling they would often stay with the Shepherds at Monument Place; it is rumored that Marquis de Lafayette even stayed there while traveling through Wheeling. Due to the Shepherd’s great relationship with Henry Clay they managed to convince him to have National Road pass directly past Monument Place, which benefited a nearby general store that the Shepherds owned. Moses Shepherd became very wealthy by building two bridges that span over Wheeling Creek to allow the National Road to pass their estate. Monument Place gets its nickname due to Lydia Shepherd Cruger erecting a statue honoring Henry Clay for bringing the National Road to the area (the monument no longer stands).
Despite the fame of their guests, the house acquired most of its renown from the long life of Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger. Born in 1766, Lydia lived long enough to see both the American Revolution and the Civil War. When her first husband died of cholera in 1832, she remarried to Daniel Cruger one year later, though he died of apoplexy in 1843. Though she later became a recluse, Lydia would entertain the occasional guest that wished to pick her brain about something she had experienced in her long life. She remained in the house for the rest of her life, passing away in 1867 at the age of 101.
As Lydia died without issue, the land around the house was sold off in lots and would eventually become Elm Grove. The mansion itself was sold to the Loring family in 1870 and would stay in the family until 1926. The Osiris Shrine Temple would purchase the house from the estate of Lucy Loring Milton, where it has been since. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Shepherd Hall estate, as it stands today, occupies five acres of land. Until 1926, only a few changes were made to the land and structure. The central building is 2 1/2 stories, with a stone exterior. A small cottage stands to the left of the main building and was constructed by the Loring family. However, the Osiris Temple has made the most changes to the house itself, extending the back of the building to accommodate large rooms for banquets and meetings. At 215 years old, Shepherd Hall stands as the oldest house in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Biography: Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger. Ohio County Library. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/biography-lydia-boggs-shepherd-cruger/4207.
History of Monument Place. Accessed February 19, 2017. http://www.wvgenweb.org/ohio/monument.htm.
"Monument Place opening its door for open house." The Times Leader(Wheeling), February 06, 2017.
Monument Place. Ohio County Public Library. Accessed February 19, 2017. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5453.
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. National Park Service. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/fada11f7-c9e4-41dc-81ad-3018976b9c34?branding=NRHP.
Shepherd Hall. WV Public Broadcasting. February 26, 2016. http://wvpublic.org/term/shepherd-hall.