Coney Island (Twin Sisters Islands)
Warwood’s earliest recorded history begins here: in October 1770, George Washington records in his diary that he encamped at “the lower point of some Islands which stand contiguous to each other”, which historians recognize as this island; after traveling further down the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, he returned to the island again the following month. Before 1905, there had been a café and dancing pavilion on the island. An amusement park was completed in 1905 by the Wheeling Amusement Company at a cost of $20,000. Over 6,000 people came to the island for its grand opening on June 10. Coney Island featured a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, a stadium that fit 2500 patrons, a German beer garden, camel rides, Vaudeville shows, and much more. The amusement park was abandoned in 1907 after a history of floods.
Backstory and Context
The island is located in Warwood, Wheeling's northern most neighborhood. the neighborhood is named after Henry Warwood, who founded the Warwood Tool Company in 1854 in Martins Ferry. The company was relocated to Warwood in 1907.
As early as 1795, Thomas Glenn is the first known owner of the land; he bequeathed the land to his son, William, sometime before 1795. Farmers initially settled in the region north of Wheeling for its rich, fertile soil.
Farmland in Warwood made way to industrial and residential development at the turn of the century. Foreseeing the potential of Warwood’s future, R. J. McCullagh founded the Warwood Land Company in 1903. The company sold the lots at a very low price at the time, starting at $300 each. The land was far less susceptible to floods than other parts of Wheeling, and streetcars ran between Warwood and Wheeling every 15 minutes, which became excellent selling points for prospective residents. Working-class families who came to the area sought employment at the industrial plants and built their residences, businesses, and churches nearby. Coal mines were abundant in Warwood, and an oil boom hit Warwood in 1911.
Warwood became an incorporated community on May 26, 1911, and as part of the “Wheeling Greater Movement”, Wheeling annexed the Warwood neighborhood in 1919.
Hinrichs Bissett, Mabel, & Bertha Cupp Jones. Warwood: a History, 1669-1975. Ernest St. C. Benfield: 1993.
Rieth, Christina. "Warwood: a Walking Tour of its History and Architecture". Wheeling Heritage: 2017.