The building's original plans called for an eight-story hotel above the theater. However, the decision not to build the hotel was made after the theater was completed.
The Capitol Theater was the idea of John Papulias. He served as President of Tri-State amusements and after building a theatre in nearby Steubenville, he felt Wheeling needed a place to have shows and performances. The Capitol Theatre Company was introduced. Lee C Paull served as president and with help from architecture master Charles W Bates made the Capitol Theatre possible. The name “The Capitol” could’ve been brought about two different ways. One, Wheeling was temporally the capital of West Virginia. Also, theaters around the nation were also famously being named “the Capitol.” On March 28, 1927, the land for the capitol theatre was sold and work begun. The products used to build the theatre steel etc were supplied by local Wheeling suppliers. The architect had also previously created other Wheeling landmarks. Two men were badly injured during the construction of the theatre. On November 29, 1928, the capitol opened letting the first customers in. 15,000 people attended the show that day. The Capitol theatre brought great joy. The lobby, along with its two box offices, was to be on the second floor and the entrance on the north side of the building. The theater was equipped with projectors designed for silent films as well as talkies and seats for the four shows cost a total of $0.60 in the early years of the Capitol.
On October 6, 1929, the Wheeling Symphony Society played their first performance at the Capitol. On April 1, 1933, the first Jamboree was held and at the theater and broadcast live by WWVA radio. Theater also had a ballroom and hosted many weddings, dances, and other social events.
After the theater reopened in October 2009 after being closed for two years and still provides nationally touring acts and local performances, like the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. The Capitol Theatre continues to bring great joy and has been up-kept by historians, conservationists, and Wheeling’s own. Performances continue to happen at the Capitol Theatre and it is still in great shape today.