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West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 1 of 10: Wheeling

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Wheeling’s first market was built at this location in 1822 and consisted of a town hall on the second floor and a market that operated twice a week on the first floor. For many years prior to the Civil War, hundreds of enslaved persons were sold at the market. The market was demolished in 1911 and was replaced by the Market Auditorium shortly after. The Market Auditorium was in use from 1913 until it was demolished in 1964.


A turn-of-the-century view of the former town market which at that time also included a restaurant. Image from the Wheeling Public Library.

A turn-of-the-century view of the former town market which at that time also included a restaurant. Image from the Wheeling Public Library.

Location of the Market House

Wheel, Car, Tire, Land vehicle

The Market Auditorium, built in 1912. Image from the Ohio County Public Library.

The Market Auditorium, built in 1912. Image from the Ohio County Public Library.

Market Auditorium, c. 1937

Building, Sky, Window, House

Wheeling Intelligencer, May 5, 1916, front page

Newspaper, Publication, Font, Material property

Wheeling Intelligencer, May 5, 1916, page 13

Newspaper, Publication, Font, News

Wheeling Intelligencer, May 5, 1916, page 13

Photograph, Font, Crowd, History

Antoinette Funk, c. 1913

Jaw, Tints and shades, Vintage clothing, Art

Wheeling Majority, June 8, 1916

Font, Publication, Paper product, Paper

The Wheeling Intelligencer, May 5, 1916

Publication, Font, Newspaper, Rectangle

The Second Ward Market House was building to accommodate the growing commercial economy in Wheeling which was quickly outgrowing the city’s original market, located at the east end of the Wheeling suspension bridge. Local landowner and entrepreneur Noah Zane donated the land to the city for the purpose of building a larger public market. Vendors rented the eight stalls on the first floor while the second floor served as the first home of Wheeling's City Hall. Prior to the Civil War, hundreds of enslaved persons were sold outside of the market on the corner of 10th Street.

In 1911, the original building was torn down and replaced with the much larger Market Auditorium building in 1912. This new building was significantly larger and housed both market space and an auditorium. The building was designed to hold around 3,500 people with 64 indoor stalls and 23 outdoor spaces for venders. The market was expanded several times in the 19th century, growing to a total of 76 stalls. Like the original Second War Market House, this building had a second story with office space.

In 1913, Wheeling suffragists Annie Caldwell Boyd, Dr. Harriet B. Jones, and Ellen Douglas Hoge marched in the suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. After their experiences at the capitol the three women spoke at a meeting in the Market Auditorium in Wheeling that revitalized the suffrage momentum in the city and led to the reformation of the suffrage old club as the Ohio County Equal Suffrage League.

The West Virginia Republican Party held its state delegate convention on May 4, 1916 at the Market Auditorium to select delegates to attend the Republican National Convention in Chicago, IL. During the convention, women’s suffrage advocate Antoinette Funk of Illinois addressed the crowd in support of women’s rights and the Republican Party. In 1914 Funk was chair of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and in 1916 she was a member of the Associate Progressive Campaign Committee. She was a well-traveled speaker, and by 1925 she had traveled to every state to speak on women’s rights, politics, and the war effort. 

The Market Auditorium was demolished in 1964. 

Daily, Andrew, Eric Brooks, and Nathan Rees. “Biography of Antoinette Funk, 1869-1941.” Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920.” Accessed February 25, 2022. https://documents.alexanderstreet.com/d/1009639921.

Effland, Anne Wallace. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in West Virginia, 1867-1920.” M. A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1983. 

Market House (Second Ward). Ohio County Public Library. Accessed December 16, 2018. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5473. 

Market Auditorium. Ohio County Public Library. Accessed February 16, 2019. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/3797.

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 05, 1916, Image 1, 13. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-05/ed-1/seq-1/.

“Women’s Suffrage Meeting Was Held At New Board of Trade Rooms in Auditorium. Dr. Harriet Jones and Mrs. Annie Boyd Gave Talks on Suffrage Parade in Washington.” Wheeling Intelligencer, March 13, 1913. Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit. Accessed February 28, 2022. http://archive.wvculture.org/history/exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffrageparadeintelligencer1913.html.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Google Maps. Accessed March 7, 2022.

"Market Auditorium in 1937." Archive Wheeling. April 18, 2016. Accessed February 25, 2022. http://www.archivingwheeling.org/blog/wheeling-renaissance-fort-henry-mall/1937_market-auditorium.

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 05, 1916, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-05/ed-1/seq-1/.

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 05, 1916, Page 13, Image 13. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-05/ed-1/seq-13/.

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 05, 1916, Page 13, Image 13. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-05/ed-1/seq-13/.

"Antoinette Funk." Wikipedia. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoinette_Funk.

Wheeling majority. [volume], June 08, 1916, Image 5. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092530/1916-06-08/ed-1/seq-5/.

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 05, 1916, Page 12, Image 12. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-05/ed-1/seq-12/.