Wheeling Young Preservationists

Preserving Wheeling’s past builds a better community today

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Let’s address the 25-ton project in the city

By: Alex Panas

You may have heard some buzz about the “big move” to downtown Wheeling, and no, I’m not talking about The Health Plan. I’m talking about the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument. This magnificent piece of history currently sits atop the hill overlooking Wheeling Park, but this monument has been on a long journey and some dedicated individuals have planned to relocate the monument in its rightful home in downtown Wheeling. 

Dedicated on May 30, 1883, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument was originally located in Wheeling’s capitol square on the corner of 16th and Chapline Street. It is the largest and second oldest Civil War monument in the state of West Virginia. The monument is not only a dedication to the defenders of the Union during the American Civil War, but for all American veterans who defend our country. During World War I, immigrant groups would conduct patriotic loyalty parades, with the route ending at Wheeling’s city hall where a wreath of roses was placed on the Soldiers and Sailors monument. There is no doubt that this monument is a symbol of sacrifice and devotion to our country. In its new location next to West Virginia Independence Hall, the Soldiers and Sailors monument will be prominently on display for visitors and residents to enjoy for years to come. 

The monument was moved from its original home to The Linsly School in 1956 when the former capitol was demolished. Just a few short years later in 1958 the monument was uprooted again to where it currently resides in Wheeling Park. In F ebruary 2016, Margaret Brennan, Jake Dougherty, Jeanne Finstein, Rusty Jebbia, Alex Jebbia, Debbie Jones, Bekah Karelis, Joe Laker, and Randall Reid-Smith joined forces to bring the monument back home to downtown Wheeling. It’s expected to travel to its final resting place for a re-dedication ceremony on Memorial Day of this year. The committee has raised over $65,000 to go towards the project, but there is still $20,000 needed to complete the project. 

In an effort to support this project, all proceeds from the prom court contest at WYP Prom will be donated to this project. For just $1, you can cast a vote for yourself or a friend to have a chance to be preservation royalty at our March 11 event at River City. The more votes you purchase, the greater your chances are to be in the spotlight. So remember to bring some cash to support a worthy project! 

Historical information for this story was provided by the Ohio County Public Library and Archiving Wheeling.