Built in 1867, this commercial storefront housed a grocery store and a meeting space / event center
Last year I visited Wheeling, West Virginia to make photographs of its historic and abandoned buildings. These blog posts are my way of sharing my work along with the history of these buildings and the people who inhabited them.
One of the least distinctive of the structures in my Wheeling portfolio is also the oldest. Built in 1867, this three-story building was a grocery store with a meeting space called Stubenrauch Hall on the third floor.
A craft business occupied the building from 1981 until its recent closure, manufacturing decorative porcelain china ware. What attracted me to this rather plain structure is, of course, the layers of fading wall ads on its side.
I wasn’t able to learn much about the life of Louis Stubenrauch, but I found one newspaper notice of a Strawberry Festival at Stubenrauch Hall. I noticed a couple of discrepancies: the spelling of his name is different in the official documents on the National Register of Historic Places, where they spelled it “Steubenrauch,” and the event predates the claimed construction date of the Stubenrauch Hall building.
The notice says, “Don’t forget the Strawberry Festival at Stubenrauch Hall, Ritchietown, to come off to-night, — proceeds to be appropriated to South Wheeling M.E. Church. Ample preparations have been made, — flowers, fruit and cake in abundance. A fine band will be in attendance.”(1)
Ritchietown was a nickname for South Wheeling at the time.
The following quote comes from the National Register of Historic Places draft registration form dated August 6, 2018, written by Deborah Griffin, Steven Avdakov, and Lisa Schmidtke, from an original draft by AmeriCorps MemberJoy Williams.
“The three-story masonry commercial building has a hipped roof. At the rear are a two-story hipped-roofed masonry extension and a one-and-a-half-story flat-roofed frame addition. The building sits on a sandstone block foundation, and the walls are brick.”
“The building is set at the sidewalk with no setback. There are remnants of painted signage on both the northern and southern elevations. The resource retains general historic architectural integrity and contributes to the overall historic character of the district.” (2)
Thanks for reading.
Join Me on a Walk Around South Wheeling
1. The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [volume] (Wheeling, W. Va.), 19 June 1866. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
2. National Register of Historic Places Draft Registration Form, United States Department of the Interior National Park Service,