“Col. Hornbrook's private park … certainly has no superiors in this country, either in the beauty and splendor of its marvelous features, or the consummate symmetry that manifests itself to the visitor at every avenue of its umbrageous shade.” In those rapturous terms, the authors of the 1879 promotional booklet Industries of Wheeling described the fifty acres that Colonel Thomas Hornbook, “one of Wheeling's most prominent citizens,” had embellished for a number of years and kept open to visitors. In concluding their description, the writers prophetically exclaimed: “What a magnificent public park this would make for the citizens of Wheeling.” The seed was planted, and though it took a while to germinate, it eventually bore fruit. On December 25, 1924, a group of public-spirited citizens purchased the property, by then a 102-acre tract owned by the Wheeling Public Service Company, and presented it to the city. The park, embellished over subsequent years, remains a well-preserved example of civic philanthropy.
Wheeling's Civil War Memorial, formerly located in front of the 1870s City-County Building at the corner of 16th and Chapline streets, now stands in the park, high on a pinnacle overlooking National Road. Inscribed “Erected by the Soldiers Aid Society of Wheeling, 1880,” the polished stone monument shows a soldier and sailor seated on either side of a pedestal on which an allegorical female figure stands.