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Oglebay Park

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Various dates. Bethany Pk. (WV 88), 3 miles northeast of the intersection with Interstate 70 at the Oglebay

Park exit; 2.5 mi. northeast of the intersection of Bethany Pike and National Rd.

In 1900 industrialist Earl Oglebay purchased Waddington Farm from his mother's estate and soon enlarged the antebellum farm house. During the next quarter century, Oglebay used the property as a summer home, continuing to acquire and consolidate additional acreage to establish a premier country manor and model farm. In 1926 he willed the 750-acre property “as a park and for recreational and playground purposes for the people … of Wheeling and vicinity.” It was by no means certain that the city would, or could, accept the bequest. Only two years earlier, a group of civic-minded Wheelingites had purchased land on National Road and presented it to the city as Wheeling Park ( WH69). Fortunately, Oglebay's will allowed the beneficiaries three years to decide, and in July 1928, the city elected to accept his gift. Planning was begun by the Wheeling Park Commission, with the National Park Service providing assistance in management and landscape design. During the Depression, a CCC camp was established on the property. WPA funds paid workers to lay out trails and picnic areas and construct an outdoor theater, cabins, tennis courts, two golf courses, and a swimming pool. Oglebay has now expanded to 1,460 acres, and additional facilities include Wilson Lodge, another golf course, a nature center, an equestrian center, and a zoo. The park commissioners have wisely interpreted “recreational and playground purposes” to include historic preservation, and the restored house, now a museum, remains the centerpiece of this outstanding municipal park.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.
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Citation

S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Oglebay Park", [Wheeling, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WV-01-WH76.

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