NPS Preservation Grant Provides a New Level of Support for Wheeling’s Historic Structures

'Bird's eye' perspective of river in foreground with tree-lined shore, city buildings, and forested hills in background with blue. sunny sky above
Downtown Wheeling, West Virginia along the Ohio River

Wheeling NHA

The National Park Service recently announced that the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation (WNHAC), the managing entity for Wheeling National Heritage Area, will be awarded a $750,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant. WNHAC is one of 11 national recipients of these funds, whose purpose is to aid rural communities in historic building preservation and economic revitalization.
Large, decorative old-fashioned analog clock on tall post. Engraved text on ribbon motif above clock face reads 'Welcome - Wheeling'. Brick buildings, city street, and small public bus in background.
The Hancher Clock in downtown Wheeling.

NHA Program

The heritage area, known for its concentration of nineteenth-century Greek Revival and Victorian architecture, will use these funds to create a Historic Revitalization Sub-grant Program. This new initiative will support rehabilitation and restoration projects in Wheeling’s 12 historic districts. The initiative aligns closely with the NHA’s mission as a catalyst for revitalization of Wheeling, through historic preservation, community development, and the arts.

“This grant will be so beneficial to our community because any contributing structure located in one of our 12 historic districts or individually listed in the national register will be eligible to apply for this subgrant program,” says Alex Panas, Communications and Development Manager for WNHAC.

To select candidates for subgrant awards, WNHAC will collaborate with local preservation professionals to establish an advisory committee that oversees the initiative. Applications will be accepted beginning in Fall 2022. After review and acceptance, subgrants will be awarded anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000 “to eligible property owners and/or tenants for the rehabilitation and repair of commercial, residential, and mixed-used structures,” according to Panas.

“We’ve identified over 3,000 contributing structures across Wheeling’s historic districts that could be eligible for support through this subgrant program,” says Betsy Sweeny, Director of Heritage Programming at Wheeling Heritage. “Receiving this generous grant will help us financially support historic preservation projects across our city.” Those curious about preservation projects to date throughout the heritage area can learn more here.

Historic nineteenth century brick buildings in various colors and detailed facades line bright city street
Historic residential architecture of Wheeling

NHA Program

Front of white, columned entrance to building with front portico sign reading "Centre Market" with a seal in between the words and date '1853'. At right, city street with brick buildings.
Wheeling’s Centre Market, completed in 1853, which now serves as a downtown hub food and artisan goods.

NHA Program

The Bruhn grant “speaks to the confidence that the National Park Service has in Wheeling and West Virginia as a whole,” says Panas. “The $750,000 grant will go a long way in such a concentrated area and it's fantastic that two of the 11 preservation grants were awarded to organizations located in West Virginia.” In addition to WNHAC, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia will also be receiving a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant. You can view the full list of 2021 grant awards here.

“This National Park Service program not only supports historic preservation, but also fosters economic development in rural communities,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “By funding the rehabilitation of historic properties, rural areas across the country will be improved and strengthened."Funding for the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant, now in its third year, is appropriated through the Historic Preservation Fund, as administered by the National Park Service. In total, Congress appropriated $7.5 million for FY21 funding. For more information about HPF grants and the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants program, visit this page.
Scan of Historic black-and-white hand-drawn map of city with downtown with rive to south and an island in middle of river
An 1871 map of Wheeling showing South Wheeling and La Grange, WV. Sourced by Emma Wiley, Wheeling Heritage AmeriCorps Member, in “Marvelous Maps of Wheeling”.

Via Emma Wiley, “Marvelous Maps of Wheeling”: Map courtesy of Ohio County Public Library.

Last updated: October 22, 2021