Wheeling is an industrial and commercial center on the Ohio River in the northern West Virginia Panhandle. The seat of Ohio County, it is located about 56 miles (90 km) southwest of Pittsburgh. It is surrounded by rich deposits of coal and natural gas which have fueled its industries, including metals, glass, and chemicals manufacturing.
Wheeling began as Fort Fincastle in 1774. The last battle of the American Revolution was fought here September 11-13, 1782. The town was laid out in 1793 and named for an Indian word meaning "place of the skull." One of the nation's first large suspension bridges was built to Wheeling Island in the Ohio River 1849. During the Civil War, Wheeling was the headquarters of Virginians who opposed secession and who organized the state of West Virginia in 1863.
Wheeling's municipal population peaked at over 70,000 and metropolitan population at almost 210,000 in the middle part of the 20th century.