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Wheeling Creek Case Study: Environmental History
Wheeling was first settled in 1769 near the site of Fort Henry. National Road, U.S. Route 40, was completed to Wheeling in 1818. It was the first road link from the east coast to the Ohio River. This opened Wheeling as a gateway to western expansion.

Image of downtown Wheeling in 1890.Downtown Wheeling in 1890 shows a highly industrialized urban center, including river and rail transportation facilities, as well as bridges carrying roads across the Ohio River. River travel was essential to the expansion of Wheeling's industrial base. Photo: Courtesy of the Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, WV.
Image showing Wheeling from Chapline Hill in 1890.Wheeling from Chapline Hill in 1890 shows lower Wheeling Creek from about 2 km (1.2 mi.) upstream. Notice that lower Wheeling Creek had been dredged to provide barge access to new industrial sites.  Photo: Courtesy of the Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, WV.
Image of the McCullock's Leap area in 1892.McCullock's Leap Area in 1892 shows the area about 3 km (1.9 mi.) upstream from the Ohio River. What features can you identify from these photographs that may have impacted the biological communities of Wheeling Creek? Photo: Courtesy of the Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, WV.
Image showing the site of the Wheeling Creek Wall in 1890.Site of Wheeling Creek Wall in 1890 provides a closer examination of the stream. Note the structure of the stream banks, stream bed, plants growing in the stream bed, streamside vegetation, and the vegetation on the hillsides along lower Wheeling Creek. Photo: Courtesy of the Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, WV.
Image of Wheeling Creek Wall in 1996.Site of Wheeling Creek Wall in 1996 From the same view as above, can you tell what this stream looked like in 1890? Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Ben Stout. 
Image showing a portion of Big Wheeling Creek in 1904.Scene on Big Wheeling Creek in 1904 Compare these features to those in the photos approximately 12 km (7.5 mi.) downstream. What are the similarities and differences between these areas of the Wheeling Creek watershed? Did U.S Route 40 and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad travel along this site on Big Wheeling Creek?  Photo: Courtesy of the Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, WV.

 

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