Interesting Wheeling

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WHEN WILL WHEELING DIE?

Posted by ZaneMan on September 2, 2006

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From the early 1800s until 1900 Wheeling was one of the 100 largest cities in the US. Although the city’s population continued to grow (from 38,878 in 1900 to 61,659 in 1930) it grew slower than other large cities and never again was one of the 100 biggest. The graph above (from US Bureau of Census data) shows in blue the rise and fall of Wheeling’s population. Since 1930 the population has declined every decade, at an average rate of 12% since 1950. The smooth black curve is a mathematical fit to the actual population numbers and it shows that a parabola can describe our growth and decline. Extrapolating the actual population numbers into the future suggests that the decline will continue, reaching 20,000 in 2018, 10,000 in 2029, and zero population in 2038.

All projections are risky, especially those for the future, and a trend is not a certainty. Although we can hope for a turnaround, that will only occur if changes occur in the conditions that cause decline. Are they?

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A FRENCH VIEW OF WV POLITICS

Posted by ZaneMan on September 2, 2006

Wheeling and West Virginia have long been Democratic strongholds, except that Bush won the state (and the election) in 2000 and 2004. In October 2004 a reporter for the French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique (The World – Dipomacy) wrote a quite perceptive article, What’s the Matter with West Virginia, that analysed how the majority of the population of our poor state voted for Bush, against its own financial interest. The author writes that Bush’s support of hunting and mining and his identification with normal joes, not smug intellectuals, accounts for his success in West Virginia and in other poor, formerly Democratic states. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican its a valuable read as we head into the 2006 and 2008 elections.

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DEAD POLITICANS

Posted by ZaneMan on September 2, 2006

The Wheeling area has not been the home – or burial place – of any nationally famous politicians. But here is a web site that lists the ones who were born, lived or interred in Ohio County. When you discover such websites you realize that some people have strange hobbies!

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WHEELING AIRPORT?

Posted by ZaneMan on August 31, 2006

I chuckle when I see signs in downtown Wheeling pointing the way to the Wheeling Airport. I’ve never been there and no one else I know has either. But it is there, and President Bush’s plane landed there when he visited Wheeling recently. According to AirNav.com it has a respectable 5000 ft long runway. Of course, Pittsburgh’s longest is 11,500 ft, but if Air Force One can land here that’s long enough! The airport code is HLG – I don’t know why its not WLG.

The Wheeling Airport serves only corporate and other private aircraft, but is worth a visit because it has changed little since its 1946 founding. It has a compact museum of aviation items relating to the airport, including the chairs John and Jackie Kennedy used when he came here campaigning for president in 1960.

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1907 FLOOD

Posted by ZaneMan on August 30, 2006

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Living near rivers is nice most years for they provide a constantly changing scene of river traffic and sometimes morning mistiness. But every once in a while rivers leave their banks and make deposits in towns. Wheeling has suffered from the excesses of the Ohio various times and this post card reminds of the 1907 flood which was one of the worst in the city’s history. For newspaper stories and many more good pictures click here.

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AN AIRPLANE FACTORY?

Posted by ZaneMan on August 30, 2006

Yes. In nearby Glendale, there once was a factory that built the Fokker Tri-Motor aircraft. Thomas James’s well-illustrated website The Fokker Aircraft Legacy in West Virginia tells the story. Perhaps the most famous plane builder in the world at that time established a factory in Glendale in 1928 and produced 58 passenger planes before closing in 1931, a victim of the stock market crash and the crash of one of their planes carrying football hero Knute Rockne. The Glendale Fokker Field (airport) is still listed as active, and the grass runway curves around a gentle bend on the shore of the Ohio River. The factory buildings are still there – seems like its worth a little history tour!

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FAMOUS WHEELING URINALS

Posted by ZaneMan on August 30, 2006

The Internet unleashes curiosity and creativity in unusual ways. Urinal Net – the Best Way to Piss Away Your Time on the Internet is an unanticipated exploration of a tool to assist with a basic need. Among their collection, which includes facilities in the Taj Mahal and the International Space Station is The Urinals of Wheeling Jesuit University.

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ORBITING WHEELING

Posted by ZaneMan on August 30, 2006

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Some people may not know that high resolution images of the entire Earth are freely available online. Most are from satellites orbiting the planet and some are from aircraft. Here is a view of the general Wheeling area from Google Maps. These are great images and allow easy zooming in and out. The slider at upper left shows that this is zoomed about 60% of the way from showing the whole Earth to seeing your own house. Yes, you can see your house (but not your dog). It is fascinating to zoom in to almost the highest magnification and then fly over the streets that you normally drive each day. This is just a screen shot – you have to go to Google Maps to zoom and roam. Make sure your computer window is wide enough to see the full image! This is one of the most amazing resources on the web – have fun with it!

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