A National Historic Landmark
Birthplace of West Virginia
Nearly six years before President Lincoln signed the proclamation making West Virginia the 35th State in the Union, construction had begun on the Wheeling Custom House, headquarters for federal offices for the Western District of Virginia. Its completion, coinciding with the beginning of the Civil War, provided a facility for heated political discussions and constitutional conventions that led to eventual statehood for West Virginia in 1863. Here, issues dividing many Virginians - slavery being one of many - were debated, compromised and shaped into the skeleton of statehood. Serving as the Restored Government of Virginia (aligned with the Union) from 1861-1863, it is appropriately known today as West Virginia Independence Hall.
For information about upcoming special events at West Virginia Independence Hall, check our online calendar.
Download the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Custom House. (7.6MB Acrobat PDF)
View photos from the West Virginia Day celebration
The grand architecture of the building's interiors has been authentically restored. Visitors can view an interpretive video, "For Liberty and Union," and take a self-guided tour of the structure. Groups may schedule tours featuring dramatic interpretations by authentically-costumed guides. Call for fee and scheduling information. Individual visitors are always welcome for self-guided tours.
Plan a visit to see "West Virginia: Born of the Civil War." The permanent exhibition, located on the first floor of the museum, features dramatic displays with period artifacts, and explores the statehood process against the background of the Civil War.
Learn more about the Civil War and West Virginia's Statehood:
|Located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets. From I-70 take Exit 1A South on Main Street to 16th, turn left and go one block. Parking is available behind the building.|
West Virginia Independence Hall
Tour of the Museum is free
West Virginia Independence Hall is listed as a site visit on The Civil War Discovery Trail. The Trail links more than 300 sites in 16 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its haunting impact on America. An initiative of The Civil War Trust, the Trail allows visitors to explore battlefields, historic homes, railroad stations, cemeteries, parks and other destinations that bring history to life. For more information on the Civil War Discovery Trail and other programs of The Civil War Trust call 1-800-CWTRUST.
Plan your trip using MapQuest
Check the Wheeling weather for your visit.