Friends of Wheeling


Friends of Wheeling Newsletter

Friends of Wheeling

Virtual Tour

10:00 a.m. Saturday, November 21, 2020

Scottish Rite Cathedral

83 14th Street

Due to the recent increase in Covid cases, this tour will not include an in-person option. Those interested can watch the tour live on the Friends of Wheeling Facebook page. The tour will also be saved on that site for later viewing.

B&O Building (West Virginia Northern Community College). Photo by James Janos, 1998.

This magnificent building replaced an earlier Scottish Rite structure that had been destroyed by fire in 1915. According to the Ohio County Public Library, “A second Cathedral building, designed by Wheeling architect Frederick F. Faris, was built upon the same grounds in 1916. ‘This apparent disaster proved to be not unmixed with blessing as the new cathedral which took its place is much more pretentious and much better equipped for Masonic purposes, housing as it does all of the Masonic bodies in Wheeling.’” According to the local group’s Facebook page, “Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal.”

Constructed by noted Wheeling contractor Ralph R. Kitchen, the building is listed as a contributing structure to the East Wheeling Historic District and thus is on the National Register of Historic Places. The five-story building, arguably the tallest in East Wheeling, features dual white marble staircases with curving railings inside the front entrances, marble fireplaces, a billiard room, an extensive library, a ballroom, and an Egyptian-styled auditorium, in addition to Masonic ceremonial rooms. It was originally named the John W. Morris Scottish Rite Cathedral, in honor of Dr. John W. Morris (1853-1917), a homeopathic physician and active 33rd Degree Mason who had served as an officer of the organization at local, state, and regional levels.

 The Wheeling organization is still active, but the building has a new owner who has impressive plans for additional uses of the building.

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The October mini-tour /brunch of the initial work at the Mt. Carmel Monastery was captured on video and Joanne-Sullivan-photos. These can be seen at:  Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjpj4XY7zvc&feature=youtu.be

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jcsullivan24/albums/72157670086448652

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Our sympathies go out to the family of artist Tom Griffith, who passed away last week. Tom was known for his paintings of Wheeling’s buildings, and his work was featured during the September 2018 Art and Architecture event, organized by Friends of Wheeling. Joanne’s photos of that event can be seen on the  Friends of Wheeling Facebook page at:

Friends of Wheeling Facebook page