The eight homes from 2301 through 2323 Chapline Street have been described as the best extant example of a series of high style Victorian structures in West Virginia. Seven of the eight buildings appear almost exactly as they were during the nineteenth century. The exception is 2221-2223 which was built about 1853 as one of the first homes in the entire residential area south of Wheeling Creek.
All the buildings blend together smoothly with no open spaces. There is a similarity as to scale, proportions and building materials. The total impression is enhanced by the brick paving and low stone walls topped with iron fences. All the buildings are brick with sandstone foundations. Other materials include slate, moulded brick, moulded tile, moulded and carved wood, of architectural details, there is a strong sense of cohesiveness. An Historic American Building Survey was accomplished of all the buildings except 2221 - 2223 during the summer of 1976.
The District is located on Chapline Street and is three blocks east of the Ohio River and two blocks south of Wheeling Creek in Center Wheeling. This section of Chapline Street has always been residential because it developed naturally away from the industries and commercial activities near the Ohio River and north of the iron mills and glass houses. The first home in the District was built on the alley during the 1850's. By 1870 each of the four lots had at least one building. More buildings were added or replaced with the last major improvement in 1896. Therefore, their appearance today is almost precisely as it was before 1900, and still are homes.
Building conditions in the District range from good to deteriorated with only one determined to be in "good" condition. Several original interiors are intact while others have been severely altered. The entire residential area has gradually deteriorated over the years and it is unfortunate that the future of these prized homes in the District is uncertain.
The eight buildings in the 2300 block of Chapline Street represent the high style of the Victorian era at its best. These imaginative homes of the nineteenth century demonstrate American architectural ingenuity. The materials were selected for quality and endurance and the craftsmen obviously took pride in their work. These homes are the visible reminders of the owners who were for the most part wealthy and/or influential people in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The architectural significance of Chapline Street Row is instantly apparent from photographs or a visit to the site. No other comments are necessary to justify the importance of this architectural "super block".
With the exception of Henry Schmulbach, the people associated with the District in the 19th century are not remembered. These people, like those on any block, contributed to the community in one way or another. However, it is also true that the owners bring special meaning to the buildings and give a glimpse of life in Wheeling during the Victorian period.
Henry S. Richards was a tailor and had the house at 2321-2323 Chapline Street built for home about 1853. He worked at what was then 35 Water Street as did Charles W. Seabright who purchased the north half of the house in 1860. Mr. Seabright turned the American dream into reality. He came to Wheeling from Germany in 1849 when he was 13 ,years 014 with his mother, brother and sister. He was "penniless and unlettered". His reat name was Carl W. Siebricht but he adopted the translation of his name which was given by a Sunday school teacher. For 21 years he worked for a merchant tailor until he accrued :enough capital to form his own firm. In 1881 Charles W. Seabright was elected to-the state legislature and in 1887 he was elected mayor of Wheeling.
Gregory Aekerman, M.D., practiced medicine in his native Germany and then was physician for the North German Lloyd line of steamers. In 1880 he came to the United States and made his home at Wheeling. He married Mary Elizabeth Coevilia and his home at 2319 Chapline Street was built about 1889 which also served for his office as a physician and surgeon.
The twin homes of brothers, Bernard and Theodore Klieves at 2315 and 2313 Chapline Street, were most certainly built by the firm of Klieves, Kraft and Co. about 1885.
† Adapted from: Beverly B. Fluty, Chapline Street Row Historic District, 1983, nomination document, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
23rd Street • 23rd Street • Chapline Street • Lane 20 • Lane C