Photo: The Highland Park Historic District from the southern boundary line. Photographed looking north over the district. The district was placed on the NRHP in 1993. Photographed by User:Bwsmith84 (own work), 2010, [cc-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons, accessed June, 2021.
The Highland Park Historic District [†] is exceptional for its turn of the century architecture. The former farm of Oliver Pryor was subdivided into eighteen lots in 1899. The farmhouse was retained and altered to reflect the more popular styles of the time. The homes that were constructed mainly date between 1899 to 1911 with a house added in 1919 and 1938. The architecture envisions the late 19th and early 20th century styles. The historic district lies on the east side of the city of Wheeling on a bluff overlooking the National Road. The original entrance was from the National Road, at the 5-mile marker at the top of Pryor's Hill, and then proceeded up the hill. Highland Park was a straight street with a circular median at the east end. The early stone entrance designed by Frederick F. Faris, a noted Wheeling architect, once provided access to the cul-de-sac. The placement of a interchange for Interstate 70 in the late I960 1 s has altered the entranceway with access now from Lincoln Drive. This new drive caused the removal of two homes designed by Mr. Faris on the west end of the street.
The Highland Park district was once part of a farm owned by Oliver Pryor. His brick six-room farmhouse was built about 1852 at the northeast corner of the district. The house was expanded over the years to its present size. The architecture of the later homes reflect the late 19th century styles of Shingle and early 2Oth century styles such as Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Bungalow. The following is a description of the contributing residences in Highland Park. Lot numbers from the original plat map are used here to indicate locations on the street.
The Highland Park Historic District is considered historically significant because of the cumulative importance of prominent residents. This is based on the broad pattern of community development through which the neighborhood evolved into a primary residential area for this class of citizens. The residents were involved in major Wheeling businesses which included steel, insurance, law, hardware, real estate, and banking. The district is also significant for the architectural styles represented from the late 19th and early 20th centuries which were built during the period of significance of 1899-1938.
Steel and iron were important industries in old Wheeling. For lack of convenient transportation, the homes of many of the industrialists were in the vicinity of their particular foundry or mill. Some moved to Wheeling Island, and some built handsome summer homes in the country along the National Road east of Wheeling. But, accessible land for development was not available until the electric car line was extended to Elm Grove in 1898. Five prominent business men recognized the need and bought the Oliver Pryor farm for development as "Highland Park." The street, originally called Park Avenue, was planned as a cul-de-sac with access directly from the National Road. The entrance was at the top of Pryor's Hill on National Road, about midway between Park View Lane (formerly Elm Grove & Boggs Hill Road) and Lincoln drive (formerly Elm Street).
The Highland Park neighborhood shows a definite high style of architecture, with many of the homes having been designed by one of Wheeling's noted architects such as Frederick F. Paris, Edward B. Franzheim, and George S. Mooney. Faris is also noted as having designed the stone entrance gate to the street as pictured in the Historic Photo #4. The homes reflect the Shingle, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and Bungalow styles popular in the late 19th and early 2Oth century. The following pages interpret when the homes were built in the district, and who were the early owners.
† Hester B. Byrum. property owner, and Katherine M Jordan, West Virginia SHPO, Hghland Park Historic District, 1993, National Park Service, National Regiter of Historic Places, Washington, D.C., accessed June, 2021.