On January 24, the traveling exhibit Robert C. Byrd: Senator, Statesman, West Virginian opened at a reception hosted by Wheeling Jesuit University. This venue marks the first stop for the traveling exhibit in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle. As we celebrate the centennial of Senator Byrd’s birthday in 2017, it is fitting to make a stop in the political birthplace of West Virginia.
Wheeling is a historic industrial city and transportation hub, the site of the western terminus of the National Road and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The city was also the site of the Wheeling Convention of 1861, establishing the Restored Government of Virginia (1861-1863) which ultimately became the state of West Virginia in 1863. The convention and subsequent constitutional convention took place in the city’s customs house (today designated the West Virginia Independence Hall) and Wheeling served as the first capital for the new state.