Once a gateway for travelers coming west across the National Road, Wheeling remains a central point on transportation networks with good access to the Northeast and Midwest. The metro area includes Belmont County with Martins Ferry and a few other small towns in southeastern Ohio. The main industries are steel and metalworking (Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel employs over 4,000 people). The city has a well-preserved older section downtown and a few arts and entertainment amenities, including a small but energetic symphony and two minor league sports teams.
With Pittsburgh 60 miles to the northeast, big-city features aren’t too far away. Challenges include slow job growth and a cloudy, wet climate. But many predict that the strategic location, low overall costs, and proximity to Pittsburgh will attract new businesses. The area has low educational attainment and an aging blue collar population mix however, so the transition will take time.
Wheeling sits on the east bank of the Ohio River in a narrow plain with steep, deciduous-wooded hills on all sides. The climate is humid continental. The city is in a primary storm track and resides far enough north to receive a Lake Erie influence. Summers are warm and humid, particularly in the bottom of the valley. Winters are fairly mild, but are subject to occasional cold snaps. Fall and spring are changeable, with periods of cool, cloudy weather—making the area one of the cloudiest and rainiest in the country.