Wheeling receptive to being home of National Civil War memorial

WHEELING, W.Va. -- On a corner near what was once this city's bustling transportation center is a landscaped lot of about 1.5 acres that civic officials hope can be transformed into a major tourist attraction.

But before the tourists who flock to Oglebay Park and the massive Cabela's outdoors store nearby can be persuaded to visit it in downtown Wheeling, millions of dollars will have to be raised for the proposed attraction -- a National Civil War Memorial.

Why Wheeling? It's the question most people initially ask when they hear of the proposed memorial being in West Virginia rather than, say, Gettysburg, Antietam or Appomattox.

In fact, the proposal for a national memorial originated in Gettysburg about seven years ago and was pitched to that city, as well as to Antietam and other famous Civil War battlefield locations.

For various reasons, mostly concerning money, the proposal didn't find a home until it was introduced a little more than a year ago to folks in Wheeling.

The cost is daunting at $11.3 million. A second phase of the project, a Center for Civil War Studies that would have electronic versions of Civil War documents, would be housed in an old warehouse and cost an additional $9.45 million.

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