Historic Structures

Christian Hess House, Main Street Wheeling West Virginia

Date added: November 24, 2017 Categories: West Virginia House

Christian Hess was born in Germany in 1825. He learned there the trade of practical tailor and moved to the United States in 1845.

After serving a year's apprenticeship in Cincinnati, he moved to Wheeling, where he "engaged with Daniel Schrambra for the sum of ten dollars per month" as a tailor. At the end of a year he formed a partnership with Chistian Hausenhauer. At the end of two years he was able to buy his partner out for $750.00. Shortly after that Hess was able to purchase a corner lot on Main and Fourteenth Streets, where he erected a "fine three-story premises, 45 x 60 feet, the whole costing him, in those times, $12,200.00. Here he has remained ever since."

Hess' skill as a tailor soon earned him the respect and business of Wheeling's citizens. "Today he may be credited with presiding over one of the most reliable and deirable businesses of the kind in the in the state."

"His present family residence, however, built in 1876, is located on Main Street, a splendid brick structure with a thirty-three foot frontage, commanding a view of the river, and in point of architecture and attractive surroundings, second to few in this section." The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer dated August 31, 1876, lists buildings recently erected or about to be built in Wheeling: "Mr. C. Hess, brick residence (two stories front and three back), French style, on west side Main Street, between 8th and 9th Streets; $9,000.00. The front will be of stone and pressed brick. Mr. S. M. Howard is the architect, and Benjamin Exley the contractor."

The Hess family continued to live in this house until the death of Mary Agnes Hess, Christian's daughter, when the property became a boarding house and office. The Historical Restoration Investment Association bought the house in 1972 and both restored and adapted it to modern needs.