One Day Only
March 08, 2020
  • The McLure Hotel
    1200 Market Street Wheeling, WV
  • 304-232-0300
  • Hours
    Free Ongoing Tours: 1:00-4:00pm / Dinner with the Characters: 5:00pm
  • Tours: Free / Dinner with the Characters $25.00 per person

If These Walls Could Talk: Famous and Infamous McLure Hotel
Guests and Visitors

Two Tour Options:

1) Free Ongoing Tours
1:00 pm – 1st Tour Begins
4:00 pm – Last Tour Begins (These are Free)

2) Dinner with the Characters:
5:00-5:30 Reception
6:00 Dinner
$25 per person
Call the hotel at 304-232-0300 for dinner reservations
Note: Special room rates are available for those wishing to spend the night

Characters [and Presenters]:

John McLure (c.1783-1874) was the original owner of the hotel that still bears his name. The hotel opened on March 4, 1852, in time for the arrival of the B&O Railroad a few months later. Over the decades, it has hosted eleven U.S. Presidents, several Civil War officers, dozens of wealthy businessmen, and countless performers. [Jim Comerci]

Ellsworth M. Statler (1863-1928) began his long hotel career at age 13 as a bellboy at the McLure. His hard work and innovative ideas led to promotions and seed funding to start his own hotel chain that ascribed to reasonable prices and an attitude that “the customer is always right.” To this day, his name is well-known in the hotel industry. [Jonathan Porter]

Civil War General William Rosecrans (1819-1878) and his wife Ann and children were guests of the hotel before the war, when he worked on several engineering projects in the western part of Virginia, and during the war, when he is credited with the design of the Wheeling Ambulance. Two daughters attended Mt. De Chantal. [Jeanne Finstein as Ann]

Actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) played the lead role in the French play Camille at the Wheeling Park casino on June 1, 1906. Her highly theatrical and costly lifestyle – that included a menagerie of pets – required her to travel extensively both in the U.S. and abroad to stay out of debt. Her French theater troupe arrived in Wheeling in a special train. [Judi Hendrickson]

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) brought his world-renowned Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show to Wheeling eleven times between 1877 and 1901. He and many of the show’s cast members stayed at the McLure when they entertained thousands at Wheeling’s nearby Opera House and later at the Wheeling Island Fairgrounds. [Dave Clutter]

Historical accounts of the McLure state that Actress Henrietta Crosman (1861-1944) was born in the hotel near the beginning of the Civil war, when her father was a Union officer stationed in Wheeling. Her long career included performances on the stage and in both silent and “talkie” movies. It’s unknown if she returned to Wheeling after her childhood years. [Gael Fincham]

President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) visited Wheeling on September 6, 1902, less than a year after becoming President following the assassination of William McKinley. Following his arrival by train, he spoke to a large crowd of well-wishers from an exterior balcony of the McLure, promoting a “square deal” for Americans and the breaking up of large business trusts. [Dave Barnett]

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) had been invited to speak at the McLure Hotel at the annual Lincoln Day dinner of the Republican Women’s Club of Ohio County on February 9, 1950. Rather than making a typical Lincoln Day speech, he claimed to hold a list of Communists in the U.S. State Department, setting off a nationwide “Red Scare.” [Hal Gorby]

Former President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess spent the night of June 20, 1953, at the McLure while on a retirement road trip. Truman had also visited Wheeling in 1928 when the Madonna of the Trail monument was dedicated, although he was called to Washington for important business and missed the actual dedication. [Greg & Debi Smith]

Candidate John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy were in Wheeling on April 19, 1960, on a campaign tour leading up to the 1960 presidential election. They visited Sylvania Electric Products Company, Hazel Atlas Glass, and West Liberty State and Bethany Colleges before speaking to 700 well-wishers at the McLure. [Darrin Richardson & Shari Irwin]