A day in Wheeling, West Virginia
Students moved into the brand-new Elm Grove Elementary School Feb. 1, 1907, in Wheeling, West Virginia. Over the years many children attended the school until 1991, when the last classes were held. West Liberty State College used the unoccupied school building for the 1994-95 school year, and then the building was closed. In 1997 the brick building was renovated to open a new path for children to explore and discover, as the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum.
The museum offers classic toys and model trains with many hands-on experiences. It offers a step back in time for many of us and new experiences for children who have never seen some of the classic Marx Toys, metal doll houses or the world’s largest production puzzle.
Playing with a three-story dollhouse, running model trains and enjoying some slot car action are all on the agenda. In the transportation room visitors will find toy vehicles of all kinds. The miniatures room has a host of items from tin soldiers to Star Wars figures. Visitors to the doll room will find dollhouses galore. It also has baby dolls and Barbie-esque dolls. The game room offers a variety of board games and handheld pinball games. In the lobby kids can win a prize, hear music for a quarter and play pinball games for free. The train room offers kids (and adults) the chance to be the engineer. It contains a variety of trains and artifacts from American Flyer, Marklin, Marx, Lawrence Line trains and Lionel. There is also a big toy amusement park that can be operated by visitors. There is a lot of nostalgia here, and lots of buttons for kids to push. The staff is very friendly and loves to tell visitors about the museum and its displays.
Don’t leave Wheeling without stopping by the Centre Market. It offers a variety of shops that have some hidden treasures. There is everything from beer and wine to olive oils and local honey. But that is just a beginning, as jewelry, crystals, toys, clothing and even cigars are offered, as well as home decor and furnishings.
This historic market was built in 1853 and is older than the state of West Virginia. The upper market house is the oldest in the country. The building was first used as an open-air market. Today it is a destination. Not only do the market and the historic streets offer shops, but also food and a variety of festivals, art and events. All the businesses are locally owned.
A unique find in the Centre Market is Coleman’s Fish Market, an icon of this West Virginia city. During any Friday in Lent fish seekers will find a line that winds throughout the market and overflows onto the street. Its sandwiches are not fancy — deep fried pollock or Canadian whitefish between two slices of white bread. However, it is cooked to perfection and the sandwich is stacked high with fish. If white bread is not to your liking, ask for a deluxe, which is the fish on a bun, or check out some of the other menu items, like shrimp, deviled crab, French fries or potato wedges, and more.
Although there is a lot more to the West Virginia city of Wheeling, a day at the museum and the Centre Market offers visitors a trip back in time, modern-day shopping, great food, ice cream and fun reminiscing about the toys of anyone’s childhood.