I've seen other threads here about the demolition-happy city of Wheeling. So I was interested to see what you all thought of the destruction of the landmark Mount de Chantal Academy in Wheeling. Demolition began November 7, 2011. As of today the site is completely barren save two minor and historically insignificant buildings.
Established in Wheeling in 1848 by the Sisters of the Visitation, Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy relocated to its present site in 1865. "The Mount" -- as it is locally and affectionately referred to -- was founded in order to educate girls of all faiths. After 160 years of rigorous academics and a focus on fine arts, Mount de Chantal graduated its last class in May of 2008.
"High upon a slope majestic, guarded from above," begins the school's alma mater. Indeed, the splendid campus graces a Wheeling hilltop of nearly 30 acres. The main building is made up of three parts: the school; the front entrance, parlors, and chapel; and the convent.
The chapel on the first floor is truly the jewel of Mount de Chantal. It is an inspiring place with hand-carved altars, large stained glass windows on three walls, an organ that's been in use since 1867, balconies, electrified gas lights, marquetry floors, and the beloved stained glass dome. There is another set of three stained glass windows in the second floor Music Hall. Like those in the chapel, they are from the Mayer Company in Munich.
The Mount is a monument to local materials and craftsmanship: Wheeling tin ceilings and walls, bricks made on site of local clay, and two Hobbs Brockunier chandeliers. The school also boasted three paintings by George Peter Alexander Healy.
Local historian Margaret Brennan commented that the Mount's "Spanish-influenced architecture is unique to Wheeling, even West Virginia." The mission-style architecture is truly striking, especially the parapets that decorate the building.
Notable events in Mount history include assistance from Boss Tweed in campaigning for funds to finish construction of the school; letters of gratitude from Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee for establishment of the "Southern Fund" financial aid for post-Civil War Southern pupils; and a 1940 visit from Eleanor Roosevelt.
In 1978 the U.S. government declared Mount de Chantal worth preserving by listing it with the National Register of Historic Places. As Cardinal Gibbons said circa 1875, "To be in Wheeling without coming out to Mount de Chantal would be like visiting Rome without going to St. Peter's."
And here's the site as of 3/8/12:
I wish the quality of the images were better, but nonetheless these photos were all taken by me.