About Ohio County
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Ohio County is in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia located south of Weirton and about 31 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was formed in 1776 from parts of the Virginia District of West Augusta. The county is named after the river composing its western boundary which is also the West Virginia state border with Ohio. The name is derived from an American Indian word meaning great or beautiful river. The eastern boundary line is part of the West Virginia state border with Pennsylvania.
Its present territory is 107 square miles with a population of 45,112. Its county seat and major city is Wheeling (pop. 31,419). Wheeling borders and extends southward into Marshall County, but most of its population (31,059) resides in Ohio County. The smaller communities are Bethlehem (pop. 2,651); Clearview (pop. 590); Triadelphia (pop. 817); Valley Grove (pop. 405); and West Liberty (pop. 1,220). The Ohio River is a major transportation waterway, and the county has rail connections. Interstate 70 runs east to west through Wheeling and the southern part of the county, following close to the route of the National Road, one of the earliest of federal roads and highways. There is also a small wildlife management area at Bears Rocks in the southeastern part of the county.
Major employment is in health care and social assistance, retail, education, accommodation and food service, manufacturing, and wholesale. Ambulatory health care services, nursing and residential care facilities, and general medical and surgical hospital employment compose over 75% of health care and social assistance employment. There is major employment in education at West Liberty State College, a four year public school of higher education; at West Virginia Northern Community College, a two year comprehensive school of higher education with one of its main campuses in Wheeling; and at a private, Roman Catholic Church affiliated school of higher education, Wheeling Jesuit University.
About one-third of manufacturing employment is in fabricated metal production or primary metal manufacturing in iron or copper foundries. Other major segments of manufacturing employment are in tobacco products, printing, and plastic product manufacturing. There is some but noticeable employment in construction, particularly of special trade contractors, and also in electric power generation and transmission. Agriculturally there is some notable production of eggs, but the major products are livestock and forage.
Wheeling, one of the major cities in the state, is a center of employment in arts, entertainment, and recreation including classical and country music, spectator sports, and the Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center. It is also a center of communications in publishing (with two of the state’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers) and in radio and television broadcasting. The city is also the home of two exemplary parks (Wheeling Park and Oglebay Park).