July 20, 1866: Wheeling Architect Edward Franzheim Born

Edward Franzheim

Edward Franzheim was born in Wheeling on July 20, 1866. After studying in Boston and abroad, he returned to Wheeling in 1890 to practice architecture. He was one of the first West Virginians to receive a formal, academic training in architecture.

One of his best-known works is Wheeling’s Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church. The 1896 building is one of the most exuberant and lavish churches in the state. By 1902, Franzheim was recognized by many as West Virginia’s most successful architect.

That year, he designed the Board of Trade-Court Theatre in downtown Wheeling and started a second career. For five years, he managed the theater, took leading roles in its productions, and authored plays. Architecture remained his first love, though, as seen in the extravagant houses he designed for Wheeling’s business and professional leaders. Franzheim was responsible for major alterations to Oglebay Mansion and the Fort Henry Club, and designed houses for oil magnates in Sistersville.

He also was one of Wheeling’s most fashionable citizens, carrying a yellow cane and gloves and wearing spats in season. Edward Franzheim died in Wheeling in 1942 at age 7