Wheeling's heavy industry reorganized itself to fill orders for war supplies during the Civil War. This including iron and steel plate, as well as cannonballs, both for the North and South. Labor was at a premium, so wages were high. The population of Wheeling swelled, placing increased demands on available forms of entertainment. This point was raised by the Intelligencer in December, 1863. The entertainment available in Wheeling during the war years became more intellectual in nature as a result of the better tastes of the newcomers. The Intelligencer noted that before the war, the popular amusements included "negro spirituals, circuses, and 'lower forms of amusement.'" Now, typical entertainments included "Artemis Ward" and the "Sanford Operatic Troupe," both of which had also appeared in Washington, D.C.
Mike Minder was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. He is the author of Wheeling's Gambling History to 1976.