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Weirton is a city located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginiamarker, United Statesmarker. Most of the city is in Hancock Countymarker, with the remainder in Brooke Countymarker. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 20,411 (16,525 in Hancock County, 3,886 in Brooke County). It is a part of the Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Statistical area.


The small village called Holliday's Cove—which is now most of downtown Weirton—was founded in the late 1700s. (It eventually lost the apostrophe.) In 1909, Ernest T. Weir built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Hollidays Cove. An unincorporated settlement called Weirton grew up around the mill that by 1940 was said to be the largest unincorporated city in the United States. By then Hollidays Cove and two other outlying areas, Weirton Heights and Marland Heights, which as their names suggest were on hilltops or ridges surrounding the "Weir–Cove" area, had also incorporated.

On July 1, 1947, all of these areas — Hollidays Cove, Marland Heights, Weirton Heights, and unincorporated Weirton — merged and formed the City of Weirton as it currently exists. Thomas E. Millsop, the head of the Weirton Steel division of the National Steel Corporation, was elected as the city's first mayor. The City Charter was approved by voters in 1950.

Weirton Steel Corporation was once a fully integrated steel mill employing over 12,000 people. It was the largest private employer and the largest taxpayer in West Virginia. This is no longer true. Due to reorganization of the steel industry, not only within the United States but worldwide, the Weirton plant, now part of the international giant Arcelor Mittal, currently operates only the tin-plating section of the mill (though still one of the country's largest tin-plate makers), with only 1,200 workers. During the early 1980's the employees of Weirton Steel endeavored to purchase the mill from National Steel Corporation as the largest ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program) in the nation, saving the mill from bankruptcy.

Some civic leaders are attempting to attract businesses and homeowners from the economically thriving Pittsburgh area, marketing Weirton as a bedroom community, taking advantage of the close proximity to the Pittsburghmarker airport and major highways.

In 2001, West Virginia legalized video gambling. This has brought new business to Weirton in the form of "cafes" that allow patrons to gamble. Many patrons come from the surrounding areas (Pennsylvania and Ohio) to take part in the gambling.

In early 2008, with the reduction in Weirton Steel's work force and the introduction of gambling, Weirton is fighting to keep jobs and to prevent falling housing prices.


The City of Weirton is located at (40.408567, -80.575959). It extends from the Ohiomarker border on the west to the Pennsylvaniamarker border on the east at a point where the northern extension of West Virginia is only about 5 miles across. Therefore, it is the only city in the United Statesmarker that borders two other states on two sides, and its own state on the other two sides.

Weirton is across the Ohio River from Steubenvillemarker, Ohiomarker, and about 35 miles west of Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, along U.S. Route 22. Pittsburgh International Airportmarker is less than 30 miles away. With the opening of the Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576, future I-576) in October, 2006, the highway distance to the airport has decreased to about 20 miles, but it is a toll road (fifty cents).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.3 square miles (49.9 km²), of which, 17.9 square miles (46.3 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²) of it (7.22%) is water.

Surrounding areas

Follansbeemarker, Parismarker/Hanover Township (Pennsylvaniamarker), New Cumberland, and Steubenville, Ohiomarker (via U.S. Route 22)


As of the census of 2000, there were 20,411 people, 8,958 households, and 5,885 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,142.2 people per square mile (441.0/km²). There were 9,546 housing units at an average density of 534.2/sq mi (206.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.52% White, 3.86% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.68% of the population.

There were 8,958 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.79.

The age distribution is 19.2% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,212, and the median income for a family was $42,466. Males had a median income of $37,129 versus $19,745 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,853. About 8.0% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


The following people have been elected Mayor of Weirton since the city's incorporation in 1947:

Thomas E. Millsop 1947-1955
Samuel Kusic 1955-1959
David T. Frew 1959-1963
Frank A. Rybka 1963-1971
Mike A. Andochick, Jr. 1971-1979
Donald T. Mentzer 1979-1987
Edwin J. Bowman 1987-1995
Dean M. Harris 1995-2003
William M. Miller 2003-2007
Mark Harris 2007-present

Notable natives

Pop culture reference

Weirton has attracted the attention of Hollywood filmmakers on at least two occasions. Weirton was one of several Ohio Valley towns that served as film locations for the acclaimed 1978 film, The Deer Hunter, starring Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. Six years later it served as the primary location for filming of Reckless starring Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah.

Disney featured Weirton briefly in its documentary, America's Heart and Soul. During the excerpt, employees of Weirton Steel discuss their concerns with foreign imports and what it is doing to their mill.

Weirton was also the inspiration and guidance in the 1989 book No Star Nights. Author Anna Smucker drew upon her memories growing up in Weirton for a tale about childhood spent in an industrial town.


  1. United States Census Bureau, Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Components, December 2005
  2. Published since 2004-10-26.

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