Weirton (pron. WEER-ton) is a city located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, United States. Most of the city is in Hancock County, with the remainder in Brooke County. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 19,746. It is a principal city within the Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The small village called Holliday's Cove — which is now most of downtown Weirton — was founded in 1793. (It eventually lost the apostrophe.) In 1909, Ernest T. Weir arrived from neighboring Pittsburgh and built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Holliday's 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.
Hollidays Cove Fort was a Revolutionary War fortification constructed in 1774 by soldiers from Ft. Pitt. It was located in what is now downtown Weirton, along Harmons Creek (named for Harmon Greathouse), about three miles from its mouth on the Ohio River. It was commanded by Colonel Andrew Van Swearingen (1741–1793) and later by his son-in-law, Captain Samuel Brady (1756–1795), the famous leader of Brady's Rangers. In 1779, over 28 militia were garrisoned at Hollidays Cove. Two years earlier, Colonel Van Swearingen led a dozen soldiers by longboat down the Ohio to help rescue the inhabitants of Ft. Henry in Wheeling in a siege by the British and Indian tribes in 1777. That mission was memorialized in a WPA-era mural painted on the wall of the Cove Post Office by Charles S. Chapman (1879–1962). The mural features Col. John Bilderback, who later gained infamy as the leader of the massacre of the Moravian Indians in Gnadenhutten in 1782.
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 other Ernest T. Weir company, National Steel Corporation, was elected as the city's first mayor. The city charter was approved by voters in 1950.
Also home to Weirton is the Weirton Steel Corporation which 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 1980s 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 neighboring Pittsburgh metropolitan area, marketing Weirton as a bedroom community, taking advantage of the close proximity to the Pittsburgh International Airport and major interstates.
Weirton is home to a number of sites on the National Register of Historic Places including: Johnston-Truax House, Marland Heights Park and Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool, People's Bank, Dr. George Rigas House, and the Peter Tarr Furnace Site.