Nearly nineteen years ago Susan Haddad began renovations on the 1869 building that would become her iconic Centre Market restaurant, Later Alligator. In May 2020, Wheeling Heritage’s Betsy Sweeny purchased the 1892 McLain house in East Wheeling for $18,500 and began chronicling her renovation journey on Instagram. Though separated by generations, these two women share a common passion for and philosophy of restoration: recycle, repurpose, reuse.
Touring Later Alligator with Susan Haddad is like taking a crash course in historic renovation and collection. She zips from one item to another, recalling with absolute precision where and how she salvaged every brick, door, column, tile, and piece of Wheeling memorabilia. Her stories are punctuated by phrases like “I gutted this myself,” “I stripped everything,” and “I’ve climbed in many a dumpster,” weaving a common thread of sheer grit.
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