2016 Update: Crawford Holdings, owner of the former Staats Hospital, celebrated the unveiling of a historically-accurate renovation of the building’s façade earlier this year. The façade is almost an exact rendition of what was built nearly 100 years ago. This is a major achievement in the progress of preserving the Staats Hospital building, which has been featured on the West Virginia Endangered Properties List twice (2005 and 2012) and was vacant for over a decade. Crawford Holdings is revamping all four floors of the building to be used for offices, retail space, and housing. It is an exciting project for Charleston’s West Side and is made possible through support from the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, the Charleston Area Alliance, and West Side Main Street.
2012 List: Constructed in 1922, the four-story Staats Hospital (Kanawha County) is the cornerstone of the ElkCity historic district on Charleston’s West Side. John Norman, the first registered Black architect in West Virginia, designed the building in Classical Revival style. The building is at risk structurally from water infiltration through a leaking roof and open windows. Additionally, the upper floors have been sealed for over 20 years because of asbestos and lead paint contamination. Construction workers are currently stripping the building of any salvageable metal materials in preparation for potential demolition. West Side Main Street (WSMS) has been in discussions with the lien holder to stop any demolition projects and plans to cultivate a partnership with a private developer to rehabilitate the building for mixed commercial and residential use. WSMS will also remediate the building with funds from brownfields clean-up grants.
2005 List: Built in 1922, Staats Hospital was designed by John C. Norman, Sr., a prominent Charleston resident and West Virginia’s first registered African American architect. The landmark building originally housed a movie theater, retail establishments & lodge hall before being converted into a hospital.
Rising four stories, the building is made of brick and adorned with an elegant and architecturally significant columned façade. Since the hospital closed in the early 1980s only the first floor has remained in continual use.
Building owners have received approval to demolish Staats Hospital in favor of a modern doctor’s office facing the opposite direction.
The former hospital is slated to become a parking lot, thus leaving a gaping hole in an intact historic streetscape that boasts a number of significant late 19th and early 20th century buildings. Fortunately, a growing grassroots effort has emerged to save the building, encouraging city officials and property owners to work together to come up with a viable alternative to demolition.
Fayetteville, Fayette County
2017 Update: As of the site’s last update report to PAWV, the private owner was planning for renovation. The bike shop is prosperous and very popular with cycling enthusiasts visiting the New River Gorge National River area.
Learn more: http://www.newriverbikes.com/
2012: New River Bikes, historically known as the Fayette Feed Company (Fayette County), is a privately owned, one-story building characterized by its Boomtown façade. Constructed in the 1880s, when Fayetteville was growing as an export and railroad town, this building symbolizes the prosperity of the merchant area in the town’s historic district and is reminiscent of the popular style of commercial structures that tended to be on main streets and in town centers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Endangered by deterioration, the owner hopes to replace the roof and spruce up the building with the ultimate goal to return it to its historical appearance as a fertilizer and feed store both inside and outside while still maintaining its current use. By building awareness, the owner also hopes to increase and promote historic preservation projects in Fayetteville’s downtown historic district.
Additional fund-raising will be necessary as the above plans will likely reduce the budget for the history and culture displays planned for the visitor center inside the building.
2011: Elkins Coal & Coke Company Building (Preston County) sits along the Deckers Creek Rail Trail near Masontown. It is associated with the Elkins Coal and Coke Historic District containing the Bretz coke ovens, a National Historic Landmark. The Romanesque style stone structure is deteriorating and damaged by vandalism. The Monongahela River Trails Conservancy plans to convert the building and its nearby picnic shelter into a visitor’s center and restroom facilities for use by trail users and those traveling the Old Route 7 Byway.
2011: Shanklin’s Grand Theatre in Ronceverte (Greenbrier County) was designed by John Norman Sr., one of the first of West Virginia’s African American architects. Built circa 1937, it is best remaining art deco theater in the county. The Ronceverte Development Corporation intends to purchase the property, which sits in the heart of the downtown, to protect it from demolition. Future plans include restoring the theater for public use and as a community college cinema arts classroom. The old WRON Radio studios on the second floor will be converted for use as a recording studio.
Huntington/Guyandotte, Cabell County
2017 Update: Lost and demolished in May 2011 to make way for the new Huntington East Middle School.
2011: West Virginia Colored Children’s Home (Cabell County) is a Classical Revival-style institutional building in Huntington was constructed in 1922 to provide housing, social services and education for the state’s black children in need. A cemetery where the Home’s children are believed to be buried is near the main building. Now owned by the Cabell County School Board, the West Virginia Colored Children’s Home is slated for demolition to make way for a new Middle School. A local advocacy organization has been formed to save the Home, and supporters are asking for consideration of an alternative building site for the new school or incorporation of the existing structure into a new school campus.
Wheeling, Ohio County
2017 Update: The historic women’s school was demolished in November 2011 after its purchase by Wheeling Hospital. Much of the site has now become sports fields. Some salvage did occur; the bell from the academy’s bell tower was moved to Wheeling Jesuit University, where it is now on display. Several statues from the site were saved and moved as well; one now sits in front of Wheeling Clinic. The building’s stained glass windows are in storage.
2011: The Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy (Ohio County) has overlooked Wheeling since 1856. The “commodious," eclectic Victorian architectural landmark was constructed using local materials. It exhibits a tri-partite arrangement providing space for public functions in the center (administration and chapel), nun's residences on the left side, and student housing on the right. Additions have expanded the classrooms with space included for other functions as well. The school provided quality education for young women, together with girls from both North and South during the Civil War era. The building is no longer in use and is deteriorating. While local supporters are advocating for its saving and adaptive reuse, the structure is threatened by likely demolition. Mount de Chantal is in private hands; however PAWV agrees that this unique, historical, cultural treasure should be preserved and will advocate to that end as opportunities permit.
The site hosts a number of events which include: An Annual Masquerade Ball, held in “The Golden Ballroom” with a Victorian era theme; Haunted History tours; and car shows. The Whipple Company Store is also now available for event bookings - such as family and school reunions, music and theater performances, anniversaries, and birthday and tea parties. They have already hosted several music events and a family reunion.
The Whipple Company Store is an important heritage destination in the New River Coal Fields, representing a critical element in telling the story of the 1921 mine wars, the struggle for unionization, and the lives of the miners and their families.
2014 Update: Whipple Company Store was designed by the Coal Baron, Justus Collins. This store is one of four he had built, all in this unique architectural fashion, and today the only one left standing. The privately owned Whipple Company Store (Fayette County) circa 1900 was a focal point in the area’s once thriving coal community. Today, it is an important heritage destination in the New River Coal Fields, representing a critical element in telling the story of the 1921 mine wars, the struggle for unionization, and the lives of the miners and their families. The Whipple Company Store was listed as a PAWV 2011 Endangered Property and has now been restored and re-opened as Appalachian Heritage Educational Museum and store.
2011: The privately owned Whipple Company Store (Fayette County) circa 1900 was a focal point in the area’s once thriving coal community. Today, it is an important heritage destination in the New River Coal Fields, representing a critical element in telling the story of the 1921 mine wars, the struggle for unionization, and the lives of the miners and their families. The owners are seeking funding to make critical repairs necessary to preserve the unusual and eye-catching hexagonal building and keep the museum open and accessible to the visiting public.
There are plans to repair the building’s foundation and the exterior stone keystones above an entryway.
2011: The Mannington Railroad Depot (Marion County) began operations in 1852 serving as a link to the Ohio River and the western frontier, as well as providing strategic advantage during the Civil War. Built in 1906, the present structure is a one story hip roof, brick building with stone detailing. The depot, typical of that style on the line, is in danger of development that will not preserve its special historic features. The City of Mannington and Mannington Main Street, are working with at least nine organizations interested in providing fund-raising efforts and “sweat equity” to purchase the building for adaptive reuse as a community center and snack bar along the Mannington Rail Trail.
2010: The Riverside African-American School in Elkins began in 1906 as a simple one floor brick building. In 1925, a second floor was added. What makes this building highly significant is its history as the educational forum for the Black and Native American populations of Randolph County and surrounding areas for five decades. Fifty-five years of neglect have taken their toll. Water intrusion has caused severe structural deterioration to Riverside’s interior walls, floors, windows, and roofing system. School alumni and a dedicated team of volunteers are working to purchase and rehabilitate the building as a new “Riverside African-American Heritage Center” to serve the local community.
Endangered Properties List
If you are interested in assisting with any of these preservation projects, contact the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org.