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.
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.