The Staats Hospital, located in Charleston, West Virginia, was a hospital, theater and Knights of Pythias lodge in what was then the Elk City commercial district.

The four-story building was designed in the Classical Revival style by John Norman, the second registered black architect and seventh registered architect for the state,8 for the Staats brothers.1 6 7 The cornerstone was laid on October 8, 1921.9 10

The new structure opened on June 26, 1922 11 12 at a cost of $150,000.6 11 12 The grand chancellor, O.J. Rife, of the Glendale lodge No. 78, Knights of Pythias, and other lodge officers, officiated the dedication that evening. An open house to the public was held on July 1.

The building housed the 635-seat Grand Theater, the first movie house in the neighborhood, an ice cream parlor and confectionery.6 The second floor was used devoted to office space while the third and fourth floor housed the Glendale lodge No. 78, Knights of Pythias lodge.5 6 The third floor specifically housed the banquet room, kitchen, serving room, reading room, pool and billard room, cigar counter and restrooms while the fourth floor was the lodge room.6

The first floor later housed Kelley’s Department Store and an A&P grocer.1 5 One of the Staats brothers, Dr. Harlan Staats, was a doctor and a member of the Knights of Pythias, and converted the second and third levels into a 67-bed hospital.5

In 1941, the Glendale lodge No. 78, Knights of Pythias was closed.13

In 1982, the Staats Hospital closed when the Kanawha Valley Memorial Hospital moved to a new 170-bed facility on Pennsylvania Avenue.15 Staat Hospital’s 67-bed permit was transferred to St. Francis Hospital for $1.5 million.14 The deal fell through when a judge ruled that the permit had to be transferred to Kanawha Hospital per a prior agreement. The former hospital structure was reused as medical offices as for St. Francis Hospital as St. Francis West Health Care.5 8 The building steadily deteriorated until it ended up with only one occupant on the first floor, Dr. Adla Adi, who went bankrupt in 2010. Adi had desired to tear down the building in the early 2000’s and received approval by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority (CURA).

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia listed the Staats Hospital as its most endangered building in 2012 due to deterioration of the roof and the stripping of metals and other materials from the interior.2 In 2013, plywood murals covering the windows on the front of the building was installed by West Side Main Street.5

In May 2014, father-and-son developers John and Tighe Bullock of Bullock Properties LLC began the process to acquire the dilapidated hospital building from American Pride Properties of Florida.1 The company, which focused on delinquent and defaulted real estate loans and liens, purchased the building at a tax auction four years prior.

On May 27, the Charleston Area Alliance voted to guarantee a $155,000 loan from the First Bank of Charleston to Bullock towards the renovation of the Staats Hospital.2 The loan was secured by a second lien on the property. In addition, the Alliance also secured a $15,000 grant while the CURA provided a $230,000 loan. The West Virginia Historic Preservation Office added an additional $78,000 matching grant for roof repairs and West Size Main Street contributed a $20,000 matching grant.4 The Bullock family added $80,000 towards the $520,000 project.2 CURA also agreed to purchase a parking lot behind the building from Larry Kopelman and in turn lease the lot to Bullock.1

Bullock Properties closed on the Staats Hospital purchase on June 13.3

“We believe a developer with local roots has a better understanding of the needs of the community, the importance and history of that structure, and why it’s important to the entire West Side of Charleston and more specifically the West Washington Street business corridor.”
-Charleston Area Alliance President Matt Ballard 3

The renovation project’s first phase entails installing a new roof and restoring the first floor into retail or Class B office space.2 The second phase may include the renovation of the upper levels into office or residential space with an event space on the top floor.5

Roof repairs to ensure the building remained dry during the winter and construction on the downspout systems and the first floor storefronts began in December.4 A survey of the building’s exterior and interior, to salvaging any elements for reuse – such as the partial tin roof on the first floor, the zinc columns, and reliefs of Damon and Pythias on the exterior facade, began shortly after.5

[stag_toggle style=”normal” title=”Sources” state=”closed”]
  1. Molenda, Rachel. “Staats Hospital set for purchase, redevelopment.” Charleston Gazette [Charleston] 7 May 2014: n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  2. Cook, Caitlin. “Staats project gets more support.” Charleston Gazette [Charleston] 27 May 2014: n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  3. “Developers close purchase deal on Staats building.” Charleston Gazette [Charleston] 14 Jun. 2014: n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  4. Walker, Taisha L. and Jarrod Clay. “Construction Is Under Way At Former Staats Hospital.” WCHS [Charleston] 19 Dec. 2014: n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  5. Murphy, Matt. “Staats Hospital may gain new life after renovation.” Charleston Daily Mail 21 Jan. 2015: n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  6. “New Temple of the Glendale Lodge.” Charleston Daily Mail 25 Jun. 1922: 8. Print.
  7. “Staats Hospital.” PRESERVATION ALLIANCE of WEST VIRGINIA. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. Article.
  8. United States. Dept. of the Interior. Elk City Historic District. Comp. Billy Joe Peyton. Washington: National Park Service, Dec. 2007. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. Article.
  9. Congratulations Nights of Pythias. Advertisement. Charleston Daily Mail 8 Oct. 1921: 5. Print.
  10. “Charleston Day By Day.” Charleston Daily Mail 31 Oct. 1921: 19. Print.
  11. “Week of Ceremonies Planned by K. of C.” Charleston Daily Mail 11 Jun. 1922: 3. Print.
  12. “Knights Pythias to Dedicate New Temple Tomorrow.” Charleston Daily Mail 25 Jun. 1922: 8. Print.
  13. “Knights Of Pythias West Virginia 78 Glendale.” 501c3 Lookup n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. Article.
  14. “Lucrative Medicine.” Charleston Gazette 11 Oct. 1985: n.p. Print.
  15. “Hosptital’s Merger Decision Not an Easy One.” Charleston Gazette 27 Mar. 1986: n.p. Print.