St. Elizabeth's Hospital Building and Office
Backstory and Context
Born the seventh of ten siblings, nine of which would reach adulthood, Dr. Walter Cleveland Caudill was born on June 9th, 1888, in Alleghany County, North Carolina to Tyrell and Nancy Caudill. Dr. Caudill married Mary Ring Cornett and had two sons, though only one, Carrel Mayo Caudill, would survive infancy and follow in his father's footsteps to become a doctor.
When young Walter Caudill graduated from Appalachian State Teacher's College (now known as Appalachian State University), he went on to study medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and intern in Roanoke, Virginia, before moving to Pearisburg in 1914. During World War I, he served in the U. S. Medical Corps and was part of the American Expeditionary Force, which helped to prepare him for practicing medicine in Pearisburg once he returned from the war.
In 1920, local banker C. L. King, who built The Virginian Building, and merchant C. A. Hoilman constructed the three-story building that would later house Caudill's hospital. The original intention for the building was speculative office space, but, in 1924, Caudill, alongside his brother Dr. Estill Leftridge Caudill, altered and added to the building, including the adjacent one-story office building, which now houses a hair salon, to establish the St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the only hospital in Giles County at the time. The private hospital had approximately eighteen to twenty beds and remained in operation until 1950, when it was supplanted by the more modern Giles Memorial Hospital. Following this, the three-story building was readapted for office space and for residential apartments, which it is still used for today.
In addition to working as a physician and surgeon at the hospital, Dr. W. C. Caudill held various positions for the Medical Society of Virginia, including treasurer in 1915 and president in 1949. He also served as the chairman of the Giles County Democratic Party before being elected as Giles and Bland County's delegate to the Virginia General Assembly in 1935, which he served for one term. In 1939, Caudill was elected to serve state senate 19, which represents Bland, Giles, Pulaski, and Wythe Counties, a position he held until his retirement in 1955. In his final term, Caudill served as president pro tempore and as floor leader. With his political clout, he was able to expedite construction of the Giles Memorial Hospital, which cost $600,000 to build. Dr. W. C. Caudill passed away on January 18th, 1963.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the accompanying office building were placed on the Virginia Landmark Register on December 11th, 1991, and the National Register of Historic Places on January 30th, 1992, as two of nineteen buildings comprising the Pearisburg Historic District. The building reflects Pearisburg's growth and development throughout the twentieth century and is preserved for its architecture and for the local medical significance of the establishment.The three-story, nine-bay brick building features a central entrance with double-loaded corridors extending the length of the building on all three floors, segmental arched windows, and a corbeled parapet cornice. The first floor also features a later storefront alteration, which is now used by the Cloud System Solutions vape shop, and there is a one-story concrete block addition at the rear of the building. The one-story office shares the same architectural features.
Bearss, Sara B. Dictionary of Virginia Biography: Volume III, Caperton - Daniels. Library of Virginia, 2006.
Dr Carrel Mayo "Doc" Caudill, Find a Grave. Accessed November 2nd 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40128441/carrel-mayo-caudill.
Fisher, Terri L. Giles County (Then & Now). Arcadia Publishing, 2011.
Kern, John. Pearisburg Historic District, National Register of Historic Places. January 30th 1992. Accessed October 23rd 2019. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/VLR_to_transfer/PDFNoms/279-0012_Pearisburg_Historic_District_1992_Final_Nomination.pdf.