Elizabeth Memorial Church

A strange but funny story

As you travel up Bridge Road in South Hills, you will see a little stone church on the right at the first right hand turn.  It was known for many years as the Elizabeth Memorial Church.  Obviously a memorial to Elizabeth. But who was Elizabeth?  A woman from the Bible?  Hardly....

Elizabeth Memorial Church

Former Elizabeth Memorial Church, now Unity Of Kanawha Valley

It all started with Colonel Carr...

Robert Stuart Carr was born in Ohio in 1845 but raised in Point Pleasant from age 10 to age 20.  He had less than 1 year of schooling.  Interestingly enough, Carr had two younger brothers who became  doctors.  He came to Charleston and took several jobs including working his way up to Steamboat Captain and owner.  Carr saved his money but was broke several times.  At one point he had enough money to purchase most of what we know as South Hills.  Remember, land was cheap in the mid to late 1800s and there was no way to get to the south side of the river except by ferryboat.   Carr would manage to sell off lots,  and one of the first people he wanted as his neighbor was Gov. William MacCorkle.  Carr actually promoted MacCorkle to his very first public office without MacCorkle even knowing it at the time. MacCorkle would later become governor. What would become "The Sunrise Mansion" was then built.  As more people started to live on the south side of the river, it was apparent that a bridge was needed.  Carr and a few investors then built the first South Side Bridge.  This really opened up the South Hills area  and the rest as they say... is history.  Carr became a very wealthy man.  Carr was on the city council, a county commissioner, and a state senator.

Col Carr

It seems that  Colonel Carr like to drink a bit, 

which led directly to the name of the church....

‎" I saw sixteen women standing on the porch and in an instant I realized that all of those women was my wife".

Col Carr

* See the description of Asafetida at the bottom of the page

Robert Carr died in 1925

Col Carr

Col Carr was apparently beloved by all, both rich and poor.  And like many of the day he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, which here at the time was more a fraternal organization than anything else. It was looked on by most no different than the Masons at that time.  ( Think Robert C Byrd in his younger days).   It IS interesting to note in the article however that full Klan honors were afforded him at the grave site.  It was also typical for both local newspapers to post Klan meetings and events for many years.

col Carr

* Asafoetida alternative spelling asafetida,  (also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, Jowani badian, hing and ting) is the dried latex exuded from the living tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb). The species is native to the mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks.

This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It typically works as a flavor enhancer.

In its pure form, its odor is so strong the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby if it is not stored in an airtight container: Asafoetida reduces the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, reducing flatulence.


There were many churches back in the day that were named for the people who gave money to build them. This would be an eternal memorial... a
monument if you will, to that person.  It's my personal opinion ( and many people wont like it ) that naming a church after a person is downright vulgar, and why those people who have churches named after them would allow it is even more sad.  Churches should be named after GOD or something to do with God,  and NOT a sinner.  For instance: Church of God, or Saint Matthews, or  Holiness Church.  Anything to do with God or the Bible. We are ALL born into sin and even the people who donated the money to build a church were sinners.  So why name a church after a sinner?  Like many things that were accepted and popular "back in the day", naming a church for a human being was typical.  But think about it today. When was the last church built and named for a man or woman?  There may be one, but I'm not familiar with any.  Hopefully, none will ever be again....

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