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Top-O-Rock (Demolished)

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Henry T. Elden House
1967–1968, Henry T. Elden. 1 Ramu Road

As its name implies, this dramatically sited studio and residence overlooking Charleston stood atop a rocky bluff. Actually, the contemporary tubular-steel and glass structure, designed to accommodate the architect's studio on the ground floor with living space above, wrapped around portions of the rock. The structure's undulating expanse culminated in a 32-foot-diameter, two-story living space. The building won a 1968 award of excellence from the American Institute of Steel Construction for its extensive and innovative use of steel. The architect acknowledged that although his challenge had been to convert “scrub land” into productive use, he had also created “a glass, jeweled box set on a hillside.”

The structure was demolished in 2015.


Molenda, Rachel. "Charleston landmark Top-O-Rock demolished." Charleston Gazette-Mail (WV), September 15, 2016.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.



  • 1967

  • 2015


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Top-O-Rock (Demolished)", [Charleston, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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