On the Backroads of Greene … {Stanardsville, Va. Photographer}

Old Chapman Grocery

I live in a little county in Virginia, just north of Charlottesville. We moved here in 2005 for a job from Northern Virginia. It had always been a dream of mine not to live in the congestion but rather near farms and nature. Every day since I have passed this old closed gas station. I have taken a few photos of it over the years, but the other day I brought my son to a friend’s house and stopped to take more photos of it.

I’ve always wondered why it was closed, what had happened. I felt it looked (still looks) sad. So I put it out there on Facebook–does anyone know why it is the way it is? It’s a small town and many have lived here forever, so I knew eventually I’d learn its history. I don’t know why I never asked before, but it didn’t occur to me. I figured, though, if I was putting some pictures up on the blog I’d like to know a little of the story behind it.

I learned, from my friends on Facebook, that the reason this place looks so sad–feels so sad–whenever I pass it is because something sad in fact happened there. Apparently the owner was killed in a robbery attempt or robbery (not sure about this detail) in 1998, at the age of 62. The family still owns the property, and several of the people said they were crushed by this.

I can only image the pain caused by this. I considered looking up the court records and telling the full story of what happened that night, but realized that’s the reporter in me and not the photographer. I wanted to give a bit of the brief history behind this that I recently learned, but just show one of the old buildings in my little county.

33 thoughts on “On the Backroads of Greene … {Stanardsville, Va. Photographer}

  1. Great photos, and I especially love the last two…rust and moss really add to the feel of these. Sadly, there are many places like this in central Virginia. Keep bringing them out into the light! You are helping to make them alive again. ;o)


      • Hi Terry….I used to go into this store when Onnie Morris owned it and then sold it to DP Chapman…You used to be able to buy gas, milk, bread, kerosene, ice soda’s….it was beautiful inside, the old hardwood floors, the old slide top soda cases were right inside on the left side of the door…Mr. Chapman was related to my ex-father-in law…the Chapman’s were really nice people….it was so sad what happened to DP….he did not deserve what happen to him…all over a kid wanted to steal some gas from the gas pump…all the older men used to play cards on Saturday night on the side of the house…there used to be a small 3 room apartment attached to the store…I moved there on state route 603 in 1978 and left in 2003….so many good memories there…


  2. Hello from congested Northern Va. It’s awful to hear about the history behind the home. You’re right, there is a sad feel to the dilapidated old place. Your photos and the conversion really portray melancholy.


  3. The owner of the store had bought an RV but never got to use it. He was a week from retiring and his son was going to take over the store while him and his wife traveled. The owner of that store was my grandfather.


      • Thank you Terry. HBO did a special on the super max prison Red Onion and solitary confinement, and the boy who committed the murder is now serving life in prison and was interviewed. During the trail he had time to address the court and family, but was unremorseful. From what I saw he has had a lot of time to reflect and regret.


  4. Thank you for these pictures. They bring back so many happy memories of my childhood. My Grandfather (Grandpa) Onnie Morris owned this store and sold it to his neighbor DP Chapman. My Grandpa was a wonderful and caring man. He would help out anyone and everyone he could. There was ALOT of love there. My brothers and I would be so excited when summer break began…because we knew we would be going to Grandpa’s.


  5. Just a footnote. My Grandpa Onnie was so sad when he found out that DP had been killed. We all knew the family well as it was a small community.


  6. thanks for sharing. I remember this place well from my childhood and my visits to this area. Pansy Grandpa Onnie was my Uncle and I remember my Dad taking us there to visit when we were in town..


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