Abandoned In C’ville (Part 4)

This is the fourth in our series of abandoned properties in and around Charlottesville. In my explorations I have seen and photographed many old buildings inside and out, some of which have since been torn down. A few of these buildings and locations have been featured in other posts on this website, but I wanted to group the images here, as they collectively tell a story about time, life, and the structures we inhabit in our short stay in this world.  Some locations may be left unidentified out of respect for the property owner.

Old Jail # 6 Another look at a building we featured in an earlier post, this is the old county jail near Court Square in downtown Charlottesville. Closed in 1974, the old stone and brick jail with a tall brick wall surrounding a courtyard, still stands, unused.

Ridge #2This small house once stood on a back street only a few blocks south of downtown Charlottesville.

Merrie MillBuilt in 1764, only two years after the founding of Charlottesville itself, this old mill still stands in eastern Albemarle County.

Haden Lane #2This old house near Crozet was demolished shortly after this photo was taken.

Carrsgrove #6This fireplace, old chimney, and a refrigerator were all that was left of this old home when we found it on a large property in Charlottesville.

Gate House Ragged MountainThe gatehouse between the two sections of the old Ragged Mountain Reservoir has been partly demolished with the current expansion of the reservoir.  This area will soon be under water.

Carrsgrove #2An interior of an old C’ville home, now gone.

Esmont Store (1)Service station and store near Esmont.

IMG_9498An aerial view of the Blue Ridge Sanatorium. Originally built as a large hospital compound to treat tuberculosis, several of the original structures remain. The property is owned by UVA and off limits to the public.

Abandoned Shell #4The last hours of a service station at Barracks Road Shopping Center.  Originally a Texaco and later a Shell, it has now been replaced by shops and restaurants.

 All photographs © C’ville Images, 2010-2014

Train Depot, Keswick

Keswick Depot 33This abandoned train depot in Keswick, just a few miles east of C’ville, was used in the 1956 film “Giant” to serve as the train depot for the fictitious town of Ardmore, Maryland where the first scenes of the film take place.

Keswick Depot
The cinder block walls are still standing but the structure is in disrepair.

Keswick Depot#2Down the tracks, in the distance to the west, you can see Montalto, the mountain next to Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello.

The film starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul Fix, the latter seen here awaiting the arrival of Rock Hudson.

Color photos by Steve Trumbull. B&W photo by Ed Roseberry.

More photos from the set of “Giant” at the Keswick Depot in this archived photo essay from our “Charlottesville Then and Now” website.

The Inn At Afton

In 1968, a Holiday Inn was built along the Blue Ridge Parkway on Afton Mountain.  The hotel boasted unparalleled views and outstanding accommodations for travelers to this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just west of Charlottesville. Open in all seasons, it had both a swimming pool and ice skate rink overlooking the scenic Rockfish Valley.  In the mid-1990s the Holiday Inn closed and the property became The Inn at Afton, continuing to cater to tourists enjoying the mountain scenery here and visiting Shenandoah National Park.  Over the past two decades the hotel has fallen into disrepair.

Recently, photographer Rick Stillings visited the old hotel and brought back these images.

Inn_at_Afton-12Prior to becoming The Inn at Afton the property was managed by Holiday Inn (1968-1990’s).

Inn_at_Afton-1  A pool once provided summer recreation for guests. Beyond the pool you can see greenstones of the Catoctin Formation, a late Neoproterozoic geologic unit exposed throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Inn_at_Afton-2Once home to Aberdeen Barn Restaurant (when the property was under Holiday Inn’s management), it was thought to be one of the best places in the area to dine, with a beautiful panoramic view of the Rockfish Valley.

Inn_at_Afton-13Room 209.

Inn_at_Afton-3The ice skate rink also had a beautiful panoramic view of the Rockfish Valley.

Inn_at_Afton-6Skate rink sign.

Inn_at_Afton-4Room where you checked out skates. On the far left you can still make out where the
“M9’s” were kept.

Ice Skate Rink, Inn at Afton
Looking out the "Check Out Window" onto rink.Looking out the “Check Out Window” onto rink.

Inn_at_Afton-7Adjacent the Inn at Afton were other accommodations known as the “Skyline Parkway Motor Court”. Once a much larger motel, only a few cabins remain.

What remains of the old "Skyline Parkway Motor Court" on Afton MountainMore of the remains of the old Skyline Parkway Motor Court on Afton Mountain.

Inn_at_Afton-10Also near by is this abandoned restaurant, a Howard Johnson’s originally built in 1948.



In addition to his photography, Rick Stillings works full-time in UVA’s Computer Science Department.  Primary Photography interests: Nature, Wildlife, Urban Exploration, Live Music, Equestrian and Abstract.

Rick’s website

Rick on Flickr






C’ville Sketches

The following post is by Charlottesville architect and artist Jessie Chapman.  She is part of the Urban Sketchers group that goes on location to observe and document buildings and street scenes here in Charlottesville.  On occasion, Jessie takes the extra step to photograph her work on site and create these “sketch-in-context” photos.  C’ville Images is thrilled that Ms. Chapman was willing to share a few of her images with us along with some of her thoughts on each subject. Jessie told C’ville Images recently, “sketching isn’t so much about making art as about seeing and slowing down.”  We think her work captures this idea perfectly.


8842655915_dea4b4530d_bUnder the Belmont Bridge:  This area drew my attention after working with UVa Architecture students on a design project to reimagine the bridge that seems to divide downtown more than a bridge ought to. I know that there used to be a lumberyard down here and that the Buckingham Branch Railroad uses the space for its trains. There’s a lot going on down there and I’d like to go back to sketch again.


13295593253_ea9b3bf694_bPavilion:  Under the big Pavilion tent with a small group of sketchers. This is a space that challenged my sense of scale and perspective. Photos flatten things out and make it seem easier to perceive a space. But for me, there’s no substitute for spending time on location with a sketchbook to figure out how a space works. The sketch is always better, and you learn to get faster, when you’re in a less-than-ideal circumstance and limited to the tools you have on hand. On this day, I got to know a few new people who came out to sketch with me, which made it even nicer to be under the tent!


12884258164_de8c4aaf20_oPavilion II:  Near the Rotunda, sitting on the steps of Pavilion II. This was a very quick sketch. I like to just establish a few lines and cast the main shadows, then decide if I want to keep adding detail. In this case, it was the right decision to leave it. Lately, I love using Instagram to transmit a sketch right away. On Sundays, a lot of other Urban Sketchers groups are out all over the world, and there’s something delightful about trading these views from our books with people doing the same thing in Jakarta or Barcelona. Some are people I’ve met, and others just feel like members of the global family.


13295763194_5f28dafff3_bWoolen Mills Chapel:  One of the more pleasing buildings in town, to my eye. I made peace with it by squeezing the steeple onto this spread and resolving to move up to the next size sketchbook! At the very least, I’d like to have more white space around the sketch.


13202717593_e6bcb297f0_bTransit Center:  Planning sketch outings has been more challenging than usual this winter, so we opted for a backup plan: the Charlottesville Transit Station and Visitors’ Center. This one is not such a stunning or iconic view, but it’s a lovely space and we enjoyed talking to the people who work here. A group of people gathered at this desk to my right to listen to the UVa- Duke basketball game on the radio. The man at the desk later told me “people will come in and say ‘I’ve got one hour in Charlottesville. What should I see?'”


13198460515_d8c167e47b_oTransit Center #2:  Looking out over the staircase at the Transit Center. There’s Scott DuBar, another Charlottesville Urban Sketcher, who happens to be sketching a view that includes me looking across at him. Unfortunately, he came and sat there after I’d set up the sketch, or I wouldn’t have located him at the spine of the book!


12468107314_b540ec8e3f_oTru Pilates:  I asked the owner of Tru Pilates if I could come in early to sketch before my class from time to time. It’s a beautiful studio and I could use some practice on figures in motion. Watching with pencil in hand, I became more aware of things I’ve learned and done myself in these classes.


12291468425_6eeb72f354_bAmtrak Station:  On Superbowl Sunday, we went sketching at the Charlottesville train station. UVA Medical Center is in the distance, with the helicopter ready to go. I’ll often try the same scene two different ways. Sketching is a form of problem solving and sometimes working out two answers makes sense. Just above my sketchbook, you see a very large extractor fan which connects to the kitchen at the Wild Wings. As an architect, I’m always thinking about ventilation and lighting and all the parts that make a building function. On this day, the restaurant was preparing wings for about a zillion football fans. It would be an understatement to say that is the hardest working fan I’ve ever seen!


1976888_10151948586202374_1971693157_nJessie Chapman is an architect in Charlottesville, Virginia.  After taking up sketching as a way to improve her design skills , she soon discovered that drawing daily makes for a better outlook on almost everything. She serves on the Executive Board of Urban Sketchers, a global nonprofit devoted to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing. Jessie is a firm believer that drawing every day is good for the mind and doing it in a group is good for your community.  Read some of her thoughts on sketching, seeing, and memory in this essay.


books on groundThe Charlottesville Chapter of Urban Sketchers meets every Sunday at 2pm. Everyone is welcome and no experience required. Locations are announced through the Facebook Group, and through Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #charlottesville #urbansketchers   Follow Jessie on Flickr and Sketchwell on Instagram.

These photographs are the property of Jessie Chapman and used here with permission. Photo of Jessie by Marc Taro Holmes.  If you are an artist or photographer and would like to contribute to C’ville Images, please contact us.


April 10th Show

3/19 UPDATE:  ALL TICKETS FOR THIS SHOW HAVE BEEN RESERVED.  If you have reserved yours, you should have received a reply email with instructions on how to complete the purchase.  Please follow those steps to secure your tickets.  Please note that we reserve the right to sell the seats if we don’t receive payment within a few days of the reservation.  Thank you!

The next C’ville Images slideshow will be Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 7 pm. It will be held at our regular monthly venue, C’ville Coffee on Harris Street in Charlottesville.  The theme will be “Charlottesville Then & Now” and we will be pairing vintage photographs of Charlottesville with current day views of the same location.

1050Oyster House #1

Tickets for this event are $10.  To reserve yours simply contact us giving your name and how many tickets you want and you’ll be put on the guest list for April 10.  We will reply to your email with two options on how to pay for the tickets.  Tickets for our shows go fast, so don’t delay in reserving yours!

pastedGraphicCourtsquare #1

This is a fun program, not too heavy on detailed history, but enlightening nevertheless.  You’ll see dozens of photographs with a slow fading from the past to the present, narrated by Steve Trumbull.  Some may be familiar scenes, while others will amaze you with the dramatic change over time.  We have been doing this a while, mostly extensively on our Charlottesville Then and Now website. We have also produced a calendar with this theme, and of course many of our posts on this website use “Then & Now” pairings of images.

Both B&W images seen here are from the Holsinger Collection, Special Collections, UVA Library.  Current day photos © C’ville Images 2010-2014

Abandoned in C’ville (Part 3)

This is the third in a series of posts on abandoned places in Charlottesville and surrounding areas. In my explorations I have seen and photographed many old buildings inside and out, some of which have since been torn down. A few of these buildings and locations have been featured in other posts on this website, but I wanted to group the images here, as they collectively tell a story about time, life, and the structures we inhabit in our short stay in this world.  Some locations may be left unidentified out of respect for the property owner.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 1
Staircase in abandoned home near Crozet, west of Charlottesville.  Home has since been demolished.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 2
Remaining chimney of abandoned homestead on the banks of Charlottesville’s reservoir in the Ragged Mountains. The reservoir was first built in 1885 and then expanded around 1908.  It is uncertain when the home that stood here was built but likely before 1885. This site will soon be completely underwater with the latest expansion of the reservoir that is well underway.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 6 Warehouse and bottling plant built in 1939 by the Coca-Cola Company in Charlottesville. Building is currently standing, awaiting new occupants.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 7 Part of Charlottesville Motors, built on West Main Street in the late 1930s.  This building was used for many things over the years but has since been demolished to make room for  a residential high-rise, currently under construction near 9th Street, SW.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 8 A private study/library inside an old home. Abandoned when the owner passed away and was demolished a decade or so later.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 9 Abandoned barn near Barboursville, north of Charlottesville. Current fate unknown.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 10
Old Shell station demolished to make room for restaurants and shops at Barracks Road Shopping Center.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 11
An empty garage in an abandoned home in Charlottesville. Now gone.

Abandoned in C'ville 3
Another look at the Landmark Hotel, an abandoned construction project in downtown Charlottesville.  We featured a different photo of this same building in Part 1 of this series.  The unfinished structure is one of the very tallest in Charlottesville.  In the photograph, taken through the glass of a window, you can see the reflection of the National Bank Building across Main Street.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 12This photograph was taken shortly before the demolition of this old home possibly built in the early 1900s.  It had been abandoned for over ten years at the time of this photograph. The property was inside the Charlottesville city limits.

Abandoned in C'ville 3 (1)This house was once a prominent home on the east side of Charlottesville overlooking the Rivanna River at Freebridge.  Over a century old, it sat on a large property which has since been over taken by smaller houses of the working class neighborhood that surrounds it. The landscape is so overgrown that the house can no longer be seen from any of the major roads that pass it. It is currently slated for demolition.

All photographs © C’ville Images 2010-2014

Abandoned in C’ville (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of posts on some abandoned buildings in Charlottesville and surrounding areas. In my explorations I have seen and photographed many old buildings inside and out, some of which have since been torn down. A few of these buildings and locations have been featured in other posts on this website, but I wanted to group the images here, as they collectively tell a story about time, life, and the structures we inhabit in our short stay in this world.  Some locations may be left unidentified out of respect for the property owner.

Abandoned C'ville 3
Loading dock at Woolen Mills on the east side of Charlottesville. The facility has not been in operation for 5 decades.

Abandoned C'ville 4 Once Charlottesville’s only airport, this location in Milton, east of C’ville, still has the airplane hangar and main office building that it had when it closed in the 1950s.

Abandoned C'villeBuilt in 1899, this was the home of the president of the Alberene Soapstone Company in Alberene, VA. The house design was based on a Charlottesville home known as “Crestwood” located just off Old Ivy Road.  That house was burned (in a fire department training exercise) and razed in 1990.

Abandoned C'ville 5
This home in Western Albemarle County still stands but has been unoccupied for many years.

Abandoned C'ville 6 Interior of an abandoned home near the university which has since been razed.

Abandoned C'ville 4 (1)
House a few blocks south of downtown. Now gone.

Abandoned C'ville 3 (1) Interior of large home in Charlottesville. Long gone.

Abandoned C'ville 2 Prison cell in old Albemarle County jail. No longer used though building still stands.

Abandoned C'ville 2 (1)
Warehouse.  Gone.

Abandoned C'ville 1 Abandoned home near Hogwaller, east side of town.

Abandoned C'ville 1 (1)
Empty barn north of Charlottesville.

 All photo © C’ville Images, 2010-2014

Abandoned in C’ville (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of posts on some abandoned buildings in Charlottesville and surrounding areas. In my explorations I have seen and photographed many old buildings inside and out, some of which have since been torn down. A few of these buildings have been featured in other posts on this website, but I wanted to group the images here, as they collectively tell a story about time, life, and the structures we inhabit in our short stay in this world.  A few are unidentified out of respect of the property owner.

Abandoned C'ville 9Interior, residence, west of Charlottesville.

Abandoned C'ville 10
Engine room for freight elevator, warehouse, Charlottesville.

Abandoned C'ville 8Abandoned concrete plant in Charlottesville, now gone.

Abandoned C'ville 7Abandoned house, western Albemarle County, now gone.

Abandoned C'ville 6 (1)
This failed hotel project in the heart of Charlottesville at Second and East Main Streets is now abandoned except for animals, vegetation, homeless people, and graffiti artists. There are no firm plans to either finish the project or remove it. It is one of the tallest structures in Charlottesville.

Abandoned C'ville 1 (2) Woolen Mills on the Rivanna River on the east side of town. Operated from 1850s to 1960s when it was abandoned.  Partly used for storage.

Abandoned C'ville 2 (2)Interior of old car dealership near downtown Charlottesville, long after the dealership moved to Rt. 29 North.  Building has since been demolished.

Abandoned C'ville 3 (2)Long time Charlottesville theater, now abandoned, though the building still stands.

Abandoned C'ville 4 (2)Abandoned home in Charlottesville.

All photographs © C’ville Images, 2010-2014

Reynolds-Zink Hardware

getStaticImage-6Interior of Reynolds-Zink Hardware Store on East Main Street in C’ville in the 1910s.  It was located on the bottom floor of the old Monticello Bank Building at the corner of 4th and E. Main. The shelves to the left are for bargain items, mostly 5 cents.  A poster on the front of the counter advertises a “Summer School Lyceum Course”, an adult education/lecture series popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

getStaticImage-5 2The Monticello Bank Building was built in the 1850s but was only used as a bank for a small portion of its 100 year history. Next to the hardware store in this photo is Keller and George, the jeweler that has had various locations over the past century but is still in business today. Main Street in this era was paved with bricks and had an electric trolley running down the center. Both motor vehicles and horses were common. With two other hardware stores within a couple of blocks on Main Street, Reynolds-Zink would be out of business within a few years of this image. The building would be demolished in the 1950s and replaced with Miller and Rhoads, a department store. Today, the same location houses Five Guys Burgers on the Downtown Mall.

(Photographs courtesy Holsinger Collection, Special Collections, UVA Library)

Zion Crossroads Dirt Track Racing

img606In the early 1950s Ed Roseberry was on site for some racing at a dirt track near Zion Crossroads, VA, a few miles east of Charlottesville.

Roseberry was experimenting with color film which was not in widespread use at the time. Ed recalls that color film was expensive and you needed bright daylight to expose it. Additionally, many of his color negatives have not held up over time, discoloring with age.  Remarkably, a group of negatives that C’ville Images recently discovered and scanned from deep in the Roseberry archives, are fairly well-preserved. Below is a selection of these photographs. For a fun soundtrack to accompany the pics, try this song.img019 img013 The color images Roseberry got at the track took adept handling of the camera equipment, and as you will see below, no small amount of daring from the photographer.

img015 img017 img014The track was built by J. G. Pugh who, according to his son Ken, also built a drive-in movie theater near Cismont. The track was first called Hilltop Speedway and later named Central Virginia Raceway.  It operated from the late 1940s through at least the early 1950s, possibly later.

img875This last Roseberry photo from the same period shows a night time scene where the car drivers are performing daring stunts to entertain the spectators in the trackside bleachers.

Zion Xroads Dirt Track GoogleThe race track is long gone and the property is wooded and private. This satellite image (Google Earth) reveals the ghost of the old dirt track. Still visible is the oval track where stock car racing was a regular happening (and Roseberry was there to document it) over 60 years ago.