Wander aka StoneBear (wander) wrote in rural_ruin,
Wander aka StoneBear

Winston Chapel, Winston, VA

Winston is one of those little towns where the "Welcome to..." and the "Come back soon..." signs are on the same post. It's a little place just south and east of Culpepper, VA on US Rt. 522. Given that this was a shortcut route for me when I went to Virginia Tech back in the early 80's, I probably passed this place dozens of times and never gave it a second look. So maybe it was fate that I took this road going back to the house in Unionville to look for the photos I'd found on last year's trip. I saw it on the way down and stopped on the way back. It was nearly dark then but I managed some lovely photos with the nearly full moon. The next day, I drove back down from where I was staying in Manassas and got some good daylight shots. I was hoping there was a way in from the basement but no dice. I did re-lock the basement door for the owner. It had been standing wide open. I wandered across the highway to Winston Station and bought a Sprite so I could chat with the proprietor. He told me the chapel had been built in 1901 for a child who had died of dysentery. That the chapel was styled after English Chapels and that the Ivy had come from Kensington Castle in London. He also showed me where the caretaker lives. Turns out he was only partially wrong on the history. I visited the caretaker, the day before Thanksgiving. She was busy but asked if I could come back the day after Thanksgiving and she would be glad to let me into the Chapel. So for the third time, on the day after Thanksgiving, I traveled from where I was then staying in the Blue Ridge Mountains an hour and a half away to see the inside of the chapel. Turns out it was not built until 1908 as a memorial for a son of the Winston family. Several other Winstons are buried in the attached cemetery. It was modeled after Celtic Chapels. It features a pyramidal roof on the belltower topped with a Celtic cross and trefoil designs inside in various places.

It has been used for weddings and funerals over the years and sporadic regular church services up through the 1960's. The store proprietor could remember going to church there when he was a lad. The caretaker told me that when the chapel was built, the road in front was a gravel road where people seldom traveled. So now that it is a major commuter roadway, the chapel stopped being used regularly. In fact, there are no plans to use it at all ever again. She is just trying to keep it from getting broken into and keep up the usual repairs. She said she gets regular requests to use it for weddings or parties but the liability with the road is too great. The English ivy is some of the strangest plant life I've seen growing on a building and the 101 year old grave of Malcom Winston looks to have been recently dug.

Ominous looking belltower

Ivy climbing the tower

Broken shutters

Rear of chapel, basement and bathroom doors



Family cemetery

The weirdly fresh looking grave of Malcom Winston

Tower and moon

rear of chapel from cemetery side

rear window over basement and what used to be a door

The weird ivy

Ivy closeup

Ivy and basement window.

None of the shutters were perfect

Dead plant

Front steps and rock wall

Opposite side from family cemetery. Two unrelated burials.

Top of the wall and proximity to road

Side of wall

rocks in the back wall behind the chapel are more round

Rock wall and chapel from other side.

Cross and steeple

Gas stove in basement

Wood stove in basement

Basement storage

Rocks in wall.

Front doors.

Crack under door.

Date rock.

Winston family graves. Malcom is on the far end.

Winston family stone.

Shutter closeup.

Shutter hinge.

Shutter destruction.

Basement door shut.

Inside from back to front.

Windows at rear line up.

Altar area.

Pew with trefoil design.

Old organ.

From altar to rear.


Chandelier lamp.

The trefoil design.


Closeup on keys.


Altar seat.

Doorway to back room.

Back room.

Doorway arch.

Doorway molding detail.

Choir pew.

Window and old organ.

Newer organ.

Window and pew.

Window, pews and piano.

Stairs leading to balcony. Just inside main door.

Balcony. Stairs lead to bell tower which no longer houses a bell.

Pressed tin ceiling.

Main door opened.

Window above altar.

Dead plant on window sill.

Window and pews.



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