Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com
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Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.



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Lost Architecture - Short Pump

A number of articles have been written about the area known as Short Pump in Henrico County, mostly as zoning changes have been presented, the result of development plans ever expanding the once primary road leading from Richmond to Charlottesville. Even the name of this road has changed a number of times from its first use during Colonial days as Richmond Turnpike, to Deep Run Turnpike, Route 250, and finally West Broad Street, which is the multi-lane highway that exists today. As we drive westward past the shopping centers, office parks, gasoline stations, and parking lots, pause for a moment to take a trip back to an earlier time when life was simple and the road less traveled. Those who remember, look back with a sense of nostalgia. There is hardly a glimmer of the once rural community left as we recall the history of people and families that lived there whose hard work and sacrifices made possible the progress of today.

Short Pump represents a long and interesting cross-road in American history. Not far away on Three Chopt Road is Deep Run Baptist Church, built in 1749 with wooden pegs and beams that are part of the present structure today. During the Revolutionary War, the church served as a hospital for wounded soldiers and the Marquis de Lafayette reportedly used it as a gathering place (HC 18). Thomas Jefferson, Stonewall Jackson, and Ulric Dahlgren were some of the illustrious visitors to the village in route to their destiny in history.

Land travel in eighteenth century Virginia was usually limited to an average of 30 to 40 miles a day. A 50 mile trip was considered to be long distance. The roads outside of cities often were no more than clearings that meandered to avoid natural obstacles and leading across fordable waterways. The early 1800s saw the beginning of turnpike road development. These roadways were often covered with stone or gravel and tolls were charged according to usage to pay for maintenance.

Below are structures of Short Pump, a couple that have been saved, a few that are in danger of being destroyed, and the majority of which perished long ago.

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Short Pump Tavern

An 1815 insurance policy, taken out by Robert H. Saunders, shows a tavern located at the confluence of Richmond Turnpike, Three Chopt Road, and Pouncy Tract Road; this tavern appears in the below photo on the left. Those traveling from Charlottesville to Richmond would stop to sleep and to water their horses. Legend has it that this important crossroads was named for the short handled water pump located there. The early part of the 20th century represented the transitional period between animal-drawn and gasoline-fueled vehicles.

The image of a pump amid ruins in the lower left of the photo on the right was found in the Department of Historic Resources file on the Short Pump General Store.

Short Pump Tavern, a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists. The image of a pump amid ruins in the lower left was found in the Department of Historic Resources file on the Short Pump General Store.

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Downtown Short Pump General Store (Henley Store)

Short Pump General Store, a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists.

Just east of the Short Pump Tavern at the intersection of Broad Street and Three Chopt Road, Dabney B. Henley constructed and began operating in 1908 what later became known as the Downtown Short Pump General Store. The building was described as "having unique stylistic features that expressed the transition from late nineteenth century Victorian, to early twentieth Century Craftsman and Colonial Revival styles." (HABS No. VA-1345).

Dabney and Inez Henley, who owned the Short Pump General Store, a Henrico County Virginia structure that no longer exists.

In 1912 Dabney Henley married Inez Wade, whose family lived on Three Chopt Road for several generations. They had two children, Raymond (Tom) Henley and Doris (Henley) Hord. The family resided on the second level above the store. Later, both of their children would build homes and live near-by.

In general, rural stores were centrally located at the junction of two roads or in small villages, as was the case at Short Pump. Often the only retail establishment serving a large area, the general store stocked a wide variety of items to serve the needs of the community. Baloney sausage, salt herring in a barrel, lard, and chicken feed are some of the items it is said the Henleys sold in their store. In addition to providing necessary supplies, the store was a social center, where residents in the community would hear and dicuss political and social issues. One local resident said he stopped by the store every day on the way home from work just to keep up with the news in the community.

After Dabney Henley retired, the building was used as an antique store for a number of years. Dabney Henley died in 1969 and after the death of Mrs. Henley in 1979, the property was eventually owned by Richard and Susan Friedman. They ran Downtown Short Pump The General Store until the property was sold and later demolished in 1996 to accommodate the widening of Broad Street. Plans to move the building failed because of structural problems. Several local artists have preserved the image of the Short Pump Grocery Store in their work. Such rurual commercial buildings, once prevalent throughout Henrico County, are now threatened with extinction.

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Short Pump School

Short Pump School, a Henrico County, Virginia structure built in 1911; it was later replaced with a brick school house in 1926.

The entire community celebrated the dedication of a new school in Short Pump on December 6, 1911. The new school consolidated several one-room school houses in the area to accommodate grades 1-9. Mattie W. Mills served as principal with 98 pupils enrolled. Transportation to school became a necessity for pupils living in the outlying areas. A covered wagon with benches on each side and pulled by two mules was used. Clifton Henley was the first driver, followed by Grayson Nuckols and Henry Wade.

Goochland County fire tower, similar to one in Short Pump, Henrico County, Virginia that no longer exists.

The frame, two story building was replaced in 1926 with a brick one-story building with the modern convenience of indoor plumbing. After several renovations and additions this building remains at the core of the present building. The school continues to serve a still thriving community.

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Short Pump Fire Tower

Also serving the Short Pump area was a fire tower similar to the one pictured that was preserved in Goochland County.

Mason Wade was at one time the attendant of the tower in Short Pump and twice a day he would climb to the top for observation, the only method of that time for detecting forest fires. As these towers have outlived their usefulness, they too have become obsolete and have disappeared from the landscape.

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Sinclair Gas Station and Short Pump Transmission Shop

Sinclair Gas Station, which was moved from Henrico County, Virginia to Goochland County, Virginia. Short Pump Transmission Shop, which was moved from Henrico County, Virginia to Goochland County, Virginia.

Henrico County, Virginia resident Berger Nuckol, today; he purchased the Short Pump Transmission Shop, which now exists in Goochland County, Virginia.

Built in the 1930's, the building in the left picture was originally a Sinclair Gas Station when gas was 5 gallons for a dollar. It later became a Convenience Store.

Pictured on the right, the Short Pump Transmission Shop was purchased by Berger Nuckols in 1945. It was located near where the Wal Mart is today.

Luckily, these two buildings were saved. They were moved from the Short Pump area in 1996 and restored. They are now part of the "Field Days of the Past" exhibit in Goochland County.

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Brock House

Brock House, circa 1930s-1940s; a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists.

History provided by Jean Harper, granddaughter of Royall Ashby Brock

The Brock House was on Broad Street Road between Pemberton and Cox Roads. It is a long gone now, into the jaws of progress, shopping malls and apartments. It was the home of William Henry Brock and Columbia Marshall Brock. They had six children, two daughters: Addie Brock Butler and Beulah Brock Lawrence; and four sons: Royall, Wellie, Leslie and Linwood. Mr. Brock died fairly young and Mrs. Brock married again to a Mr. Brown, but it was not a long marriage and there were no children by thqt marriage. Mrs. Brock continued to live many years in her home even after she was bedridden. She was looked after by her brother, Bill Marshall, and his wife, who lived with her and by her son, Leslie, and his family who lived just east of her.

Brock House, circa 1930s-1940s; a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists.

It is not known how old the house was, but these pictures are believed to have been taken sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's. The house had two very large rooms across a center hall that ran from back door to front. The Marshalls lived in the room on the western end of the house, which had a small kitchen attached. Mrs. Brock lived in the other room on the eastern end of the house, which had a staircase leading down to an English basement. It was said there was once a tavern keep in the basement. The house also had attic bedrooms that were unused and unusable toward the last years of the house.

Date of demolition unknown.

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Bowles Farm

Vintage photo of Bowles Farm, a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists.

Joe and Luttie Bowles had owned this farmhouse, once located on Three Chopt Road, since the early part of the 20th century. Built ca. 1790-1810, the original house was one-story and heated by corner fireplaces feeding into a broad exterior Flemish bond chimney with tiled weatherings. The original structure was extended to the west in the mid-19th century by a one-room addition with an exterior end chimney of random American bond. (Inventory of Early Architecture County of Henrico, Virginia). This property was demolished in 2001.

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Erin Shades

Vintage photo of Erin Shades, a Henrico County, Virginia structure that no longer exists.

This was the home of Courtland J. Nuckols and Hariett A Nuckols.

It was previously located at Broad and Cox Road, what is now the present site of Innsbrook Office Park.

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Nuckols House:

See Nuckols House.

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Springfield Baptist Church:

See Springfield Baptist Church.

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Other Former Structures of Short Pump:

The Nunally Thrift Farm was located at the present location of Sams Discount Club. This dairy farm included one mile of frontage on Broad Sreet. At one time dairy farming was a thriving industry in Henrico County, but today there are no dairy farms still in existence in the County.

Larid's Nursery, formerly on Springfield Road, could also be seen from Broad Street.

In later years, Par 3, a nine hole golf course, was located just west of Gaskins Road that had lighting at night. Further west was Tilly's Kitchen, a dance hall night club, where entertainment could be had and folks could "brown-bag" their liquor before the law changed to allow liquor to be sold by the drink in restaurants.

Ruth Henley (pictured), widow of Raymond (Tom) Henley, and her daughter, who lives next door, will lose their homes to the Englewood development plan.

The Short Pump area continues to grow. The latest expansion calls for the development of one of the last tracts of land left, the Liesfeld Farm.

It will be mixed use of office, retail and residential space and will be called Englewood. This development will erase the last remaining homes of a family that has lived in the Short Pump area for several generations. Ruth Henley, widow of Raymond (Tom) Henley, and her daughter, who lives next door, will lose their homes to this development plan.

Once again the area where Mrs. Henley's father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dabney and Inez Henley, ran the Short Pump General Store will be altered forever. It is quite possible that for the first time what once was Three Chopt Road will not intersect with West Broad Street.

Seasons change and times moves on.

After the section of Interstate 64 that bypassed the Short Pump area opened from 1966 to 1968, the sleepy little village was all but forgotten until the vision that became Innsbrook exploded the area into the commercial center it is today.

Short Pump was once just a place on the map along a road to Charlottesville. It was never an incorporated town; never had a village square; it never had an official Mayor. To the people who lived there it was a place called home and their stories are history now. The story of Short Pump goes on. It's face has changed but it continues to survive and it remains to this day a place on the map along a road to Charlottesville.

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  • (Inventory of Early Architecture County of Henrico)
  • (Jean Harper, granddaughter of Royall Ashby Brock)
  • (HC 18)
  • (HABS No. VA-1345)

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Lost Architecture Sites: Short Pump
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