David Chapple grew up in Philadelphia and attended Penn Charter, a Quaker school. While there he got a national first place in sculpture. He attended Hobart College in western New York, and after dropping out for a stint in the Marine Corps, returned to graduate in 1969 with a degree in European history. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he participated in the anti-Vietnam war movement. In 1973, David moved to Palo Alto, where he initially built a little house on the land now known as Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, at the top of Page Mill Rd. He shared the 800 acres (which at the time were privately owned) with 50 friends. David later moved off that land and built another house. He subsequently learned the electrical trade and worked as a licensed contractor for 30 years. He has been a resident of Stevenson House for 10 years.