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Happy Retreat, the stately Federal/ Greek Revival style home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother of our first President, stands on a hill overlooking Charles Town, surrounded by 12 acres of sloping lawns and woods. The non-profit Friends of Happy Retreat (FOHR) is partnering with the City of Charles Town to acquire, restore and preserve Happy Retreat for public use. Under this innovative partnership arrangement, the City will buy ten acres of the Happy Retreat property to incorporate into a grand park that will extend throughout the west end of Charles Town along scenic Evitts Run. FOHR will buy the Happy Retreat mansion and surrounding two acres of land. FOHR will restore the house and its 18th Century outbuildings to use as a center for history, heritage tourism, scholarship and culture.


The Friends of Happy Retreat
cordially invite you to attend

The Fall Gala
presenting Solos & Ensembles by
The Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra
On Sunday, the thirteenth of September
two thousand fifteen

At five o’clock in the evening

Claymont Mansion
577 Claymont Mansion
Drive Charles Town, West Virginia

Business Casual Attire

Friends of Happy Retreat
PO Box 1427
Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

Click here to RSVP

Claymont is the most elaborate of the Washington plantation homes built in Jefferson County, West Virginia (then Virginia). It was built in 1820 by Bushrod Corbin Washington, grandson of George Washington’s younger brother John Augustine Washington. The house destroyed by fire in 1838 was rebuilt by Bushrod Corbin Washington in 1840 using the original walls and is the Georgian style brick Mansion that stands today. Claymont is owned by the Claymont Society for Continuous Education a non-profit educational organization.

Attendance is limited for this event. Individual tickets are $75.00 each. All tickets will be sold on a first come first serve basis. Attendance is limited to 125. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served from five to six o’clock followed by a dinner buffet at six o’clock with music by the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra. Commencing at seven o’clock until eight o’clock The Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra will present Solos & Ensembles in the Claymont Ballroom.

Proceeds from this event will benefit Friends of Happy Retreat in its effort to renovate Happy Retreat, the 1780 home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother of George and Samuel Washington.

Learn more about the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra at http://www.cwsymph.com.


California Couple With Local Ties Helps Secure Happy Retreat's Future

Friends of Happy Retreat Have Announced That Dr. Taylor Fithian and his Wife Margie are Making A Major Donation To Insure the Acquisition of Charles Washington's Happy Retreat (Click here for details).

Click Here to Read the Press Release




We have an opportunity in 2015 to acquire this threatened property and restore it for the envisioned use. We must raise $425,000 by June 30, 2015, and we seek to raise a total of $2.2 million overall in 2015. We are pleased that the City of Charles Town and private donors, large and small, have already contributed toward these goals. Please join in to help us achieve the vision for historic Happy Retreat! All contributions are tax deductible, and the Friends of Happy Retreat are ready to offer meaningful benefits for significant donations.

For the past eight years, Friends of Happy Retreat has been working to preserve this historic property. I am grateful to many supporters for their continuing support of our effort over the years. We now have an exciting opportunity to realize our goal.

In December, 2014 we worked out a partnership agreement with the City of Charles Town which finally makes the acquisition achievable. The City has agreed to purchase 10 acres of the Happy Retreat property for $350,000, to become part of its park system. Friends of Happy Retreat will purchase the house, historic outbuildings and the remaining 2 acres of land surrounding the house. We have until the end of June to raise the $425,000 we still need to close the purchase.

Charles Washington's home will then become a center for culture and history for Charles Town and a heritage tourism destination for the more than 1.5 million people who visit our eastern panhandle of West Virginia region every year.

We are excited to announce that Dr. Wallace E. Boston, CEO of the American Public University System (APUS) - one of the country's largest and best online universities, which is headquartered in Charles Town - has agreed to lead our fundraising campaign and APUS has given a $150,000 lead gift and challenge pledge to be apportioned among acquisition, restoration and ongoing operations of Happy Retreat. (Click here for details) We are also working closely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Our overall goal is to raise $2.2 million dollars to cover not only the cost of acquisition, but also the estimated $1.6 million cost of restoration and $150,000 toward initial 3 years of operation and maintenance.

We are actively seeking contributions and pledges toward our overall $2.2 million goal, but most importantly the critical and time-sensitive goal to raise $425,000 by June 30 to complete acquisition of the Happy Retreat estate. We seek to continue our work for larger donations now, and are also excited about our “Piece of History” campaign, under which a donor can provide a gift of $5,000, which represents 1% of our short-term goal. (Click here for details)

If you are interested in supporting this effort please go to the Donate Now Button to review options and forms by which to donate. If you would like to contact me personally to discuss donation options you can email me at swwash@comcast.net or call me directly at 304-725-8832.


Walter Washington
Friends of Happy Retreat

Click here for details on pledges and donations.