• Friends of Happy Retreat Friends of Happy Retreat


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Mission Statement

Our mission is to acquire, preserve and promote Happy Retreat as a national resource for public enjoyment and education. Detailed elements of our mission include: • Acquiring-- by purchase, gift or otherwise--the title to, or the custody and control of, the historic property known as Happy Retreat, the home of Charles Washington, Founder of Charles Town, WV. • Operating, maintaining, and preserving Happy Retreat for the benefit of the public, including developing and supporting programs in the arts and humanities. • Collecting, preserving, and displaying, records, relics and other resources of historic interest relating to Happy Retreat, Charles Washington and the Washington family, Charles Town, Jefferson County and the surrounding area; • Promoting research and providing education about the history of Happy Retreat as well as the cultural and artistic history of the lower Shenandoah Valley and adjacent lands • Providing interpretative programs for heritage travelers on the history of Happy Retreat, the Washington family, and Charles Town and surrounding areas.


Happy Retreat is the ancestral home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town, West Virginia and President George Washington's youngest brother. Located on the edge of historic Charles Town, the property includes the 18th Century mansion, a stone and brick kitchen/storehouse, anold octagonal wooden school house and 12 acres of woods and lawns. Being located in the rapidly growing Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia - just 55 miles Northwest of Washington D.C. - the property is ripe for development. Its current owners, Mr. and Mrs. William Gavin, are selling the historic estate and would prefer that the Happy Retreat property be preserved in its entirety for the enjoyment of future generations. Recognizing the threat to this historic property, a group of local preservation-minded citizens has formed the Friends of Happy Retreat, Inc. (FOHR), a non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring, preserving and utilizing the property for public benefit. A purchase option for $2.5M has been signed by the current owners and the organization which only gives FOHR until March 1, 2008 to raise the funds necessary to acquire the property.



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