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Festival will include Happy Retreat tours

September 22, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - People coming to town this weekend for the Charles Town Heritage Festival will get to see the grave of the man who put Charles Town on the map.

Charles Washington, brother of George Washington, founded Charles Town and lived in the Happy Retreat mansion along Mordington Avenue.

The original Happy Retreat tract extended from the back of the home, and surrounded the spot where Washington is buried off Augustine Avenue, said Walter Washington of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

The grave eventually was separated from the Happy Retreat tract, and most recently was included in property that is part of the current Craighill Estates subdivision developed by the Arcadia Building Co., officials said.

Arcadia Building Co. agreed to donate 23 acres, which includes the site of the grave, to the City of Charles Town, Mayor Peggy Smith said.

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Arcadia officials also agreed to erect a stone wall around Washington's grave, put a wrought iron gate at the entrance to the plot, landscape around the site and build a paved walkway to the grave, Washington said.

"Arcadia has done a magnificent job," Smith said.

Washington's grave is marked by a small headstone with the initials "C.W." inscribed on its face. The headstone later was cradled in a rectangular stone monument that has existed for years.

On Saturday and Sunday during the festival, people may take a shuttle to Happy Retreat, Washington's grave and the Huntfield development, where there is a museum relating to Washington family history, Smith said.

The shuttle service periodically will leave from City Hall at George and Washington streets, Smith said.

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