CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Five years ago the nonprofit Friends of Happy Retreat organized to find a way to buy the home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and kid brother to the first president, and turn the estate into a community asset.
On Thursday, the Jefferson County Commissioners voted to join the cities of Charles Town and Ranson in an effort to come up with ways to buy, restore, develop and operate the 18th century home at Mordington Avenue and Blakely Place.
The Friends were encouraged last summer when the selling price for the property dropped from $2.5 million to a more reachable $1.2 million.
The home has changed hands multiple times over the centuries and is one of six Washington family homes in Jefferson County still in use, said Randy Hilton, a member of the Friends board of directors.
Hilton and fellow member John Hough told the commissioners Thursday that the board's option to buy 6,000-square-foot home and the 12 acres it sits on expires Feb. 28.