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NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | September 18, 2011
Actor Richard Dreyfuss was in Jefferson County last week promoting his purchase of a local Washington family home for The Dreyfuss Initiative, his new progressive think tank. The Oscar-winning actor laid it on the line Saturday afternoon before 150 supporters and the just-plain curious on the front lawn of Happy Retreat, the 18th-century home of George Washington's youngest brother, Charles. “I need one million bucks from you,” Dreyfuss told the crowd. “This place can be known as the intellectual capital of the country, and if we don't get it, you won't have it.” A brochure promoting Saturday's event implied that his foundation already owns the 7,000-square-foot home by inviting people to a dedication and ribbon cutting.
NEWS
March 23, 2009
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Valley Homes and Style Magazine and the Holiday Inn Express are sponsoring an event in the Eastern Panhandle to benefit the Friends of Happy Retreat. On Sunday, April 5, from 2 to 5 p.m., the public is invited to A Spring Fling in the Great Room at the Holiday Inn Express, 681 Flowing Springs Road, Ranson, W.Va. The April 5 date is a change from the date that was published in the winter edition of The Rising Sun, the newsletter of Friends of Happy Retreat.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | April 18, 2006
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The effort to purchase the historic Happy Retreat home for public use is gaining momentum. The Friends of Happy Retreat Inc., an organization which has been set up to purchase, restore and operate the home, has received its nonprofit status from the state and will meet today to elect its officers, the chairman of the organization, Mark Reinhart, said Monday. Walter Washington, a local attorney who has been helping the group get organized, said he expects the organization to elect a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during a meeting at the Charles Town Visitors Center on North George Street at 7 p.m. Happy Retreat was the home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother of George Washington.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | September 22, 2006
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.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | January 23, 2006
CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. charlestown@herald-mail.com Happy Retreat, the home of Charles Washington which the city is considering acquiring, could be worth about $2.5 million and some people are concerned about the city's ability to purchase and maintain the property, Mayor Peggy Smith said Sunday. Three years ago, city officials said the asking price for the property could be about $1.25 million. But just like property everywhere else in the Eastern Panhandle, the value of the home could have doubled, Smith said.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | November 18, 2003
charlestown@herald-mail.com CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The asking price for Happy Retreat, a historic home that the city of Charles Town hopes to purchase, could be around $1.25 million, Charles Town Council member Matt Ward said Monday night. To help pay for the purchase, Ward said the city will apply for $750,000 in state transportation funds. The money, which can be used to purchase historic properties, would come from the Transportation Enhancement Program, Ward said.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | January 31, 2006
charlestown@herald-mail.com CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Saying it's the "best thing to do for Jefferson County" and that it's a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," about 25 people who turned out Monday night for a public hearing at Charles Town City Hall gave overwhelming support for preserving the historic Happy Retreat home. Local historic officials said they believe funding sources at the state and national level might be available to help purchase the stately home of Charles Washington - the founder of Charles Town - and others said Gov. Joe Manchin's staff and other politicians should be brought into the process.
NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | February 17, 2011
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.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | August 4, 2006
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commission members agreed Thursday to give $15,000 toward the effort to purchase the historic Happy Retreat home if the City of Charles Town contributes the same amount. The Friends of Happy Retreat has formed to purchase the home of Charles Washington, the brother of George Washington and founder of Charles Town, and make it available for public use. Although the asking price is $2.5 million, the group wants to initially raise $100,000 to set up an office for its operations, get consulting work started for the purchase attempt and pay for other expenses, Curt Mason, president of the group, told commission members Thursday.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | October 14, 2012
Once, twice, sometimes three times a day, 1,100 people in the Eastern Panhandle and beyond check their emails and find one from cmasonwhf@aol.com . The owner of that address is Curt Mason, a retired federal government oceanographer from Summit Point. Mason, 72, spends 10 hours a week or more sending announcements to those on his extensive and constantly growing email list about upcoming events in the Eastern Panhandle, Washington County and the Winchester, Va., area. A fundraiser, public dinner, theatrical event, speaking engagement, lecture, cultural or musical program, book signing, poetry reading - any kind of honest public event - can make Mason's email list.
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NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | September 18, 2011
Actor Richard Dreyfuss was in Jefferson County last week promoting his purchase of a local Washington family home for The Dreyfuss Initiative, his new progressive think tank. The Oscar-winning actor laid it on the line Saturday afternoon before 150 supporters and the just-plain curious on the front lawn of Happy Retreat, the 18th-century home of George Washington's youngest brother, Charles. “I need one million bucks from you,” Dreyfuss told the crowd. “This place can be known as the intellectual capital of the country, and if we don't get it, you won't have it.” A brochure promoting Saturday's event implied that his foundation already owns the 7,000-square-foot home by inviting people to a dedication and ribbon cutting.
NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | September 16, 2011
In something of a reprise of his popular film, "Mr. Holland's Opus," Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss sat in high school auditoriums Friday and lectured seniors on the subject of civics and the need to learn it.  "Only about 4 percent of the students are being taught civics in the country today," he said.  Dreyfuss, 64, spoke first to Washington High School students then headed to Jefferson High School to meet with students there.  The actor is in Jefferson County this week to dedicate Happy Retreat, the former home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and George Washington's youngest brother.
NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | September 12, 2011
Oscar-winning Actor Richard Dreyfuss, a Washington family history buff, will be on hand this weekend for Charles Town's three-day Heritage Festival. On Friday morning, Dreyfuss will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Charles Washington, President George Washington's younger brother, who in 1786 petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for permission to incorporate a town, which he named after himself. Charles Washington spread the family name across his newly created town by naming streets after himself and his brothers George, Samuel and Lawrence, and Samuel's wife, Mildred.
NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | February 17, 2011
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.
NEWS
By TRISH RUDDER | September 19, 2009
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- More than 1,000 people came out Saturday to celebrate the fourth annual Charles Town Heritage Day Festival. This year marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and the 125th anniversary of Charles Town's two fire companies, said Bob O'Connor, chairman of the festival committee. "The festival is tied together with the history of Charles Town," O'Connor said. Craft vendors were selling their wares on Washington and George streets, and the Independent and Citizens fire companies were showing off fire equipment, including an 1872 steam pumper from New York state that the Independent Fire Co. purchased in 1885.
NEWS
March 23, 2009
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Valley Homes and Style Magazine and the Holiday Inn Express are sponsoring an event in the Eastern Panhandle to benefit the Friends of Happy Retreat. On Sunday, April 5, from 2 to 5 p.m., the public is invited to A Spring Fling in the Great Room at the Holiday Inn Express, 681 Flowing Springs Road, Ranson, W.Va. The April 5 date is a change from the date that was published in the winter edition of The Rising Sun, the newsletter of Friends of Happy Retreat.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | September 23, 2007
CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - A drum provided the beat for Saturday's Heritage Day festival in Charles Town. Children who stopped at the Cherokee Indian booth were invited to pound, pound away. Each boom resonated on a sunny day as a light crowd milled about a closed-off block in the city's downtown. "The drum is our heartbeat," said Mario Shelby of Inwood, W.Va., who also goes by the name Eyes of Hawk. "To the Indian people, the drum represents life itself. " Shelby and Robert Andrews, who is known as Iron Kettle, of Gaithersburg, Md., greeted people at a table for the Southern Band of the Cherokees.
NEWS
by PEPPER BALLARD | September 24, 2006
CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Amateur historian Tom Weaver sat at the buckle-shoed feet of a founding father Saturday, handling dirty relics on the steps of the Happy Retreat mansion and asking a stately George Washington impersonator to give them meaning. Weaver found the shell casings, kitchen artifacts, shoe buckles and colonial buttons on the grounds of Happy Retreat, home to George Washington's youngest brother, Charles, the founder of Charles Town. Locals and visitors alike on Saturday celebrated Charles Town's history as part of the town's annual Heritage Festival.
NEWS
by DAVE McMILLION | September 22, 2006
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.
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