CHARLESTOWN, W Va. - West Virginia has a long list of historical sights, but one location in Charles Town is the first to be put on the official list of National Treasures.
The home of George Washington’s brother, Charles Washington, just became a National Treasure.
The estate and property is called Happy Estate.
Every fireplace, floorboard, and staircase is original, from when the house was built in 1730.
Since then, there has been a long list of residents.
However, for the past 10 years, the Friends of Happy Retreat fought to own the property so they could renovate it and open it to the public.
Charles Washington and his family were the first to live in the house.
While residing there, Charles developed the town.
He even named it after himself and named every single street after his family.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation added Happy Retreat to the growing list of National Treasures on June 18th.
“It’s among the 75 across the nation,” Mayor Peggy Smith of Charles Town says, “The first for the state of West Virginia, so we’re extremely proud of that.”
Walter Washington resides in Charles Town and is a 6th generation nephew of Charles Washington.
Currently, he’s the president of Friends of Happy Retreat, a non-profit organization.
“Friends of Happy Treat was organized in 2006,” Walter Washington says, “To acquire and preserve Happy Retreat and so we worked for 10 years to be able to acquire the property.”
The house and property are currently being renovated and starting in September, Happy Retreat will host events.
“This is a huge honor for us and it’s really a call to action for the people of this community to help us with our plans going forward,” Washington says, “to become involved with our planning and then to actually help us implement the plan.”
Robert Niewig, Senior Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says Charles Town is the only region in the country with a “wealth of Washington family homes”, and Happy Retreat is the crown jewel of them all.
The National Trust of Historic Preservation will be working together with the Friends of Happy Retreat to bring visitors what they call, a first class public experience at the property.