Newsletter of the Friends of Chatham

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From Fitzhugh to Faberge

Chatham Chatter

4th Quarter, October - December 2019

Upcoming Events

2nd Plein Air Event

On October 19, 2019, approximately 20 local artists and photographers will spread out on the grounds of Chatham to participate in the second Plein Air event sponsored by Friends of Chatham. 

Artists will create their own special work of art using some aspect of Chatham as their subject. By February 1, 2020, participating artists will be donating one piece of art inspired by this event to Friends of Chatham for use as a fundraiser in May or June.

Come out and see artists at work from 10 am to 4 pm at Chatham on what we hope will be a lovely fall day.

Attention Friends of Chatham:

October is Member Mingle Time!

In the spirit of Octoberfest, this Member Mingle will be a Dutch treat lunchtime gathering at The Alpine Chef.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 22, from 11:30 to 1:30 at:

The Alpine Chef (formerly The Bavarian Chef)

200 Lafayette Blvd


Board members will be on hand with Friends of Chatham updates and, as always, we will have a chance to chat and socialize.

Hope to see you there!

Friends of Chatham invites you to...

“Annie” at Riverside

October 24 @ 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm


Join the Friends of Chatham on Thursday, October 24th, to enjoy the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts production of the musical about America’s favorite little orphan, “Annie.”  Enjoy complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvers at a private reception starting at 5pm, followed by dinner and the show.  Tickets are $80 per person and checks should be mailed to:

Friends of Chatham

c/o Patsy Thompson

PO Box 36

Fredericksburg, VA 22404

Remember to indicate on the check that it’s for “Annie.”  Also, let us know how many are in your party and if there is someone with whom you would like to be seated.  Please note that a gratuity is NOT included in the ticket price.

Christmas at Chatham

December 22 @ 11:00 am - 4:30 pm

Christmas really did not happen at Chatham last year. Not only did the government shutdown close the property to visitors and workers, constant rain made the field a bog that could not be used for parking for the visit from our Civil War Santa. As a result, that popular event had to be cancelled. We are hoping for better weather this December so that Civil War Santa can return to Chatham and entertain children on Sunday, December 22.

For this event, we need several volunteers to carry out specific tasks in two-hour shifts: 11:00 – 1:00, 1:00 – 3:00, 3:00 – 4:30 or whenever clean-up is completed. If you would like to volunteer to help with this project, please let Cathy Walker know via email at Come out and help make Christmas really special for children! It will brighten your Holiday spirit, too!

Dinner at Brock’s Riverside Grill

January 29, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Save this date NOW!

After all the hubbub of the Holidays, we all need to relax and slow down the pace, but we still must eat. So, come and enjoy a relaxing dinner at Brock’s and benefit Friends of Chatham at the same time. A cash bar and a delicious buffet dinner of chicken Marsala, baked fish, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and cake await all attendees. A few raffle items will be available for some lucky winners to take home, too.

Tickets are only $40 per person, so purchase your tickets soon by sending your check, made out to Friends of Chatham, and mail to Friends of Chatham, ATTN: Cathy Walker, P.O. Box 36, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. To pay online for tickets to the event, go to the Upcoming Event page on the website.

President's Message

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our Walk in the Garden Gala. Thank you Patsy, Nancy and the committee members who helped make this event such a success. Also thanks to the Park Service personnel and the garden volunteers who worked so hard to make the gardens and grounds look spectacular. And also thanks to to Patrick A’Hearn who performed for us that evening.

The next few months offer many opportunities to be involved. There are member mingles, dinner theatre events, decorating, fall garden work, and Civil War Santa upcoming. Come out and enjoy getting together with other members of our Friends group.

We had a wonderful group who attended South Pacific at Riverside, another evening at Riverside arranged by Patsy. We will be back at Riverside later in October for Annie.

Special thanks to Beth Stenstrom for all the press coverage that has appeared in the media over the last several weeks. Also I would like to thank Mike Redding for all of the work he does on the newsletter and website.

Enjoy the fall weather we are having. Thank you for your continued support of Friends of Chatham. I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming events which are highlighted in this issue of the newsletter.

Until the next time,


"A Walk in the Garden"

Diana's Homecoming Event was a Success

     Thank you to all who attended "A Walk in the Garden" on September 29th for the official unveiling of Diana at the entrance to the formal gardens.  Diana's official unveiling event was a great success!

     Guests helped welcome Diana home to Chatham Manor after 60 years away at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art after being donated to the VMFA in 1959 by John Lee Pratt, the last private owner of Chatham.

     The VMFA contacted the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in 2018 asking if the NPS would accept the return of Diana as they re-organized their collections. 

     And, with that, the conservation of the statue of Diana was put into motion, as Diana had suffered some damage over the years while being displayed in the elements. Superitendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding contacted Friends of Chatham to expedite the repair and conservation of the work. Friends of Chatham was pleased to help, with funds on hand, thanks to the generous support of our members and donors.

     Russell Bernabo, a noted Object Conservationist, was given task to repair the damage wrought to Diana over the years and the conservation work was completed earlier this year, to Diana's and our wonderful benefit.

     The site preparation, delivery, relocation of Ceres and installation of both Ceres on the riverside pedestal and Diana on the pedestal at the entrance to the garden entrance was accomplished thanks to the efforts of both local maintenance staff of FSNMP and the highly-skilled staff of Bonsai Fine Art Shipping.

     "A Walk in the Garden" celebrated Diana's return. Guests enjoyed a rare performance by noted Broadway performer, Patrick A'Hearn, and musical interludes by the Stafford High School Chamber Sinfonia, and tours of the formal gardens, the Demonstration Garden, created to give homage to Ellen Biddle Shipman, the landcape designer of the formal gardens during the Devores' ownership in the 1920s, and a catered repast by Catering by Dori Farrell.

     Friends of Chatham thanks Patsy Thompson, Director of Fundraising, for chairing the event and the following committee members and volunteers, Patti Wallace, Kerri Barile, Nancy Fahy, Nancy Gasparovic, Barbara Chadwick, Sally Harman, Barbara Backus, Sharon Carmody, and Carol Hyland.

     And Friends of Chatham is grateful for all of the Sponsors of the event:
Sharon Adinolfi
Wiley Aids & Patti Wallace
Atlantic Union Bank
Barbara & Curtis Backus
Anne & Fred Betz
Barbara Chadwick
Dovetail Cultural Resource Group
Nancy Gasparovic
Joan McLaughlin
Rappahannock-Fredericksburg Rotary Club
Stafford County Government's Creative Community Partnership Grant
Patsy & John Thompson

and the In Kind Donations by:

Memorable Moments
Catherine Jennings through Total Wine
Catering by Dori Farrell
Sally Harman, Field Landscape Design
Patrick A'Hearn & Riverside Center for the Performing Arts

From the Garden

The seasons are beginning to change and the Asters in the Chatham garden are beginning to bloom. This is always a beautiful show of color and autumn is a lovely time for a garden stroll. If you have not yet seen the beautifully restored statue of Diana back in her original location at the entrance to the garden, she provides another reason to make a visit to the garden soon.

Gardener Scott Blake and the faithful band of volunteers will be turning to fall tasks. Pansies will soon replace the summer annuals and we await the arrival of the tulip bulbs that will create a show of color next spring. Meanwhile, we begin cleaning up and tucking the garden in for the winter. Additional volunteers are always welcome and the fall is a lovely time to work in the garden. If you would like to lend a hand, just come to the garden any Wednesday. We start at 8:00 AM and work through the morning.

Decking the Halls at Chatham

The holidays are fast approaching and out thoughts are turning to holiday preparations. NPS personnel and representatives from Friends of Chatham will be getting together soon to plan for the holiday season. While we do not have the details in place yet, it will not be long before we will be looking for volunteers to assist with holiday decorating. Once plans are formulated, we will get the word out. Hope that lots of folks will be willing to help.

The 2019/2020 Membership Year Is In Full Swing

We are now three months into the 2019/2020 membership year. If you have not yet renewed your membership, now would be the perfect time. Memberships are available at various levels of support: Individual- $25; Family- $50; Sustaining- $100; Contributing- $250; River Terrace- $500; and Faberge Circle- $1000. Any amount in excess of $25 is tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

It is easy to renew your membership. You can simply send a check to Friends of Chatham, PO Box 36, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. Or you can visit the Friends of Chatham website at and submit your renewal electronically from there. We are planning many interesting and fun events for this new membership year, including Member Mingles, Riverside Theatre outings and events at Chatham. Please lend your support by renewing your membership.

If you have any questions, please email us at and we will get back to you with an answer.


Did you know you can support FoC when you buy bulbs for your garden from Brent and Becky's Bulbs?  Go to  Select Friends of Chatham in the drop down menu, follow the prompts, and start shopping. Twenty-five percent of your purchase will go directly to Friends of  Chatham.

For Sale:  $35 each*
FoC is selling signed and numbered limited edition prints of Chatham Manor by Joseph M. Serino, 18 1/2 in. x 23 3/4 in.   If you are interested in buying a print you can email us at  Prints can also be purchased online from our homepage at
* Includes shipping and handling
Copyright © 2019 Friends of Chatham, All rights reserved.

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