Newsletter of the Friends of Chatham

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From Fitzhugh to Faberge

Chatham Chatter

2nd Quarter, April - June 2019

Upcoming Events

Annual Membership Meeting

Thursday, June 6 @ 4:30 pm

Friends of Chatham Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 6 at Chatham Manor.  The mansion will be open for members beginning at 4:30, with access to areas that are not open to the public.  The formal meeting will begin at 5:30pm.  Refreshments will be served, and you will have the opportunity to renew your membership for the 2019/2020 year.
Hope to see you there!
WHAT:   Music on the Steps at Chatham
WHERE:   Riverside lawn of Chatham, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, 22405
WHEN:  Sunday, April 28th, 2019 & Sunday, June 2nd, 2019
TIME:  2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
COST:  Friends of Chatham is providing these concerts at no cost to the audience by using funds from a Stafford County Creative Communities grant.
CONTACT:  Catherine K. Walker at for questions.
Chatham Manor was once a place of wealth, cultural interests, and artistic endeavors. Residents often hosted visitors for weeks at a time and music was one of the main entertainments provided for guests.  On Sunday, April 28th, music will ring out once again from the grounds of Chatham Manor when the Stafford High School Strings Orchestra and the Colonial Forge High School Jazz Band perform at historic Chatham. Both musical groups will offer a program of classic and popular tunes that are sure to please the audience.  This event is free and open to all and will take place on the riverside lawn of Chatham, overlooking the Rappahannock and the City of Fredericksburg.  
For seating, all audience members should bring their own chairs or blankets.  The Strings Orchestra will begin promptly at 2:00pm and will deliver a 50 to 55-minute program.  A brief intermission will permit the groups to change places and set up for the Jazz band who will also play for approximately 50-55 minutes.  Friends of Chatham is delighted to provide a venue for Stafford County High School students to showcase their musical talents.
If you have not visited Chatham before, come early on April 28th to learn about this wonderful, historic jewel in Stafford County.  The public is always invited to tour the Chatham Manor house or stroll the lovely gardens at Chatham free of charge. The house and grounds are open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. 
This concert is one of two being provided to the public by Friends of Chatham.   A second concert featuring the Quantico Marine Corps Band is scheduled for Sunday, June 2nd, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.
So, bring your chair and sunglasses to Chatham Manor for two enjoyable, musical afternoons! 


President's Message
Well, maybe, spring is here? The Gardens at Chatham look like spring.  Many thanks to our intrepid volunteers who have braved the elements to keep the beds looking beautiful.
As always, I have thank-you's. Thank you Cathy Walker for organizing the dinner at Brock's.  It was a delightful evening despite the dismal weather.  Also thank you to the Board members who provided the great gift baskets.  Thank you Patsy Thompson for organizing another wonderful evening at Riverside.  Thank you Carol Hyland for organizing the pre-St. Patrick's Day dinner at Colonial Tavern.  It was, as always, a fun evening.  Thanks to Nancy Fahy who continues to shepherd the Diana project on to completion. 
Your board is busy planning many events for the next several months.  Look for information about Chatham's Music on the Steps, the Annual Meeting, Riverside events, a plein air event, the fall gala and Diana's home coming party.
Thank  you for your continued support of Friends of Chatham.

Until the next time,

Diana Sculpture to Return to Chatham Manor
Members of the Board of Directors and committee members of Friends of Chatham travelled to Russell Bernabo's studio in January to check on the progress of the restoration of the statue of Diana. The terracotta sculpture had been donated by John Lee Pratt, the last private owner of Chatham, to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond in 1959. The statue had been displayed outside at VMFA at one time, but had been placed in storage for many years at the museum. VMFA contacted the National Park Service last year offering to return the statue to Chatham, and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, headquartered at Chatham Manor, gratefully accepted.
Unfortunately, the late 19th century statue had suffered damage over the years requiring significant attention before she can again be subjected to the elements. Superintendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park contacted Friends of Chatham and requested financial assistance with the restoration, which the Friends group provided.
Russell Bernabo, a noted conservator of fine objects, has contracted with Friends of Chatham to provide comprehensive conservation to Diana including structural stabilization, compensation for losses, and other treatments in preparation for her return to Chatham. Diana's return is now anticipated to occur in Fall 2019, after site preparation at the entrance to the formal gardens is completed by the National Park Service.
Mr. Bernabo shared “Most of the damage to the sculpture is localized to a few vulnerable areas that have broken and re-broken several times over the decades. Considering the fragility of the materials and history of outdoor exhibition, Diana survives in overall good condition and after conservation can be maintained by the Park Service preservation team at Chatham.”
The representatives of Friends of Chatham were delighted to see the progress made in restoring Diana to her original condition and look forward to celebrating her return to Chatham.
From the Garden

It has been a busy first quarter of 2019 in the Chatham gardens. On the Wednesdays that were not snow covered or bone-chilling cold, the volunteers gathered to complete delayed garden tasks. Garden cleanup and lots of mulching now completed, we welcome the annual display of daffodils. A number of daffodil varieties contribute blooms in shades ranging from almost white to golden yellow and reflect the cheerfulness created by the spring sun. Soon the daffodils will be joined by tulips and other spring flowers to create one of the most beautiful times of the year in the garden.

Meanwhile, planning for summer is underway. NPS will once again be funding the summer annuals, which will be procured for the last time from Roxbury Mill Garden Center before that Fredericksburg institution closes its doors. Like other local gardeners, we will miss Roxbury’s friendly and helpful service.

The Demonstration Garden will also see some additions in the coming months. Sally Harman, Rappahannock Valley Garden Club member and creator of the Demonstration Garden design, graciously reviewed our progress thus far and made suggestions for this year’s additions to the beds. Work is underway to procure the plants and install them, as we look forward to seeing how much the little garden has matured.

Spring is a great time to visit the gardens. If the nicer weather has you longing to dig in the dirt, consider joining the Wednesday morning volunteer crew for some exercise and comradery in a beautiful setting. For more information about volunteering, contact Carol Hyland at or email and put Garden in the subject line. Hope to see you in the garden.

Is Your Membership Current?

If you have not yet renewed your membership for the 2018-2019 year, we have good news. It is Bonus Time! Since we are in the last quarter of the membership year, you can renew now and get your membership for the rest of this year (which gives you a vote at the Annual Meeting scheduled for June 6) and your new membership will cover 2019-2020 as well. So you will be all set through June 30, 2020. Friends of Chatham will be involved in a number of important projects in the coming year, and we will have some fun activities and Member Mingles. Please renew your membership and be part of the good work and fun.

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.

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

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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