Ball-Sellers House


Date: Built c.1760

Historic Designation:

Current Use of Property: The log section and lean-to serve as a museum. The Arlington Historical Society renovated the Victorian-era portion as a residence.

The Ball-Sellers House in the Glencarlyn neighborhood is likely Arlington’s oldest house. The rare original clapboard roof is visible in the loft of the museum. The house is associated with two of the original families of Arlington.

The property was included in a grant by Lord William Fairfax to John Ball, who received 166 acres of land on Four Mile Run in 1742. Ball is believed to have built the original log house and its frame lean-to addition. When he died in 1766, he directed that his property be sold and that the proceeds be divided among his wife Elizabeth and his five daughters. In 1772, William Carlin purchased the farm for 100 pounds. However, Elizabeth Ball elected to take her widow’s dower rather than accept her husband’s will and so may have lived in the house until her death around 1792.

In his will, William Carlin directed that the property be sold in lots small enough for persons with little money to purchase them. This proved improbable, and instead, it was divided into three lots and sold to each of Carlin’s three sons. James Harvey Carlin bought the 94-acre Mansion House Tract for $874 in 1835. Following James Carlin’s death, the property was operated as a dairy farm by his son Andrew and daughter Ann. William W. Curtis and Samuel F. Burdett bought the farm in 1887 and developed it as a subdivision for “all men and women of moderate means or who receive stated salaries.” That subdivision was named Glencarlyn in 1896.

Architectural Features

The Ball-Sellers House includes a two-story frame structure and a one-story log structure that is probably the original house and dates from the mid to late 18th century.

Soon after the log house was built, a frame lean-to was added. The loft is the most notable feature of the house as it contains the clapboard roof. A hole in the southeast corner of the main room provides access to the loft. In the yard are a well and a small log barn.

More Information


5620 S. Third St., Arlington, VA 22204  View Map

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