Carlin Community Hall


Date: Built 1892

Historic Designation:

Current Use of Property: Community meeting hall

During its early years, Carlin Hall was the most important building in Glencarlyn — Arlington’s first planned suburban subdivision. From the time it was completed in 1892, the new hall quickly became a popular community gathering place. It was the meeting place for the newly formed civic association and the Episcopal Church congregation, as well as a venue for dances, plays, holiday festivities and a variety of other community social events.

The Glencarlyn neighborhood, called Carlin Springs until 1896, was the vision of William Wallace Curtis and Samuel Swinfin Burdett. In 1887, the two purchased 134 acres to subdivide into 360 lots to be sold at $100 per lot. The first deed was sold in 1888 and by 1890, 14 new houses had been constructed. The hall was originally named Curtis Hall in honor of William W. Curtis. In 1892, the Carlin Hall Association was chartered as a stock corporation. The Hall was used for Episcopal church services from 1892 until 1910, and served as an elementary school from the early 1920s until 1950.

Architectural Features

Carlin Hall is a one-story late Victorian cross-plan community hall. Twin entrances flank a set of five double-hung sash windows. It features a wooden cornice that extends fully around the building and a gable roof with a four-sided wooden cupola. The meeting hall occupies the center of the building. There is an entryway, a second room, bathrooms and a shed-roofed kitchen addition, built sometime before the early 1920s. Behind the building are a playground and a wooden storage shed.

A furnace was installed in 1928, modern plumbing and a septic tank were added in 1931 and other minor improvements were made in 1953. Following a fire in 1961, the original standing seam metal roof and some of the rafters were replaced. A metal roof was installed in 1988 as part of an exterior rehabilitation of the building. Carlin Hall underwent a complete interior and exterior renovation and restoration in 2012. Historically accurate windows were installed, the roof was replaced as part of the reconstruction of the entire roof framing system, the cupola was restored, new wood siding was installed, the foundation and framing were reinforced,  and new covered entrance porticos were designed and constructed as part of the project.

Significant People

Samuel Swinfin Burdett

Samuel Swinfin Burdett was one of two original owners of the Glencarlyn subdivision. He built a home for himself in Glencarlyn and lived there with his wife until his death in 1914. Born in England, he emigrated to the United States at age 12, settling in Ohio. He studied law at Oberlin College and in 1861 he joined the First Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, achieving the rank of captain. From 1869 to 1873, he served as a Republican Representative to Congress from Missouri. In 1874 President Grant appointed him Commissioner of the General Land Office, a position he held until 1878, when he and Curtis opened a Washington law office. In 1885 and 1886 he was elected commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.

William Wallace Curtis

William Wallace Curtis was one of the original owners of the Glencarlyn subdivision. The hall was originally named Curtis Hall after him. He died in September 1888, just as the new venture was getting off the ground.

Theodore Bailey

Theodore Bailey was the local carpenter credited with the integrity of Carlin Hall’s late Victorian vernacular design, proportions, use of materials and detailing.

More Information


5711 Fourth St. S., Arlington, VA 22204  View Map

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