Glebe House


Date: Built 1854-1857

Historic Designation:

The Glebe is a picturesque home with a distinctive octagonal wing owned by noted lawyer and diplomat Caleb Cushing between 1870 and 1878. It was built on the Glebe of Fairfax Parish lands, which were set aside during colonial times for the Anglican Church. Following the Civil War, Cushing purchased The Glebe in Arlington and turned to practicing law and diplomacy in Washington, D.C.

He was active as chairman of the commission to revise and codify the Statues of the United States, and as minister to Columbia, negotiating the right of way for the ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama. His greatest contribution at the time was leading the movement for the Treaty of Washington, which established in 1871 a Tribunal of Arbitration for settling claims against Great Britain arising from its participation with the Confederacy in the Civil War. Cushing won $15.5 million in reparations for the United States. In 1873, Cushing was appointed minister to Spain, where he became one of the most beloved of U.S. diplomats.

A conservation easement was established over the house and grounds in 2005.

Architectural Features

With a few minor exceptions, The Glebe appears as it did when it was occupied by Cushing. The house is set in a spacious yard planted with large shade trees, magnolias and ornamental shrubbery. A boxwood-lined path leads from the street to the front door.

The oldest part of the house is a 32-by-28 foot brick cottage believed to be built on the site of the original Fairfax Parish Glebe House that burned in 1808. The cottage has been added to twice, most importantly an addition in the 1850s of a two-story octagonal wing crowned by a cupola with scalloped eaves. Atop the cupola is a teakwood eagle, a gift from “the people of Spain” to Caleb Cushing.

More Information


4527 N. 17th St., Arlington, VA   View Map

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