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Date(s) - 06/12/2021
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Ball Sellers House


The Arlington Historical Society is pleased to announce that the oldest house in Arlington, the Ball-Sellers House, is reopening for the 2021 season! We are open every Saturday from 1-4 pm until the end of October. Knowledgeable docents provide free guided tours to all ages.

In 1742 John Ball acquired land from Lord Fairfax and built a one room log house with a loft in what is now Arlington.  Later he added a lean to and covered the structure with clapboard. Amazingly, this cabin survives today.

He felled trees and hewed logs, notching them and chinking the cracks with mud daubing. Visitors can see the original logs with the daubing, as well as the wide plank floors. The oak clapboard roof is among only a handful of such roofs in the nation.

John, his wife Elizabeth, and their five daughters lived in this little house. An inventory of Ball’s estate shows they lived a simple life, farming, raising wheat and corn, and kept sheep , cows, pigs, and bees. Ball also had a mill on Four Mile Run and made corn whiskey.

When John Ball died in 1766, William Carlin, an Alexandria tailor who included George Washington and George Mason among his clients, bought the house. Three generations of the Carlin family owned the property for more than 100 years. The third generation, brother and sister Andrew and Anne, ran a dairy farm and built the 1880 house that adjoins the Ball cabin.

When the Carlins sold the property in 1887, the land was subdivided into a community known today as Glencarlyn. The house survived and was used as a school, a summer cottage, and a home.

The last owner, Marian Sellers, gave the house to the Arlington Historical Society in 1975 to preserve it and to share it with the public. Today the Ball Sellers House is on the National Register of Historic Places in America and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Few small farm houses survive and visitors can experience how people really lived and worked in Virginia during the colonial era and beyond.

See more about the house on the HS website: Ball-Sellers House – Arlington Historical Society