For a true glimpse into how many early Virginians built their homes and lived in Colonial times, visit the Ball-Sellers House at 5620 Third Street South in the Glencarlyn neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia
In the mid 18th century, farmer John Ball built a one-room log cabin. Later he added a lean-to and covered the structure with clapboard. Amazingly, this primitive cabin survives today. The house is a rare example of the dwelling of the ordinary person during the 1700s. It is the oldest house in Arlington. Visitors today can see the original logs with mud daubing as well as the original wide plank floors. The rare oak clapboard roof is among only a few such roofs preserved 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 in the sparsely furnished dwelling.
After John Ball’s death in 1766, William Carlin, an Alexandria tailor who included George Washington and George Mason among his clients, purchased the house. Three generations of the Carlin family owned the property for more than 100 years. The third ran a dairy farm and built the 1880s 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 oldest subdivision in Arlington. The house survived and was used as a school, a summer cottage, and a home. The last owner, Marian Rhinehart Sellers, gave the house to the Arlington Historical Society in 1975 so that it might be preserved and open to the public.
Owned by the Arlington Historical Society, the Ball-Sellers House is on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in America.
Open Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., April through October. The cabin may also be visited by appointment by calling 703-942-9247 or 703-698-5714. There is no admission fee, but donations are greatly appreciated.
The Ball-Sellers House in Arlington, Virginia, is a short distance from Washington, D.C.
From Washington, D.C., take Route 50 West to Carlin Springs Road exit. Go south on Carlin Springs Road for three blocks. Turn left on Third Street South to 5620.
From I-66, take Glebe Road South to Route 50 West to Carlin Springs Road exit. Go south on Carlin Springs Road for three blocks. Turn left on Third Street South to 5620.
From I-395, take Washington Boulevard to Route 50 West to Carlin Springs Road exit. Go south on Carlin Springs Road for three blocks. Turn left on Third Street South to 5620.
From the Capitol Beltway (I-495), take Route 50 East to Carlin Springs Road exit. Go south on Carlin Springs Road for three blocks. Turn left on Third Street South to 5620.
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