The Ball-Sellers House is Arlington County, Virginia’s oldest surviving building. Located in the Glencarlyn neighborhood of Arlington, it is dated from records that the home was built in 1742 by farmer John Ball. On June 17th of 1975, it was designated on the Virginia Landmarks Register, and on July 17th of 1975, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the home is owned by the Arlington Historical Society, who keeps it open for historical tours.
Backstory and Context
In 1742, John Ball received a 166-acre plot of land in a grant given to him by William Fairfax. Ball built a log cabin on part of the property he was granted, and when he died in 1766, he specified that the property was to be sold and that the proceeds of it were to be split amongst his family. William Carlin bought the property in 1772, though not much is known about what he did with it. Upon his death, the property was divided amongst his three sons, and the property remained in the Carlin family for generations. In 1885, brother and sister Andrew and Anne Carlin built an addition to the Ball cabin, as well as a dairy farm. They sold the property in 1887, however, and the land was distributed among the community of Glencarlyn.
After being sold off, the Ball-Sellers House served a variety of functions, including being a schoolhouse, another residence, and even a summer home. In 1975, it was given to the Arlington Historical Society by Marian Rhinehart so that it could be preserved and restored. That same year, on June 17th, it was designated on the Virginia Landmarks Register, and on July 17th, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, the Arlington Historical Society has overseen the building’s preservation and maintenance and has used the home for historical tours and education.