Ball-Sellers House

Ball-Sellers House The Ball-Sellers House (c.1742), built by John Ball, is the oldest house in Arlington County, VA

07/22/2019

Volunteers catalogued 36 Field Site (FS) artifact containers this weekend. That's 20% of them BUT as our archaeologist reminds us, the deeper we went into the archaeological site, the more artifacts we found. We're having fun remembering when we pulled some of the cooler artifacts out of the ground and we're happy to have new volunteers pick up the gauntlet of documenting our treasures. More next Saturday! Want to help? email us: [email protected]

The Ball-Sellers House will not be open this Saturday afternoon July 20 (1-4 pm). It's going to be 100+ degrees and beca...
07/17/2019

The Ball-Sellers House will not be open this Saturday afternoon July 20 (1-4 pm). It's going to be 100+ degrees and because we are a colonial era house, we have no electricity or air conditioning. Check back for next weekend. If you want a special tour for your group, please email us at: [email protected]

Arlington Historical Society
07/17/2019

Arlington Historical Society

On this day in Arlington history: July 17, 1975, the Ball-Sellers House is named to the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1740s by John Ball, its last private owner Marian Rhinehart Sellers donated the house to the Arlington Historical Society with the agreement that it be preserved and open to the public free of charge. Today you can visit the house free of charge every Saturday (April through October) from 1-4 pm. A docent-led tour offers you a look at how colonial farmers really lived and a history of Arlington through the experiences of the people who lived there.
(Image: Marian Sellers (left) talks with Donald Orth, President of the Arlington Historical Society (2nd from left) and county board members at the ceremony presenting AHS with the keys to the house in 1975.)

Interested in documenting the archaeological artifacts unearthed in the Ball-Sellers House archaeological dig? We are st...
07/17/2019

Interested in documenting the archaeological artifacts unearthed in the Ball-Sellers House archaeological dig? We are starting the final phase of documenting what we found. If you'd like to help out e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] to learn more. NO experience necessary.

07/09/2019

The Ball-Sellers House is fine. Our caretaker, Margaret, reports that the sump pump was working hard and kept the basement of the original 1740s house from flooding. The doors blew open in both sheds and rain got it. a lot of mulch washed away. But the house remains sound.

Mr. Grass says even though it is heckin hot outside, we are still open until 4pm, and you should come visit us.
06/29/2019

Mr. Grass says even though it is heckin hot outside, we are still open until 4pm, and you should come visit us.

Arlington Historical Society
06/26/2019

Arlington Historical Society

On this day in Arlington history, June 26, 1791: While surveying northern Virginia--and the area that will eventually become Arlington County--to determine the boundaries of Washington City, the new US capital, Andrew Ellicott comments disparagingly on the area's overwhelmingly rural nature. He writes to his wife, Sally from their "Surveyors Camp, State of Virginia" that “The country through which we are now cutting one of the ten-mile lines is very poor; I think for near seven miles on it there is not one House that has any floor except the earth.”

(Apparently he missed John Ball’s house—by now, occupied by his widow, Elizabeth. The Balls had not only a floor but a root cellar and loft—all of which you can still see today at 5620 Third Street, South).

Ellicott goes on to write to his wife, “Labouring Hands in this Country can scarcely be had at any rate: my estimate was twenty; but I have to wade slowly thro’ with six… As the President is so much attached to this country, I would not be willing that he should know my real sentiments about it.”

The Ball-Sellers House caretaker Margaret has been caring for the property in a lot of ways. She has been regularly trim...
06/08/2019

The Ball-Sellers House caretaker Margaret has been caring for the property in a lot of ways. She has been regularly trimming the wisteria so it does not invade the shingles and shutters. She also has the nicest flower and herb gardens around the house. And she replaced the street numbers 5620 on the house after the painters left so visitors will know that THIS IS THE PLACE! To name but a few of the ways she helps the historic house look great. Thank you Margaret!!!

Volunteers and docents walked in the Glencarlyn Day parade today. We had fun! Thank you Nancy, Katherine, Seth, Mark, Ma...
06/08/2019

Volunteers and docents walked in the Glencarlyn Day parade today. We had fun! Thank you Nancy, Katherine, Seth, Mark, Margaret, Annette, Deb, and Lois!!

Arlington Historical Society
05/26/2019

Arlington Historical Society

On this day in Arlington history: May 26, 1746: Moses Ball acquires a land grant of 91 acres in what will become the Glencarlyn neighborhood of Arlington. Lord Fairfax, just 4 years into setting up the new county of Fairfax, is encouraging families to settle and he is providing land grants from the King with affordable contracts. ��Moses' land is adjacent to his older brother, John's to the north, Simon Pearson's to the south, Stephen Gray's to the east and Thomas Pearson to the west. (see map) John's house still stands at 5620 3rd St., S and is open to the public Saturdays Apr-Oct.��The first of Moses and his wife, Anne's 6 sons (John) and 2 daughters is born on the property in 1746. George Washington will buy property south of Moses' land in 1775 and when Washington returns from commanding troops in the Revolutionary war, Moses will help him survey his land in 1785. George Washington's Journal mentions Moses and the survey trip. (see photo)

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and k...
05/25/2019

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and knowledgeable docent will show you this rare treasure of an historic house built in the 1740s and take you on a trip through Arlington history in this unique time capsule.

On this day in the life of the oldest house in Arlington: May 19, 1891: William B. Powell is born at Bailey’s Crossroa...
05/19/2019

On this day in the life of the oldest house in Arlington: May 19, 1891: William B. Powell is born at Bailey’s Crossroads. Bill will grow up on a farm on Carlin Springs Road near Columbia Pike, where townhouses now stand (see picture below of Bill Powell with his family at his old homestead on Carlin Springs Road). After serving in the US Army in World War I, he will work at the Navy Yard and meet a pretty Navy Yeomanette named Julia Rhinehart who will live with a cousin on Third Street South in the Glencarlyn neighborhood.

When Bill marries Julia, he will buy an old house first built by a John Ball in the 1750s just down the street from Julia's home. It will be their home for 49 years and he and Julia will be the last owners to live in this house. They will raise Julia's orphaned niece, Marion, in this house at 5620 3rd. St. South and when Bill passes away in 1969 he will bequeath it to his niece. Bill is buried in Arlington National Cemetery: Plot: 31, 0, 5704.

Marion (Rhinehart) Sellers will try renting int out. But by then, she will be living with her husband and family in Vienna, VA and will decide she doesn't really need another house. She will have learned from her uncle and aunt how old it is and how rare So in 1975, Marion Sellers will give it to the Arlington Historical Society (AHS). It will become the Ball-Sellers House.

William worked at the Navy Yard and Julia at the Commerce Department. They rode the trolley into D.C. to work and come back at night to the garden and chickens they loved so well. William had a big garden full of vegetables and a smaller one at the lower end of the yard. Julia grew dahlias, six and seven feet tall, and big as dinner plates. The combination chicken coop and privy was an ingenious building. The chicken coop part was in the south east corner of the fenced yard, so only a gate was needed to make a small chicken yard between the coop and the fence. The privy part was on the opposite side of the little building and a “right far piece” from the house, especially at night. The Powells also had a number of apple trees, so there were always fresh vegetables and fruits.

They used John Ball's original cabin built in the 1750s as their kitchen. A ladder provided access to the loft they used for storage and the lean to had an icebox and served as a pantry. You can see the cabinrestored now to how it may have looked in the 1750s and on any Saturday afternoon from April through October, a docent will be happy to show you the loft, lean to, and chicken coop/privy.

Thank you Mr. Powell for not tearing the cabin section down and treating it so well so that your niece could donate it to AHS

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and k...
05/18/2019

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and knowledgeable docent will show you this rare treasure of an historic house built in the 1740s and take you on a trip through Arlington history in this unique time capsule.

We had a great turn out for the George Washington's Forest History Walk last Saturday. The rain held off until about 3:3...
05/13/2019

We had a great turn out for the George Washington's Forest History Walk last Saturday. The rain held off until about 3:30. Did you go? What did you think? Let us know!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!The Ball-Sellers House has had moms living here since 1742!-- Elizabeth Ball: lived here from 1742 unt...
05/12/2019

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
The Ball-Sellers House has had moms living here since 1742!
-- Elizabeth Ball: lived here from 1742 until her death around 1792. She had 5 daughters
-- Elizabeth Carlin: lived here from about 1792 to 1835. She had 2 daughters and 1 son (She shares a gravestone marker with Litia and their husbands)
-- Litia (Skidmore) Carlin: she lived here until she died sometime before 1860. She had 2 daughters and 2 sons.
-- Irene O. Young lived here from 1911 to 1920. She had one daughter. (Her gravestone in Iowa)
-- Julia (Rinehart) Powell lived here from 1920 to 1957 and had one adopted daughter, her niece. (Julia is shown here with Marion who donated the house to the Arlington Historical Society in 1975.)

On this day in the history of the oldest house in Arlington: May 12, 1779, Virginia legislators pass the Virginia Act of...
05/12/2019

On this day in the history of the oldest house in Arlington: May 12, 1779, Virginia legislators pass the Virginia Act of 1779 to officially confiscate all lands owned by King George III of England and administered by various distant royalty here in America. This means that John Ball’s widow Elizabeth and her brother Moses who lived on land granted to their families by Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron in 1742 and 1746 (respectively) no longer have to make their annual payment to British coffers.

Although an avowed Loyalist, Fairfax was never insulted or molested by American patriots. Less than two months after the 1781 British defeat at Yorktown, the 88 year old Fairfax died at his mansion at Greenway Court in what is now Clarke County. He was buried on the east side of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Winchester, Virginia.

The house that Elizabeth (and her husband, John) lived in still stands at 5620 Third Street South in the Glencarlyn neighborhood (and is open to the public on Saturdays April-October 1-4 pm) Moses Ball’s home and every other house built during Virginia’s Colonial Era in what would become Arlington are gone.

Afac volunteers spread a whole lot of dirt in the new raised bed vegetable gardens today.
05/08/2019

Afac volunteers spread a whole lot of dirt in the new raised bed vegetable gardens today.

Patrick O'Neill the archaeologist who lead the dig in 2016 is speaking about the Ball-Sellers House.  https://www.eventb...
05/07/2019
Local History: The Ball-Sellers House

Patrick O'Neill the archaeologist who lead the dig in 2016 is speaking about the Ball-Sellers House.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/local-history-the-ball-sellers-house-tickets-61471276242?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Patrick O'Neil, historian and archaeologist, talks about the oldest building in Arlington County, built in the 1740's by farmer John Ball. For teens and adults. Find out more about this free event at 703-256-3800 (option 4) or https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/4359299. Reasonable accom...

THIS SATURDAY!  Walk in the footsteps of George Washington Walk in the footsteps of George Washington on a guided walkin...
05/06/2019

THIS SATURDAY! Walk in the footsteps of George Washington

Walk in the footsteps of George Washington on a guided walking tour with a local historian as we trace his route through his forest in what is now Arlington.

What: George Washington's Forest History Walking Tour
When: Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 1:30
Where: Starts at Ball-Sellers House, 5620 3rd St, South
Who: FREE to the public, all ages welcome
What: Wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather, and bring water

In 1775, George Washington bought 1200-acres of forest in what is now Arlington. After the Revolutionary War, he returned home and surveyed his property.

On the walking tour you'll see the Ball-Sellers House (the oldest house in Arlington), visit the survey markers used by Washington in 1785, and visit historic springs, and the site of a mill built by George Washington’s step-grandson and more. The walk is free, but donations are gratefully accepted!

Our Assistant Docent appears to be slacking while on duty.
05/04/2019

Our Assistant Docent appears to be slacking while on duty.

This year's wisteria bloom was one of the best in a long time. Why? Because we did some significant trimming in the off ...
05/04/2019

This year's wisteria bloom was one of the best in a long time. Why? Because we did some significant trimming in the off season for the past two years allowing new growth. New growth is what blooms. So if you have helped trim this behemoth.Thank you! Our reward is a boatload of beautiful blooms.

Here is the completed raised garden frames at the Ball-Sellers House. Dirt will be delivered this week and AFAC voluntee...
05/04/2019

Here is the completed raised garden frames at the Ball-Sellers House. Dirt will be delivered this week and AFAC volunteers will be hauling and raking it even.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!Walk in the footsteps of George Washington Walk in the footsteps of George Washington on a guided wa...
05/04/2019

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!

Walk in the footsteps of George Washington

Walk in the footsteps of George Washington on a guided walking tour with a local historian as we trace his route through his forest in what is now Arlington.

What: George Washington's Forest History Walking Tour
When: Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 1:30
Where: Starts at Ball-Sellers House, 5620 3rd St, South
Who: FREE to the public, all ages welcome
What: Wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather, and bring water

In 1775, George Washington bought 1200-acres of forest in what is now Arlington. After the Revolutionary War, he returned home and surveyed his property.

On the walking tour you'll see the Ball-Sellers House (the oldest house in Arlington), visit the survey markers used by Washington in 1785, and visit historic springs, and the site of a mill built by George Washington’s step-grandson and more. The walk is free, but donations are gratefully accepted!

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and k...
05/04/2019

The Ball-Sellers House is open for free tours today and every Saturday through October from 1-4 pm. An experienced and knowledgeable docent will show you this rare treasure of an historic house built in the 1740s and take you on a trip through Arlington history in this unique time capsule.

Do you have any lengths of bendable sticks? We need to use them in the vegetable garden (see photo).  You can either dro...
05/03/2019

Do you have any lengths of bendable sticks? We need to use them in the vegetable garden (see photo). You can either drop them off at the Ball-Sellers House--put them behind the small shed at the end of the brick walkway--or let us know and we can pick them up from you. WE NEED A LOT OF THEM! (5620 3rd Street, South)

We partner with the Arlington Food Assistance Center to plant a vegetable garden similar to one that would have been planted close to the house by the original owners in the 1740s. This year we are using raised gardens. Last year the garden at the Ball-Sellers House grew about 200 lbs of fresh vegetables for Arlington's neediest families AND we remained historically accurate while doing it, too!

AFAC volunteers are at the Ball-Sellers House today preparing the house vegetable garden like Elizabeth Ball would have ...
04/27/2019

AFAC volunteers are at the Ball-Sellers House today preparing the house vegetable garden like Elizabeth Ball would have using raised gardens!

We love enabling AFAC to grow fresh produce for Arlington's needy families.

The house is open for tours this afternoon until 4. Come see what's going on!

A fine morning at the Ball-Sellers House.
04/21/2019

A fine morning at the Ball-Sellers House.

Views from the bench under the elm tree (best part of the yard.)
04/20/2019

Views from the bench under the elm tree (best part of the yard.)

The hundred year old Japanese wisteria is blooming, come on over and take a gander.  It smells lovely too.
04/20/2019

The hundred year old Japanese wisteria is blooming, come on over and take a gander. It smells lovely too.

The Ball-Sellers House caretaker, Margaret, reports that the wisteria is getting ready to bloom! This Chinese Wisteria w...
04/15/2019

The Ball-Sellers House caretaker, Margaret, reports that the wisteria is getting ready to bloom! This Chinese Wisteria was planted about 100 years ago. Visitors often think it's dead before it blooms, when it looks its scraggliest. But every year, it continues to delight when its purple blooms come out in mid-April and they smell fabulous. Soon the blooms will be gone and its scraggliness will be replaced with lush green leaves covering the support and shading the benches below.

Last year we replaced some of the supports. At its thickest green, this vine can weigh hundreds of pounds, according to the county arborist. Thanks for the great photos, Margaret!

Come visit soon while the blooms are out! We are open every Saturday afternoon between 1-4 pm, April through October. (5620 3rd Street, South, Arlington 22204)

Thank you Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and Scott and Dakota Springston AND Thank you to Gerry Martineau f...
04/08/2019

Thank you Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and Scott and Dakota Springston AND Thank you to Gerry Martineau for helping to capture the fun on Saturday's Season Opener for the Ball-Sellers House.

Address

5620 3rd St S
Arlington, VA
22204

Opening Hours

Saturday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(703) 577-7042

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