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Insect damage jeopardizes the oldest building in Arlington

The Ball-Sellers House (image via Google Maps)

The oldest home in Arlington is in jeopardy of being destroyed, the Arlington Historical Society says, and insects are to blame.

The Ball-Sellers House was originally built in the 18th century, sometime within the mid-1700s, according to the historical society.

The home is a Virginia state historical landmark and has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, an Arlington Historical Society article said.

Despite weathering several centuries, the house is now being threatened by something just about a quarter of an inch long: powderpost beetles.

“The beetles eat the wood the house is made of and make it become like sawdust,” Annette Benbow, who serves on the Ball-Sellers House Committee and the Arlington Historical Society board, tells ARLnow.

Benbow says she believes the beetles have been caught in time to save the home. However, money needs to be raised to cover the cost.

The Arlington Historical Society created a GoFundMe page that has raised, as of Tuesday morning, $1,375 of its $6,000 goal.

“We need to spray the home with a very expensive material that will not hurt the house, but will prevent the furthering of damage that the beetles have caused,” Benbow said.

The house remains open to the public — from 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays, April through October, according to the historical society. It is located on 5620 3rd Street S., in the Glencarlyn neighborhood.

If the $6,000 is not raised online, the Arlington Historical Society will still pay for the spray, but the expense would affect the society’s budget and take away funds for other projects and historic buildings, Benbow said.

“We do not get money from any governmental level. All of our money comes from donations or membership dues,” she said. “The house must be saved as it is a structural and historical artifact that is irreplaceable and rare.”

Image via Google Maps

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