Welcome to the
Barcroft Community House!
Our building was constructed in 1908 here at 800 S. Buchanan Street, then known as Arlington Avenue. It was to be a branch chapel for the Methodist church located on Glebe Road. It was sold by the church to the Barcroft School and Civic League in 1914. Each BSCL member owns one share of the Community House.
Upon its completion in 1908 the building began serving as our neighborhood public school, and was used as a school until the new brick building opened over on South Wakefield Street in
1925. It is probably Arlington's last remaining one-room schoolhouse. In 1913 the
school outgrew its original room and a second room was added at the rear. After the school moved in 1925 a lower ceiling was added to the original room, the stage was constructed in part of the rear addition, and a basement was excavated under part of the addition, with a furnace located there. The wood duct that carried air by convection to a grate in the floor near the door is still in place in the crawl space. The front porch and steps were added. The bathrooms were moved indoors as city water and sewer service became available, a kitchen was installed in the second room, and a very large gas furnace was installed in the kitchen. The telephone probably dated from that period and lasted until 2008 when it was removed as unnecessary in the age of cell phones. The electrical wiring had been installed in 1908 when the first electric line was extended to the neighborhood. It has been updated many times.
Beginning in 1998, a second wave of renovation replaced the kitchen and furnace, added air conditioning, installed a new handicapped accessible bathroom upstairs, replaced the roof and installed a beautiful new oak floor in the main hall. Barcrofter and builder David Michaelson acted as our general contractor. Barcrofter Mark Trone, master floor installer, directed a team of volunteers that installed a new oak floor. Following that renovation we added a solid masonry ramp in the rear designed by Barcrofter Bruce Atkinson to blend with the original building, making the Barcroft Community House fully handicapped accessible.
The next phase of renovations began in 2010 and included restoring the original ceiling in our main meeting room, with new electrical circuits and heating ducts. It also included new lighting, paint and other interior improvements coordinated by Barcroft decorator Wendy Jordan. Here is some more information on the renovation. And here is where you donate to help out!
In 1999 Scott Brinitizer sparked a major renovation of the Community House grounds, creating a garden as a memorial to Carroll Letellier, a Barcrofter and his partner who died at a young age from a heart ailment. The results have been spectacular. Here is some detail on the garden renovation. This photo was taken before the grounds were renovated.
The Community House has been used for many activities over the years, including churches, a dance studio and a day care center. It is currently used for yoga classes, birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, plays, concerts and many other neighborhood events. You can rent it for events. The rates are reasonable, particularly if you are a BSCL member. There is a 10pm limit on parties in consideration of our neighbors.
The Community House is an interesting building, and we invite you to visit and poke around.
We are pleased to tell you that others have recognized the historic significance of the Community House. On the right front corner of the building you will find the bronze plaque confirming that the Barcroft Community House was designated in 1984 as an Arlington Historic District. In April of 1995 the State of Virginia decided to
add the Community House to the National Register of Historic Places. And on May 5th, 1995, the Landmarks Review Board accepted it for addition to the Virginia Landmarks Register as well. In 1995 the Community House was inscribed in the National Register of Historic Places. And in 1999, on the recommendation of the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board, the County erected this historic marker.
In case you can't read the graphic, it says: Barcroft Community House. The Barcroft Community house was constructed in 1908 as a branch chapel of the Methodist church. It was sold in 1914
to the neighborhood civic association, the Barcroft School and Civic League. The building served as the Barcroft neighborhood public school from 1908 until 1925. It was a one-room schoolhouse until the 1913 rear addition allowed for a second schoolroom. The front porch, indoor stage and plumbing were added after 1925. The Barcroft School and Civic League continues to own and use the Community House for neighborhood activities and meetings. In 1995, the site
was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Erected by Arlington County, Virginia
On our Web page are some fond memories from a long-time Barcroft resident who made a generous contribution to the Community House Restoration Fund in her mother's name.
More on the Community House
- You can rent the Barcroft Community House for social functions.
- Photo tour.
- Map showing location
- Instructions for storing the chairs.
- How we run and maintain the Barcroft Community House.
- Dimensions and equipment
- Here is our list of things we need to do to the Community House, including important stuff like what paint we used.
- Here is our log of things done to the Community House, including important stuff like what paint we used.
- Busted! We were cited in 2005 by Arlington County for a paint problem on the north wall of the Community House. A formal Code Violation was issued to the Barcroft School and Civic League for failure to take care of our Historic District! Read all about it and how we painted the wall.
- Barcroft House - a jig introduced to us by Julie Gorka, once a frequent performer in the Community House. Sometimes we play it as a waltz and call it Barcroft House Renovation. It is based on an older Irish tune.
- You can find more about the Community House in some of the history reached through our History Page. For one of its most important uses and many more photos, see our pages on the Barcroft Fourth of July parade.
- Here is some more info on our renovation plans.
- Here is our Memorandum of Understanding about a fence with the owner of the property to the rear of the Community House.
- Here is an almost identical church building at the
Oakton United Methodist Church. Theirs dates to 1898.
This page was revised on: June 10, 2015.