It would be cool enough to live in an antebellum house on one acre inside the Beltway.

But imagine buying a property that traces its roots to Colonial Virginia, was occupied by George Washington's minister and has a major thoroughfare named for it.

The Glebe, an Arlington landmark listed on both the state and federal historic registers, is on the market for $1.6 million.

The history of the property, on North 17th Street just off namesake Glebe Road, dates to the late 1700s. However, the house as it stands now is not that old: Portions, including an octagonal living room and upstairs bedroom, were built in the 1850s.

The Glebe is one of a handful of houses built in 18th-century Virginia by Church of England parishes for their ministers and known generically as glebe houses.

Originally there were at least 27 such houses, according to the book "The Glebe Houses of Colonial Virginia." Nine remain in original or slightly modified form today, and six, including the Arlington house, have been rebuilt or significantly altered from original plans.

For the past 14 years, the Glebe has served as headquarters for the National Genealogical Society. It is listed as both a commercial property, eligible for special use permit, and as a residential property.

"A lot of interesting people are looking at it; most of them want to restore it and live in it," listing agent Jeffrey Beall of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. said during a tour this week.

Because the Glebe has been used as an office for more than a decade, it has no full baths (the tubs are stored on the property), and potential buyers may find it challenging to picture their furniture in place of the boxes and books that clutter its rooms.

But the clapboard house has several striking features, including a grand staircase, a porch skirting the octagonal wing and a cupola topped with an enormous wooden eagle -- a gift to onetime owner Gen. Caleb Cushing, a former congressman who served as attorney general under President Franklin Pierce.

There are carved brick mantels and decoratively cast radiators, arts and crafts windows from an early 20th-century renovation, and a window containing a glass color transparency of Yosemite National Park, said to have been exhibited at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

"I think that's one of the neatest items in the house," Beall said.

When the home went on the market in mid-March, developers peppered both Beall and business partner John Kerr with questions about subdividing the acre of land, Beall said.

But the genealogical society, as well as its real estate agents, have said they would prefer to sell to someone who will preserve the property.

Because the home has a historic designation, any alterations made to its exterior must be approved by the Arlington County Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.

County historic preservation coordinator Michael Leventhal said he is confident the new owners will preserve the building's historic charm.

"People who buy these kinds of homes want to become stewards of these places," he said. "They see their houses not only for themselves, but for the people who come after them."

House.gossip is an occasional look at interesting places. To let us know about houses worth covering, e-mail us at housedotgossip@washpost.com.

The Glebe in Arlington, which dates to Colonial Virginia, is for sale.

The Glebe has recently served as home to the National Genealogical Society.