Margaret Carver Leighton didn’t live at Broadview long, but the Victorian house in Arlington’s Waycroft neighborhood made a profound impression on her.

Leighton, a successful children’s author, based her first novel on the home. In the foreword to “The Secret of the Old House,” Leighton writes: “This story is about a real house. When my own four children . . . first saw the rambling old building, they thought it quite the nicest place that they had ever hoped to live in.”

Goodreads, an online reading community, describes the book as a “magnificent story of the mystery hidden within a fabulous big old Victorian farmhouse, and the adventures of the three children who work to solve it and to save the house from being sold. . . . They find a hidden room and a secret stairway. One of those truly memorable childhood reads.”

Alas, the secret stairway is no more. But much of what makes the home special remains.

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Broadview, also known as the Old Lacey House and Storybook House, was built in 1881 for Robert Stinson Lacey, a decorated major in the Union Army during the Civil War and later a ­well-regarded patent attorney. In his obituary, he was described as an “intimate acquaintance of President McKinley.”

The home evolved from a simple I-house over the years. A rear gable addition was added in 1886. The front gable, tower and a two-story shed roof addition came along in 1898. A two-story flat roof addition was constructed between 1900 and 1934. A gabled-roof tower addition was erected in 1990.

Broadview remained with Lacey’s descendants until 1977, when John and Candy Gerstein bought it. By that point, it had been turned into a rooming house and was badly in need of repair.

In a history of the home, Candy Gerstein wrote about the state of the house when she and her husband became owners: “There was no kitchen (the roomers used a hot-plate), no working furnace, inadequate wiring, crumbling plaster and large amounts of filth.”

The Gersteins renovated Broadview with help from friends, contractors and, as Candy described him, “a highly devoted and slightly alcoholic $3.00-per-hour plasterer and semi-handyman.”

“The house never was and never will be stately,” she wrote. “It is, instead, a whimsical house. . . . We have tried to maintain its whimsical or storybook qualities.”

The current owners bought Broadview from the Gersteins in 2011. Granted a historical designation in 2014, the house was deemed “one of Arlington County’s best examples of Queen Anne-style architecture from the late-nineteenth century.” It is one of only four Queen Anne-style dwellings with a tower in the county.

The five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 4,145-square-foot house is listed at $1.289 million.

Listing agents: Daan De Raedt, Maura De Raedt and Erin Johnson, RE/MAX Allegiance