Part I - The Carpenter Era (1904-1916)

Little is known of John and Mary Carpenter except that they were born in Virginia, he in Wakefield in January 1859 and her in Oak Grove in September 1863. They apparently married in June 1890 and in June 1891 Mary gave birth to son Ivan. They moved to Arlington County and between July 1887 and May 1901 they purchased a collection of lots a hundred feet square on the north side of Howell Avenue, where it met the turnpike (now US1/Richmond Hwy). There they opened a grocery store. In 1904 the land was taken over for the creation of Potomac Yard.

John took his compensation money and used it in March 1904 to buy a plot with a hundred feet of frontage along the west side of Mt Vernon Avenue and 150 feet westward along the north side of Howell. On the eastern portion of the land, facing Mt Vernon Ave, he immediately erected a grocery store and two ancillary buildings, one for storage and one that was apparently rented out as a variety store. In 1905 he built his large house on the western portion of the land, taking out a $2,000 mortgage to do so.

By 1910 there were still only 64 houses and 526 people in the Del Ray development, the area that Carpenter serviced, but he was the only grocery store. Profits were presumably marginal and apparently he soon tired of the grocery store business, for in June 1912 he leased the eastern portion, along “with the store and dwelling and all other improvements” to Jacob Glassman for $300 per year on a ten-year lease.

He kept the large house for himself, his wife Mary, son Ivan and new daughter Dorothy and he continued as a landlord for his other properties in Del Ray through the 1920s.

Part II - The Glassman Era (1916-1925)