Life at Arlington House was distinguished by warm hospitality, close family relationships, religion and education.
Visitors were greeted in this hall by the enslaved butler/coachman Daniel Dobson. Guests were political or artistic friends of Mr. Custis, military friends of the Lees, social acquaintances, visiting relatives, or total strangers on pilgrimage to see the "Washington Treasures" kept at the house. No one was turned away.
Robert E. Lee was away on army assignments most of the 30 years he lived here; his wife and family sometimes accompanied him. This hall witnessed sad farewells and happy homecomings: The seven Lee children came and went to be with their parents, attend boarding school, or stayed behind in the
care of their Custis grandparents.
During the hot summer, the hall became a "Summer Parlor." The spacious hall, with its tall doors and ceilings, provided a breezy respite from the heat. Sofas and chairs provided comfort and a forum for
lively conversation or reading aloud from the latest English novel.