The Edith Macefield House is in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, now surrounded by a giant commercial building and parking garage. It looks like it’s about to get squeezed out by giant buildings but it’s standing fast. It reminds me of the children’s book, The Little House. The Edith Macefield House is a holdout because its owner at the time that this block-long complex was built didn’t want to move no matter what the monetary offer. The best part of the story? She and the construction foreman became such good friends that she left the house to him when she died. The house has passed hands and is now on the market again–but things don’t look so bright. The Edith Macefield House needs a loving owner to convert it into a coffee shop, or maybe, like The Little House, it wants to be carted out to the suburbs.
The story of the Edith Macefield House is unfolding before our eyes. The New York Times just published a great article about the story last week. A Kickstarter opened to fund buying the Edith Macefield House as a public property. People have started tying balloons to the fence, a sweet reference to the house that floated away in the Pixar Movie, Up.
If you do nothing else, though, I recommend that you jump over to one of my favorite podcasts, 99% Invisible, who did a great show on holdouts (focused on the Edith Macefield House) last year. They also have an excellent assortment of pictures.
How will the story end? I see the Edith Macefield House every day on my bus commute home from work. I hope it stays but not as some stand against capitalism, just to remind us of how quickly spaces can evolve and change. A reminder of what was here before.
A quick thank-you to Mamaguru’s article on Virginia Burton books, where I got the nice image of The Little House (top).