How far are you willing to go to protect what you love? Well, for Edith Macefield, protecting the home she lived in for years meant refusing a $1 million offer. After living in her house for many years, she was unwilling to leave the memories behind, even if it meant great wealth. Edith, who died in 2008, left her memory in the heart of Seattle after holding on to her home even after a very generous offer from developers.
Her home in Ballard, Seattle, stood between other pieces of land that developers had acquired for a shopping mall. But in order for the mall to be built according to their plans, they needed to acquire Edith’s land. So as to entice her into selling, they upped the offer until the price was a whopping one million dollars. Holding on to her home meant missing out on that much money she could use to relocate to somewhere better. But to her, the money wasn’t worth as much as her beloved home, and there was no place better than the one she was already living in.
This is why Edith Macefield stayed determined and denied the developers, thus becoming proof that normal people can take on bigger corporations. Read on to hear Edith’s story and find out what happened.
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To complete the mall according to the plan, the developers wanted her piece of land, but Edith wouldn’t have any of that. The developers were willing to offer $1 million for the then 84-year-old to relocate, but she felt that her home was worth a lot more, reports Curbed Seattle
Many homeowners in the neighborhood settled for the decent packages that the developers offered and relocated to new homes. Most of the neighbors moved out and left her to enjoy the memories that her home offered. Developers had to build around her home. In no time, Edith was surrounded by supermarkets, condos, bakeries, and so many other businesses, and her home started looking like it came after all the others and not the other way round.
Commercial developers did not find a way around Edith, but they found a way around her home. It took the developers going back to the drawing board to create a new plan. It took them a lot to come up with a new plan to accommodate the 1000-square home. The developers were able to convince all other landowners around Edith’s home, but Edith stayed adamant. After the mall was erected, Edith’s small bungalow appeared as if it were a retro piece of décor.
Even before she died, Edith still ensured that her home was safe and would stand tall for a long time after her death. According to Curbed Seattle, before she passed on Edith developed an unconventional friendship with Barry Martin, a construction chief. The friendship was unconventional because it was thought that she was not open to development.
There was no reason for her to get into a friendship with a construction chief, yet she did. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Barry used to drive her to and from the hospital. Edith confided in Barry and Barry to Edith. Martin took good care of her.
When she died in 2008, she left her home to Barry, confident that he would take good care of the home to ensure it lasted for many years. Many years later, the house still stands. Barry wanted to turn the home into a memorial for Edith, but he couldn’t go through with it. He placed the house on auction and sold it to a company known as Reach Returns. The company wanted to put up a coffee shop, so they redid the walls and changed the space, but their plan still did not work. As recently as 2018, the owners of the mall were trying to incorporate the building into the said mall as a tourist attraction and pop-up restaurant spot. The house and Edith’s story was also the inspiration behind the Disney movie Up.
As of 2021, the house still exists and stands empty at the same spot it always has.
Later, the house was foreclosed due to tax liens that had accrued to $300,000. At that point, the house was already a liability and no one wanted to buy it. The OPAL Community Land Trust tried to rescue the house, but it didn’t work. The home still stands. Does the story of Edith inspire you? Don’t forget to spread this amazing story to your friends and family!