In Seattle, the little house that stood

 The Macefield house in Seattle, known locally as the "'Up' House." (Image: Ian C. Bates for The New York Times)

The Macefield house in Seattle, known locally as the “‘Up’ House.” (Image: Ian C. Bates for The New York Times)

The owner of this Seattle home, Edith Macefield, held her ground and refused to sell out to developers. She lived in the house until her death in 2008 at age 86. Now, with the mortgage in default, the house has been put on the market and will likely be sold to a big commercial developer, just like the properties on either side. A sad, all-too-perfect example of what’s happening across the country. Progress for the sake of progress. Profit over history, every time. Out with the old, in with the new. Everything’s disposable, short lived, planned obsolescence built in. Newer is better, and certainly more profitable. For somebody.

The full story of this little house appears in today’s New York Times. There’s also a video report from a Washington television station that shows the inside of the house.

How I wish I had the money to save this symbol of the way America used to be, when proud owners lived in their homes for decades and defiantly stood their ground against commercial encroachment, when neighborhoods and history meant something. I’d refurbish the house with as much historical accuracy as possible and perhaps open a tiny coffee house or other community gathering place, named “Macefield,” of course. Or maybe not. The house was built in 1900 or thereabouts. Perhaps it could be designated and protected as an historical landmark. But, regardless, I’d restore and protect it. Just because.


Edith Macefield house, Seattle

Macefield house in better days. Photo: Niño M./Yelp


Categories: Culture, History

9 replies

  1. Absolutely, it’s totally unique in that pic and should be preserved as what once was. Years back, a woman lived on a farm in my part of the UK and they were building a motorway. She refused to sell, so they had to split the motorway and build it around her. Don’t know why compulsory purchase didn’t apply but there you go.

    Ms Macefield’s house looks nice. Guess the whole street looked like that once. Go, corporate business eh?

  2. It’s happening all over the world… $$$$$$ talks and everything else… well you’ve got the picture.

    • Yep, been going on as long as I’ve been old enough to understand it. Started with “urban renewal” in OKC years ago when “progress” meant level much of the historic old downtown buildings and replace them with shiny new ones. They finally wised up and started saving and repurposing old buildings, but what was gone was gone. Forever.

  3. I love the little tribute to “UP” in the middle photo…

  4. That’s sad. We need our symbols of defiance. I hope they do leave some kind of commemorative on whatever is built in its place.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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