Woman, 84, Forces Mall to Build Around Her House
An elderly woman once forced the developers of a new mall to build around her house, having turned down a million-dollar offer for the modest farmhouse – which, to this day, is still proudly dwarfed by the five-storey complex around it.
Edith Macefield became an unexpected local hero back in 2006, when she famously rejected a huge offer for her tiny farmhouse in Seattle, Washington.
According to the Seattle Times, she bought the property for $3,750 in 1952, and lived there with her mother Alice while working as a store manager at Spic ‘N Span Cleaners.
The 108-year-old home wasn’t worth much itself, but property developers had been gradually snapping up other homes in the area so that they could construct a brand new shopping mall, first offering Macefield $750,000 before upping the figure to $1 million.
Macefield, who was 84 at the time, was adamant that she wanted to stay in her home and decided to refuse the life-changing offer – meaning that instead, builders simply had to work around her.
Barry Martin was the construction manager who worked on the development, but rather than seeing him as her bitter rival, Macefield ended up befriending him. She initially asked him to drive her to a beauty appointment, later calling on him for favours like laundry, lifts to the doctors, making her meals and more.
The two became so close that Macefield ended up leaving the house to Martin when she died in 2008.
Sadly, Martin ended up having to sell the property when he found himself out of work during an economic ‘downturn’.
Speaking on Fox’s Strange Inheritance, he said Macefield had given him her blessing to sell before she passed away, explaining: “She told me to hold out until I got my price. I sold it for $310,000.”
He also revealed that his friend hadn’t actually been opposed to the shopping mall, but that she had just wanted to stay put.
Martin said: “A lot of people thought she was against the development, but that wasn’t the case at all.
“It was more a case of she didn’t want to go through the exercise of having to move.”
While the home has widely been reported as the inspiration for Disney’s 2009 film Up – which follows an elderly widower Carl Fredricksen who is reluctant to sell his house after developments spring up around it – production of the movie actually began in 2004, before Macefield even refused to sell.
However, Disney did choose to use the house to promote the flick, with Martin recalling: “They wanted to put balloons on the house for their premiere here in Seattle. So they came out and put balloons on the house and took a picture, and that’s how it became the Up house.”
He added: “After I saw the movie, there was actually some photographs that look very similar to the picture in the movie.”
As Strange Inheritance host Jamie Colby explained, eventually Edith’s cottage and that of character Carl Fredricksen became ‘associated as one’.
Amazingly, you can still find the house today – still surrounded by buildings – at 1438 NW 46th St.