Tuesday 12 March 2013

The steadfast Edith Macefield

Here's a heartwarming story of the little guy - or, more precisely, gal - who wouldn't give in to the big corporations.

In 2006, Edith Macefield (1921-2008) achieved turned down a million dollars to sell her home in Seattle so that a new development could be built. In doing so, she became something of a folk hero and the publicity surrounding her case was so widespread that, inevitably, the five-storey building project had to be built around her 108-year-old farmhouse.

People who knew her explained that she didn't move for three main reasons: First of all she'd lived there for more than 40 years and had some great memories; secondly, she didn't want to have to move all her stuff; and, thirdly, she got to like the developers.

Barry Martin, the new building's construction superintendent, said, 'I've said, 'you know, if you need anything don't hesitate to call' and she doesn't. 'So I take the garbage out. I make her lunch.' His crew got to know her well and regularly drove her to the shops and to her podiatrist appointments, as well as checking on her regularly.

Macefield willed her house to Martin, in gratitude for the friendship he had shown her during the construction. On May 26, 2009, Disney publicists attached balloons to the roof of Macefield's house, as a promotional tie-in to their film Up, in which an aging widower's home is similarly surrounded by looming development.


  1. Hi Stevyn,

    I stumbled on your blog post last night while doing a little research on Edith Macefield. I am the reporter who wrote the original article. I will try to send it to you. I thought you might be interested.

    The mystery that remains is what she did when she was in England, specifically Cornwall, I believe, in the 1940s, possibly the late 1930s.

    I have always been interested in learning more about that story, the orphanage, her son, her husband, James Macefield.

    I am posting the original story separately.

    If you want to contact me: KathyMulady@yahoo.com
    Thank you.

  2. Hi again.
    Here is a link to the original story (scroll down, down, down).