Another border forced to bend to the will of a steadfast woman. In 2006, a developer in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle wanted to build a five-story shopping mall on the same block as Edith Macefield’s house. The had already purchased the rest of the land they needed and had offered Edith $750,000 for her house when it was assessed at a value of just $210,000. Edith said no. She had seen enough change in her life and formerly blue-collar neighborhood and was not moving. She dug in for the ride. The developer raised the offer to $1 million but she wouldn’t budge. So they built the mall around her. Edith passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2008 but she lived in her house till the day she died, as was her wish.
The house is still there and has become a monument to her strength. A local tattoo artist has created a tattoo with an illustration of the house and the word “steadfast”. She is one of a number of famous holdouts who’s legacy remains etched in property lines long after the battle is fought. The story has a very touching twist relating to the relationship between Edith and the shopping mall’s construction superintendent. The entire story is the subject of an interesting podcast on 99% Invisible and how I discovered the border in the first place.