Does this house look familiar to you? Fans of the Pixar film Up might recognize that it looks remarkably like the house in the movie, which similarly occupied a lone space in the middle of rapid change and development that unfolded around it. The filmmakers were allegedly inspired by the story of this house and its owner Edith Macefield, an 84-year-old woman who became notorious in 2006 for turning down a million dollar deal to sell her home in Seattle in order to make way for a shopping mall, forcing the developers to build the mall around the house.
During a time when many of Seattle’s older neighborhoods were being replaced by new steel buildings, industrial concrete structures, and big-name chain stores, Macefield’s actions stood out as a symbol of resistance. She even became known as a sort of folk hero, the face of old Seattle during this period of rapid change in the city. According to some of her friends, however, the truth was that the elderly woman just didn’t want to leave her home at her age. Macefield, who had an exciting past of working as an undercover agent during WWII and caring for war orphans in England, wanted to spend the rest of her days in peace and quiet in her home.
In 2008, Macefield passed away at the age of 86. Her house was left to Barry Martin, the supervisor of the surrounding construction project who had become an unlikely friend and caretaker to the stubborn homeowner. Martin sold the house to a real estate coaching firm for $310,000. The firm currently has plans to elevate the house and build a public square underneath it as a tribute to Macefield’s legacy.
Still from the movie Up