Homes Built Out of Spite And Hate

Wikipedia defines a spite house as:

A building constructed or modified to irritate neighbors or other parties with land stakes. Spite houses often serve as obstructions, blocking out light or access to neighboring buildings, or as flamboyant symbols of defiance. Because long-term occupation is at best a secondary consideration, spite houses frequently sport strange and impractical structures.

The Tyler Spite House: Dr. Tyler vs the City of Frederick, MD 1814

Photograph by Thisisbossi

In 1814, Dr. John Tyler, an eminent ophthalmologist and the first American-born physician to perform a cataract operation, owned a parcel of land near the courthouse square in Frederick, Maryland. The city made plans to extend Record Street south through Tyler’s land to meet West Patrick Street (the street behind his house). In fighting the city, Tyler discovered a local law that prevented the building of a road if work was in progress on a substantial building in the path of a proposed road. To spite the city, Tyler immediately had workmen pour a building foundation, which was discovered by the road crews the next morning. [Source]

That ‘addition’ you see to the right of the door. Pure spite. Screw you Maryland, no road for you!

The Hollensbury Spite House:
John Hollensbury vs Horse-drawn Wagons in Alexandria, Virginia 1830

Photograph by SHORPY.COM

In 1830, John Hollensbury’s home in Alexandria, Virginia was one of two homes directly bordering an alleyway which received an annoying amount of horse-drawn wagon traffic and loiterers. To prevent people from using the alleyway, Hollensbury constructed a 7-foot (2.1 m) wide, 25-foot (7.6 m) deep, 325-square-foot (30.2 sq m), two-story home using the existing brick walls of the adjacent homes for the sides of the new home. The brick walls of the Hollensbury Spite House living room still have gouges from wagon-wheel hubs, and the house is still standing and occupied. [Source]

Photograph by Michael Temchine for The New York Times

Photograph by Michael Temchine for The New York Times

The Skinny House: Sibling Rivalry in Boston, Massachusetts 1874

In 1874, two brothers in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts got into a dispute. Each had previously inherited land from their deceased father. While the second brother was away serving in the military, the first brother built a large home, leaving the soldier only a shred of property that the first brother felt certain was too tiny to build on.

When the soldier returned, he found his inheritance depleted and built a wooden house at 44 Hull St. to spite his brother by blocking the sunlight and ruining his view. The outside of the house spans 10.4 feet (3.2 m) and tapers to 9.25 feet (2.82 m) in the rear. The house may only be entered via a small alley beside it. The Skinny House is still standing and occupied today. It stands near the top of Copp’s Hill, across the street from the historic Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and within sight of Old North Church, both official stops on Boston’s historic Freedom Trail. [Source]

The Freeport Spite House:
Spiteful Developer vs ‘The Grid’ in Freeport, New York 1800s

Also in the 19th century, a Freeport, New York developer who opposed all of Freeport being laid out in a grid, put up a Victorian house virtually overnight on a triangular plot at the corner of Lena Avenue and Wilson Place to spite the grid designers. The Freeport Spite House is still standing and occupied to this day. [Source]

To check it out on Google Maps/Earth enter the following coordinates: 40.66117500, -73.59231300

The Alameda Spite House:
Charles Froling vs Neighbour & the city of Alameda, California 1900s

Photograph by Pinetree3

At the turn of the 20th century, the city of Alameda, California took a large portion of Charles Froling’s land to build a street. Froling had planned to build his dream house on the plot of land he received through inheritance. To spite the city and an unsympathetic neighbor, Froling built a house 10 feet (3.0 m) deep, 54 feet (16 m) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) high on the tiny strip of land left to him. The Alameda Spite House is still standing and occupied to this day. [Source]

To see this property on Google Maps/Earth enter the following coordinates: 37°45’42″N 122°14’24″W

Photograph by Elf

The O’Reilly Spite House:
Francis O’Reilly vs Neighbour West Cambridge, Massachusetts 1908

Photograph by Arnold Reinhold

In 1908, Francis O’Reilly owned an investment parcel of land in West Cambridge, Massachusetts and approached his abutting land neighbor to sell the land for a gain. After the neighbor refused to buy the land, O’Reilly built a 308-square-foot (28.6 m2) building, measuring 37 feet (11 m) long and only 8 feet (2.4 m) wide to spite the neighbor. The O’Reilly Spite House is still standing and is occupied by an interior decorating firm as of mid-2009. [Source]

The Montlake Spite House:
Typical Neighbourly Clash in Seattle, Washington 1925

Photograph by Joe Mabel

In 1925, a Montlake, Seattle, Washington neighbor made an insultingly low offer for a tiny slice of adjoining land. Out of spite for the low offer, the builder built an 860-square-foot (80 m2) house which blocked the neighbors’ open space. The house is 55 inches (1.4 m) wide at the south end, and 15 feet (4.6 m) wide at the north end. The Montlake Spite House is still standing and occupied to this day. [Source]

To see on Google Maps/Earth enter the following coordinates: 47°38’18″N 122°18’5″W

The Virginia Spite House: A Tale of Two Miners in Virginia City, Nevada 1950s

Photograph by Janis Masyk-Jackson

In the 1950s there were two miners that disliked each other very much. The first miner bought a lot in the downtown area of the city and built a lovely white house. Unfortunately for him, the second miner bought the lot right beside his and had his previously built red house relocated right beside his, so close it was mere inches from the first miner’s home.

No more sunlight or gentle breezes, just the cold sterile view of your worst enemy’s red brick house. [Source]

Your Comments / What Do You Think ?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.