The Edith Macefield House may have a permanent home as the Ballard Blocks development expands to the vacant lot next door. My Ballard got confirmation from developer Regency Center that the company is brainstorming ways to integrate the house into the design, like an event space or a home for pop-up restaurants.
Every few years, a rumor goes around that the house is finally about to be torn down. Most recently, a Facebook event claimed that the house would be finally toast this Friday, April 20. (It has since been updated to an event encouraging fans to tie a balloon to the home’s fence on Saturday morning.)
The house gained international fame when Edith Macefield—the last occupant of the house—refused to sell it while developers were seeking all the land for the Ballard Blocks development in 2005. Macefield turned down escalating offers to sell, and in the process befriended Barry Martin, the construction superintendent on the project, eventually leaving her house to him when she died in 2008.
According to Martin, detailed in an episode of 99 Percent Invisible, Macefield wasn’t attached to the structure’s legacy as much as staying in her home for the duration of her life.
Still, the holdout home, which currently sits boarded up as the development towers around it (like in The Little House or Up), is widely viewed as symbolic of a changing Seattle—so multiple efforts have been made to save it, including a plan to float it on a barge to Orcas Island. When an effort by a community land trust to buy the home failed failed and a group affiliated with the Ballard Blocks became the owners 2015, those that feel nostalgia for the house have been on the lookout for the day when the house’s story ends.
But according to current plans, the house may be a more permanent addition to the development—rather than a boarded-up, deteriorating symbol of what Ballard used to be.
We’ve reached out to Regency Center to ask for more details about its plans for the house. We’ll update when we hear back.