If balloons could actually lift a house away from its problems, the home that inspired Up wouldn’t be in its current predicament. Made famous by its feisty owner and her refusal to sell to developers, the Edith Macefield house has become a symbol of steadfastness and determination for the community – unfortunately, in the wake of Macefield’s passing, steadfastness is not enough to save the old home.
Macefield, a writer and musician, lived a bold life long before she stood up against real estate moguls. Aside from writing fiction under a pen name and playing saxophone alongside 1950s jazz greats, Macefield faked her age in order to spy for the British Allies during World War II. After she left the service, she stayed in the UK to care for children orphaned during the war. Macefield made an early 1900s farmhouse her home when she returned stateside, growing old in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. In 2005, when she was in her mid-80s, the elderly veteran vehemently rejected a shopping mall developer’s $1 million offer for her house – in the end, the mall architects were forced to build the shops around the small property. Disney found out about Macefield’s inspiring tale, and the rest is history!
Despite her refusal to do so for real estate builders, Macefield left the home behind when she died in 2008. It has now fallen into disrepair and foreclosure at the hands of the current owner (a Seattle investor) and will be auctioned off in April. While we would like to imagine that Disney might buy the property and erect a memorial in Macefield’s honor, the unfortunate truth is that it will likely be sold to developers – exactly what the elderly hero aimed to prevent. Check out these pictures of the Macefield house in its current state, because it likely won’t be around much longer.
Update: The Macefield house has finally reached the end of its journey and is up for sale by North Carolina investment company American IRA. All offers on the home are due by April 20, and demolition is a near guarantee – however, The New York Times reports that the seller may prefer buyers who intend to honor Edith Macefield’s legacy somewhere on the property. As the world awaits news about the sale, admirers from all across the world have come to pay respects to the little house, tying balloons to its fence and leaving heartfelt notes.