Just Around the Corner: Edith Macefield House

This house is like the one in the Disney animated movie, Up. In that movie, an elderly widower refuses to sell his abode to a developer.

The widower latches balloons to his house, and the audience watches it float up to the sky, to new adventures.

In reality: This century-old house was owned by a widow, Edith Macefield. She bought it in 1952 for $3,750. Two years later, she had it paid off. She was 84 years old when a developer offered her $1 million. She refused.

She didn’t latch balloons to the house and float away. Instead, she died of cancer on the couch two years later. She was buried at nearby Evergreen-Washelli cemetery.

The house went to a construction worker who had befriended her the last few years of her life. He had bought her groceries, got her prescriptions filled, drove her to doctor appointments, and made her dinners. No doubt she told him snapshot stories of her life: She was born in Oregon, eventually moving to Europe.  She may have been a spy during World War II. At one point, she was held in a concentration camp, where she escaped with a number of Jewish children. She claimed to have had a conversation with Hitler. She definitely knew many languages, including French and German. And she had married four times, having one child, a son who died at age 13 from meningitis. She was a writer, a saxophone player, an autograph hound.

When she passed, her friend sold the 1,000-square-foot house to a realtor for $310,000. Since then, the title changed hands to other owners.

Today, the house stands abandoned, with no clear plans on its future. A five-story gray monolith called “Ballard Blocks” looms on three sides of the house. An LA Fitness gym occupies the building on one side; a Ross clothing store stands on the other side.

If Edith were still alive, imagine seeing her on the front steps, bellowing out her saxophone and telling her stories to her new neighbors.

The house is located at 1438 N.W. 46th St., in Seattle.

— Story and photos by David Carlos

Mountlake Terrace resident David Carlos often submits photos and videos profiling interesting places nearby.


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