It is one of the greatest love stories ever committed to film and contained one of the most emotional opening sequences of any animated film: Up is the Disney Pixar tale of a man not ready to give up on his dreams, undergoing a huge adventure in the process of achieving them. Despite the movie being released 6 years ago, it has made headlines this week due to a real-life version of the house from the film facing demolition!
The story of the Little House
Edith Macefield was born in Oregon in 1921, and led a very interesting life. After lying about her age to join the military service, Macefield ended up in England. When it was discovered she wasn't 18, she remained overseas to care for the many orphans of war. Eventually she returned to America in 1952 to care for her ailing mother. Edith's mother eventually died in her home, as per her wishes, and Edith inherited the little farmhouse that soon became the center of attention.
Faced with commercial development in the area around the small 108-year-old Seattle house, Edith Macefield refused a million dollar offer for her house in 2006, instead opting to spend her remaining years in the family home. Her decision drew national attention as concrete walls went up all around the small house, but Edith wouldn't budge. At the time Edith told the Seattle P-I "I don’t want to move. I don’t need the money. Money doesn’t mean anything," to her the decision to stay was an easy one, and to the property developer's credit, they respected her choice to remain in her home.
In a wonderful twist, Edith struck up a close friendship with Barry Martin, the construction supervisor of the project that had offered to buy Ms. Macefield's house. For two years Barry Martin drove Edith to appointments, spent time with her, made sure she ate, and generally cared for her until her death in 2008.
Edith died at her home as per her wishes, and in her will she left her little house to Mr. Martin.
The little house with an uncertain future
After Edith's death, Martin sold the house to a company who had planned to use the space for real estate training and as a community center, however when the firm started work to expand the house they weren't able to get financing and the house went into foreclosure.
The house is now for sale, and the company who possesses the house, American IRA, is taking bids until April 20. Because the house is now in a largely commercial area of Seattle, demolition is a very real possibility. The company has said they are interested in preserving Edith Macefield's legacy, though in my opinion it seems unlikely that it will be in the form of the little house, and more likely a plaque.
Since the announcement of the sale, people have flocked to Seattle show their support for Edith Macefield and the house by attaching hundreds of colorful balloons to the fence. With the final dates for bids on the house, April 20, approaching soon the many supporters of the little house are cheering for a happy ending, and hope that the house can remain in Seattle - Edith Macefield's own version of Paradise Falls.