What Is A Spite House?


12 Answers

Kevin Young Profile
Kevin Young answered
As an added info for you guys "most famous spite house was the Richardson Spite House in New York City at Lexington Avenue and 82nd Street. Built in 1882and demolished in 1915, it was four stories tall, 104 feet (31.7 m) long, and only five feet (1.5 m) wide. Joseph Richardson, the owner of the plot of the same dimensions, built it after the owner of the adjacent plot, Hyman Sarner, unsuccessfully tried to purchase the land. Sarner considered the plot useless by itself and offered only $1000; Richardson demanded $5000. After the deal fell through, Richardson had an apartment building constructed on his land. It was a functional (albeit impractical) apartment building with eight suites, each consisting of three rooms and a bath"
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Adrian Lami Profile
Adrian Lami answered
I would love to hear the answer. Schiphol Parkeren.
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Brianz Palacios
Brianz Palacios commented
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wendy williams Profile
wendy williams answered
Yep you can't go wrong with wikipedia
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Els Schip
Els Schip commented
@Wendy, I would not trust Wikipedia, it is a good source, but not always right... Best. Aanbieders Schiphol parkeren
eric bosloor Profile
eric bosloor answered

A spite house is one that is intentionally built by developers to spite or annoy landowners within the same vicinity. This is often triggered by a previous disagreement between the two parties during their discussion of the possession of the land deeds for the specific area.

Maria Nexus Profile
Maria Nexus answered
I got a similar kind of answer from Wiki Answers and it says: Spite houses are much rarer than spite fences. This is partially attributable to the fact that modern building codes often prevent the construction of houses likely to impinge on neighbors' views or privacy.

Source: Mariah
James Hill Profile
James Hill answered
I think any house built with a gain other than its direct use in focus, like to keep a road or a flyover from building can be called a spite house.

Also an overly luxurious house that might have been built more for showing off than for any other practical purpose could well be called the same?

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Luis Prada Profile
Luis Prada answered
For as good as humans can be, we have a far greater capacity to be angry and vengeful. This vengeance takes many forms; some kill, some cheat, some will glue your butt cheeks together while you sleep. But few go as far as erecting a building as a monument to their anger toward another.

This, friends, is what is called a spite house. It doesn't matter if a spite house is pretty much an unlivable waste of space, that's beside the point. They're all about draining tons of cash and time in to a building that may as well be shaped like a hand giving you the middle finger with a pair of testicles hanging off of the wrist.

The Skinny House – Boston, Massachusetts

The history of this spite house is a little shaky, but the largely accepted version of the story is the one we'll tell you.

It was 1874, and two brothers that were not fond of one-another were left a plot of land by their dead father. When one of the brothers went off to join the military, the other took his brothers' sense of duty and patriotism as an opportunity to screw him over. When The Solider came back, he found a house covered most of the land his father had left him. The keyword here is most.

The military brother, so enraged by his brother's actions, used what little money he had left to build a home on the tiny remaining strip of land; a strip of land that the first brother thought was useless.

The house – now known as The Skinny House – is 10 feet long at its widest point. It has no front door, but rather, a cramped staircase located at the side of the building that can only be reached via a sliver of an alleyway.

Dr. John Tyler

Dr. John Tyler was a fine, upstanding man. He was a prominent ophthalmologist (basically, an optometrist that treats diseases and performs surgeries), and was the first American-born doctor to perform a cataract operation. He owned a piece of land in Frederick, Maryland that the city wanted to pave over in order to connect Record Street to West Patrick Street. Dr. Tyler fought the city over the right to the land that he rightfully owned, but they didn't care. They were going to do it anyway.  

At the 11th hour, Tyler came upon a town law that did not allow for the construction of a road if there was already something being built there; something “substantial.”  As soon as he discovered this, Tyler hired a group of workers who immediately began digging and cementing. Come the next morning, when road crews came to survey the area, they discovered the foundation for what would be a house smack-dab in the middle of what would be their road.

The crew left, the matter was settled, and Tyler built his house, which still stands today as a bed and breakfast.

Falloon v. Schilling

We couldn't find a picture of the Schilling/Falloon spite house, so here is a picture of a cute puppy

One thing to keep in mind when reading this story is that it all of its events went down in 1880 and in Kansas. 1880 and Kansas. It'll make sense later.

It was the town of Hiawatha, Kansas in the year 1880 where a man by the name of Adam Schilling owned 80 acres of land. Mr. Schilling sold off three-quarters of an acre of this land, and a house was built upon it. This house was occupied by a one James Falloon, along with his wife and two young children.  This 80 acres worth of land had yet to be officially integrated in to the rapidly expanding town of Hiawatha, and Mr. Schilling was more than willing to fork over the entire plot for the sake of the town. The problem, of course, was getting Mr. Falloon and his family to go along with it.

Schilling offered Falloon $1,600 for the three-quarters of an acre that he once owned. Falloon refused, claiming that the land was really worth somewhere in the $1,900 - $2,000 range. Schilling, apparently not one for haggling, decided that enough was enough; that if this Falloon jackass and his bratty kids didn't want to accept money out of his hand, they were going to have to deal with the consequences.

Schilling built his own tenement house just 13 feet away from Falloon's house. A spite house, indeed. But it doesn't end there. If you read about this little story on Wikipedia, you'll read this line pulled directly from the Kansas Supreme Court opinion regarding the legal dispute between Falloon and Schilling:

“oppressive and unlawful idea of rendering Falloon's home obnoxious and unendurable to Falloon and family.”

Yes, it's a sentence that is a bit fractured. But, if you read the entire sentence, as written in the actual court opinion, you'll understand why the Wikipedia editors elected to leave out some bits:

“Thereupon defendant conceived the oppressive and unlawful idea of rendering plaintiff's home obnoxious and unendurable to himself and family by erecting cheap tenement houses on either side of plaintiff's land and filling them with worthless negros that they might annoy plaintiff's wife who is a person in delicate health and thereby punish plaintiff for refusing defendant's inadequate for the property.”

But, wait! There's more!

“The building is rented to a negro family but that family is the family of a preacher, and well behaved. It cannot therefore be said that defendant is filling his buildings with worthless negroes.”

The court ruled in favor of Schilling.

Again, 1880 and Kansas.

The Hollensbury Spite House

Some people live on luxurious and expansive plots of land out in the country where they can finally get some solace from the hectic and noisy city life. Other, more unfortunate fellows live next to a raging cacophony of street urchins, vagabonds and enough horse traffic to ensure that their droppings can safely fertilize a forest of Sequoias.

So what does one do when the home they refuse to leave is situated right next to an alleyway that may as well be occupied by a 24-hour death metal mosh pit? That was the question that Alexandria, Virginia resident John Hollensbury had to face in 1830.  His answer, as you might guess, was to cut off their noses to spites their big, stupid faces…metaphorically speaking, of course.

Hollensbury took it upon himself to build a 7 foot wide, 25 foot deep home that bridged the gap between his home and the home of his neighbor, effectively cutting off all traffic within the alleyway. The home is a cramped 2 story building that uses the exterior walls of the two neighboring homes as its interior walls.

The building still stands to this day and it is currently being occupied by a married couple and their son that have never fixed the damage inflicted upon their interior walls by horse-drawn carriages nearly 2 centuries ago.
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Anonymous commented
An opthamologist is an MD that has taken an additional four years of post doctoral study on the eye. They are not optometrists, who are doctors (hold a doctoral degree as do lawyers) but not Medical Doctors.
Anonymous commented
Not all Kansans are idiots, I promise.

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