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15 Obnoxious Homes That Were Built Just To Annoy The Neighbours


The ultimate way to show your contempt for an enemy may be by building a “spite house.”

Spite houses are homes built to annoy the neighbours, often by cutting off access to a road or obstructing their views.

“They probably wouldn’t get much attention if they looked like normal houses, but spite houses have a reputation for being kind of odd looking, since they’re usually built on narrow parcels of land,” columnist John Kelly wrote in The Washington Post.

Spite houses have a long history in the U.S. — a man reportedly built one in Massachusetts to tick off his brother way back in 1716.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most outrageous spite houses ever built.

The Old Spite House in Massachusetts dates back to 1716.

One of the oldest known spite houses was built in Marblehead, Mass. No one knows for sure why it was built, but theory holds that two brothers who hated each other occupied opposite sides of the home. It still stands today.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

New York's most famous spite house was demolished in 1915.

The Richardson Spite House was built on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 1882. The owner reportedly built the five-foot-wide building after the owner of an adjacent plot tried to buy the land, and the deal fell through. The narrow building was home to 8 apartment suites, and was demolished in 1915.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The McCobb Spite House stems from a family rivalry.

The McCobb Spite House was built in Phippsburg, Maine in 1806. McCobb thought his mother was trying to deprive him of his inheritance, and planned a home to overshadow hers. The house was later relocated to Rockport and still stands.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A doctor built this spite house to stop a road from being built.

The Tyler Spite House was built in Frederick, Maryland, in 1814. When the doctor who owned the parcel discovered the city's plan to cut a road across his land, he immediately poured a foundation for a home, effectively stopping work on the road. It still stands and was recently used as a bed & breakfast.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Skinny House in Boston is just 10.4 feet wide.

The Skinny House in Boston's North End is the city's narrowest home. Though its origins are unknown, one theory holds that it was built by a man who returned from the military and found his brother had built a large house on land they both inherited. He built the narrow home out of spite, blocking sunlight and the view from the larger home.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This Victorian home was built to anger city planners.

In the 19th century, a developer in Freeport, NY put up a Victorian home on a triangular plot of land in opposition to designers who were laying out a grid for the city. It still stands today.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This Massachusetts spite house was the result of a feud between neighbours.

Francis O'Reilly built his spite house in West Cambridge, Mass. in 1908 after his neighbour refused to buy the parcel. The 308-square-foot building is just 8 feet wide, and still stands.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A 4.5-foot-wide spite house in Seattle recently sold for around $US397,000.

The Montlake Spite House was built in Seattle, Wash. in 1925. It supposedly came about after a neighbour made a lowball offer for the slice of land the home now occupies. It's 860 square feet, and recently sold after being listed for $397,500.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Alameda Spite House ticked off a city and a neighbour.

Charles Froling built his spite house in the late 1900s in Alameda, Calif. after the city took a large portion of his land to build a street. The home was designed to irk the city, as well as a neighbour who had been sympathetic to the construction of the road. The 10-foot-wide home still stands.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This California spite house was the result of a bet.

According to legend, a man named Newton Rummonds acquired a tiny plot in Long Beach, Calif. to settle a $US100 debt. After neighbours bet that the plot was too small to be functional, he built the 10-foot-wide home to prove them wrong.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Adamsville, Rhode Island is home to a 'spite tower.'

According to local lore, the spite tower in Adamsville was built to block the line of sight of a town local. It was constructed around 1905, and still stands.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This Virginia spite house is basically an 'enclosed alley.'

The 7-foot-wide spite house in Alexandria, Va. was built in 1830 as a way for the owner of one of the adjacent houses 'to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out of his alley,' according to The New York Times. The house is an 'enclosed alley,' formed from the brick walls of the homes on either side.

Source: Google Maps

This Nevada spite house recently sold for $US245,000.

This spite house in Virginia City, Nev. came about after two neighbours got into a fight. After one man built a home, the other bought the lot next to his and built a home less than 12 inches away. The home sold in 2014 for $US245,000.

Source: Google Maps

A non-profit built this spite house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church.

Not all spite houses have to do with neighborly feuds. In 2013, the non-profit Planting Peace bought a home across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, considered to be a gay hate group, and painted it like a rainbow. It now serves as a resource center for anti-bullying initiatives.

Source: Google Maps

China is famous for its spite houses too, although they go by a different name.

China has become known for its 'nail houses' -- the homes left behind when owners refuse to move due to developers. In one famous case in 2007, a family in Chongqing refused to vacate a home to make way for the construction of a shopping mall. The owners eventually settled with the developers.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These houses may also annoy the neighbours.

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