« 99% Invisible

130- Holdout

2014-09-02 | 🔗

Around 2005, a Seattle neighborhood called Ballard started to see unprecedented growth. Condominiums and apartment buildings were sprouting up all over the community which had once been mostly single family homes and small businesses. Around this time, developers offered a … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. Nineteen fourteen in Manhattan. The city government took ownership of an apartment, building belonging to a guy named David, has they use? legal power called eminent domain which allows governments to seize private property for public use in this, They want to expand. The subway system has fought them and law, and what was all said and done is building was torn down and he was with a triangle shaped piece of property and when Romans has triangle shaped, he means the property has was left with was about the size and shape of a very large slice of pizza. He was not amused. It's our producer, Katy mingle. Later the city tried to get him to donate his pizza shaped property, so they can build a sidewalk. He refused again. They built sidewalk anyway, and in the middle of the sidewalk, is has his triangle.
The tile mosaic that reads: property of the has a state which has never been dedicated for public purposes in others get off my triangle: jerks. It still by the way on the corner of Christopher Street and Seventh avenue in the West Village, people like David has who refused to sell their properties are called whole doubts and domain only comes into play when the government, once your property for public use. If it's a private device I meant that once your place, any refuse to sell there's not much they can do. Although there have been cases were eminent domain has been controversially used for private development, but that's another story in China. They call their hold out houses, nail houses, I have seen some of the pictures of single houses digging up like the head of a nail: Nothing else around them bulldozed and carved out basic. We anywhere there's a lot of new development. There are bound to be developers who have plans to make love
lots and lots of money if they could just get that. One stubborn person to move which brings us one of the most stubborn and steadfast hold out ever Edith, MACE sire. I always call her. Mrs Maes filled. That's Happy Milady she's, one of the only reporters who ever got an interview with MRS Maes Field, a feature two unwavering persistence, good manners and proper attire. Later I asked her, I said: well is it that made you decide to talk to me today and she said I liked your skirt Edith, sealed lived in a Seattle, neighborhood called Ballard Broward and one spend its own little town until it was annexed into Seattle in one thousand nine hundred and seven who had the feel of a small town a single family homes and small businesses. That story change around two thousand five, when development really started to spread There were condominiums, we started hearing some pushed back from,
time residents in the neighborhood who felt that the neighbourhood was changing too quickly, road became so I conic of this type of super fast high density development that, when it happens in other neighborhoods, we call it the Ballard dilation of my neighborhood zone. Two thousand five, when Ballard was in the middle of being Ballard Ized developer, one to build a shopping centre that would take up the entire block were Edith. Maize field have lived for the last fifty years. It is made feels house was in a more industrial section, Ballard and her block was mostly empty. Besides her tiny house, just nature or house. You know when you were a kid. You draw a picture of a house using a little square with a triangle. On top, then he put a little front door and a couple of windows on each side that is eggs exactly what Edith Mayfields House look like the developers,
Her seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars for her house, which was upraised at about a hundred and twenty thousand, and as you can probably yes, she said. And so they said no problem, Build are more around you, like literally all around you. I am very Martin. I work in construction is a project superintend so I'm just a guy out there in the site, making sure that you all gets done very was hired to over see the shopping center project and he'd heard that some Ballard residents were happy about all the new development. But he wasn't too worried remain just a job for me, You know. I really think about it in a really one way or another. He hadn't yet heard about Edith, Mayfield. So closer to where I was gonna start to project my wife, Ask me if that was the one where there was a little. Maybe down in Belgium move.
I said no, that it cuz. You know these guys what he told me. I called him up and they said yeah, didn't we tell you Wherever said you stand in. The way of progress has never tried to step over Edith me no Ballard woman or refuse to sell her little house to develop further the little old lady being bullied by developing the story was Classic David and Goliath. Edith maize field versus the big bad developers and bury Martin. Wasn't super excited about all the extra media attention on his project. I'm thinking this is a lose lose proposition because all she has to do is you don't complain tell somebody at the tv station or the on the newspaper it'll be a really big deal that, even though the precipice clamouring to talk to MRS Maes field. She wanted nothing to do with talking to them. Cathy Milady had been one of the few
exceptions. Here's MRS Maes, Turning down help from the CBS reporter Ass, she took out some trash in her front yard thrust. Excuse me. She liked to be addressed, as MRS Maes field. Thank you very much later on. Segment. He knocked at the door and you can hear a muffled go away are any ok, unfortunately, that muffled recording of a cranky. Mrs Maes field is the only one we could find of her. She passed away in two thousand and eight, which will talk about more later, let my second day there I can buy, eat his house and she was on the front yard, with flowers in her little dog was blind. The workers, to demolish the few other buildings that were on the block and dig up a bunch of soil that was contaminated with lead. All the while their neighbour, MRS Maes Field, went about her business day after day. Just like she'd always done should
in the morning and feed the birds and throw birdseed out on the sidewalk the time the birds he would be there when we got to work and give The bird seed wasn't thereby ten o clock. We news Wasn't right. If they didn't see the bird seed very would knock on her door. To see if she was ok usually let me get the hell out go away and leave her alone. I just started: ok I'll, just check on you, a lot of people that once the construction started in earnest, Edith MACE Field would fold the noise and the encroachment on her privacy? You would just be too much the eggs, even design the building in such a way that MRS Maes Field ever decided to move. They can easily corporate the space warehouse was into the building, but she didn't form the developers up their offered to one million dollars plus they offer defined or a similar home somewhere else and pay for a home health care worker. She turned them down, be Europe
asked in the building around Edith may House got bigger and bigger the image of it was really something you may pictures of the house, especially if you're from Seattle, the building coward forty feet above her you know her little House Was- was Dwarf fairly well, it wasn't just a big building sitting next to a tiny house. It was big building completely enveloping a tiny house on three sides. The walls of the building were so close that MRS Maes field could practically leaned out her window and touch them as the building. Where the construction workers kept checking in on MRS Maes Field and occasionally bringing her lunch from Mcdonald's, she purportedly loved, big and tasteless and bury kept dropping off business cards, telling her to call if she needed anything and then one day she finally did so did she didn't feel comfortable driving that day and
I give you a ride to go home, get her hair done. We got her in the car and started driving over there and we are going to talk about how you feel It was changing and sort of surprisingly Edith. Mace, wasn't angry about the way Ballard was changing. She, wasn't even angry about them all. They were building more or less. On top of her house, she said. Is it always changes here? Twenty years from now they'll be tearing this down in building something else she's. Is that just the way it goes? I felt like she was happy that we were there. She said didn't mind the noise she said. I was through world war, two, that's Cathy Milady again, and She didn't mind the attention from those young construction workers who walked by our house and though wave to her or smiled, are checked in a little bit. She'd been there for fifty years. That point in time. She was eighty six years old. Money didn't really mean much to her any more. She couldn't move around very well.
She knew where everything was in her house. She had no reason to move, you didn't, have any family so getting the money so that leave it for family didn't exist. This may feel didn't have any living family to leave any money to it by the same token, Didn't have any family to help take care of her in her old age. Pretty soon barely started, taking her to all of her appointments, and then he started making them Then he got concerned that MRS Maes Field, who was getting more frail by the day, was going to burn herself on her stove. So are you stores, swinging by their after work and make it our dinner twin, get it Michael, If so, I guess I have to cook horses and I have to worry about it anymore, pretty in very was making her lunch and breakfast as well wonder cup and are making their three meals a day and then And come in on Saturday and Sunday because I had to make her meals
bending all this time together. He got to know MRS Maes Field pretty well. They listen to music together. Watch old movies and MRS Maes Field also had crazy stories about her past He told me that she was a spy for the british government that she had been captured spine. And they put her in deco? Then she escaped from she also said she taken care of a bunch of war, orphans and England after World WAR. Two and on top of all of that. She claim to know a bunch of famous people. You told many Goodman was your cousin and that she had met Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and played Neil Saxophone clarinet with them stories were so incredible that they were hard for people to believe, but they were harder
dismiss than you might think. She came across to me as very sharp. She liked to talk a lot about the past, but she also watch the news and knew exactly what is going on very took care of MRS Maes Field for nearly a year and a half. In all of her meals, visiting with her on weekends and after work. Sometimes she'd call in the middle of the night and tell him she'd had an accident and she needed him Euro Very few wishes one. She wanted to die in her house and live out her last days in her house, but if I wouldn't have been there at some point in time, they would have put her in a state run facility and there wasn't any reason for that and then she's gonna be unhappy. Last days of her and for what?
when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and began to die. She. Finally, agreed to a home health care worker, but very became her power of attorney the person she put in charge of her final decisions, Edith Macefield died in her house on June fifteenth two thousand eight. She was eighty six years old left her house to bury Martin the construction superintendent who became her friend whilst ultimately sandwich in your house between a trader Jos and then Ella Fitness after she died very began packing up her house and he looked for things. That would confirm. Mrs, is Masefield crazy stories about her past. He never found anything about her gaping dachau or carrying for any war orphans, but he did find a Benny Goodman record with a written inscription that said to my cousin Edith with Love Benny after people
and out that Edith MACE had left her house to bury Martin. There were some who called him an opportunist. Ultimately it hard for anyone other than bury to know at his motivations were, but for what it's worth, I did talk to a couple of the home healthcare workers who took, care of MRS Maes Field before she died, and they both had a very high opinion of him said he was there every day when no one else was and that he seem to care deeply for MRS Maes field. Mary eventually sold Edith Macefield House to an investor who had various plans for it, none of which have materialised and recently the same guy asked Mary if you'd be interested in buying back, he said no If I did, Edith would probably year probably haunt me for that He told me to hold out until I got my praise. And then to you, no use,
money to help get my kids through school. The houses are avoided, boarded up now and no ensure what will happen to it, which is sad to some people but very says MRS Maes Field didn't care what happened to the house after she died but she never really cared about the bigger story that the outside world had created about her. She had her personal reasons for staying in her house, and they had nothing to do with that narrative. Whatever her reasons were for doing it? She stood her ground and she became a symbol whether she wanted to or not. There is even a tete You shop in Seattle, that does a special tattoo in honour of the legacy of Edith Mayfield its
picture of a little house and underneath it the word steadfast. Ninety nine percent? Invisible! That's pretty this week by Katy mingle, with same Greenspan, Avery trouble, men and new roman Mars. We are project
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.