Nothing says “I hate you” like a home built purely out of spite. While most people get back at their neighbours in subtle, passive-aggressive ways, some prefer a more permanent route. One that will ruin their neighbours’ lives—and their property value—forever.
They’re called spite homes, and they’re the ultimate revenge tactic. It’s tough to construct a spite house these days, with all the building code and home insurance barriers to break through, but if can pull it off, your house will serve as a permanent reminder of your hard work and general awesomeness.
Alameda Spite House - Alameda, California
At the turn of the 20th century, Charles Froling inherited a large portion of land at the corner of Broadway and Crist Streets. He had planned to build his dream house on the property, but the City of Alameda had other plans: They took away a large chunk of the land to build a street, leaving Froling with just a tiny strip. To get back at the city and his unsympathetic neighbour, Froling built a house 10 feet wide, 54 feet long and 20 feet high on what was left of his land. The house is still standing and occupied.
Sam Kee Building - Vancouver, British Columbia
The Sam Kee Building is the shallowest commercial building in the world, thanks to a land-grubbing move made by the City of Vancouver. In 1912, the city stole all but 2 metres of a property to widen Pender Street, making commercial use of the land impossible—or so they thought. A year later, the landowners built a narrow, steel-framed building measuring just 4’11” deep. To make the most of what they had, they installed bay windows and extended the basement (which originally housed public baths) beneath the sidewalk.
Virginia City Spite House - Virginia City, Nevada
In the 1950s, two miners were caught up in a bitter feud. There was so much hatred between them that when one miner bought land and built a house, the other miner relocated his house right next door. Less than 12 inches away, to be exact. Both houses are still standing and occupied.
Skinny House - Boston, Massachusetts
During the Civil War era, two brothers inherited a plot of land from their father. While one brother was away serving in the military, the other brother built a lavish home, leaving the soldier with only a sliver of property. When the brother returned, he built an incredibly narrow 4-story house that blocked his brother’s sunlight and destroyed his view. At its widest point, the house spans just 9.2 feet.
Hollensbury Spite House - Alexandria, Virginia
In 1830, John Hollensbury’s home bordered an alley that saw an annoying amount of wagon traffic and loiterers. To keep the nuisances away, he blocked the alley with a 7-foot wide, 25-foot deep house, using the existing brick walls for the sides of his new home. The 2-story house is still standing and occupied today, and you can even see gouges from wagon-wheel hubs in the living room walls.
Montlake Spite House - Seattle, Washington
In 1925, a neighbour made a horrendously low offer for a tiny piece of land adjacent to his property. The owner of the property for sale was so offended that he built an 860 square foot house out of spite. The house, just 55 inches wide at the south end and 15 feet wide at the north end, blocked the neighbour’s open space and cut him off from 24th Street entirely.