Because money can’t buy everything…
There’s something so wonderfully stirring in the resilience shown by houses resisting the pressure of invasive property developers. Be it the symbol of the fight against gentrification, the triumph of sentimental worth over financial greed, or something else entirely, we collectively find pride and reverence in the unshakeable perseverance of the little guy.
It’s why this very concept has become a plotline that has been used time and time again in narratives. Throughout the history of cinema, you’ll find numerous examples of corporate giants attempting to consume a humble home and replace it with a shopping complex or apartment and condo buildings of some sort.
Whether it’s the 1987 science fiction movie Batteries Not Included, the 1999 family comedy Stuart Little, or more recently the 2009 Oscar-winning Pixar movie Up, they all have us rooting in some way for the protagonist in their fight against corporate peer pressure and invasive development. It’s safe to say the large majority of audiences are imbued with an adoration for the character’s unwavering loyalty to their homestead to the extent that these characters are often elevated to folk hero statures.
This is certainly the case for the film Up which galvanized people to celebrate a Seattle “holdout house” owned by Edith Macefield. Though not actually the inspiration for the movie itself, the parallels with an octogenarian owner refusing a $1m offer and fending off developers hit home with many. So much so in fact, that Disney publicists chose to attach balloons to the roof in the build-up to Up‘s release. An act that then inspired many to continue tying their own balloons to the chain-link fence many years later.
#Up @Disney @UPMovieFans I found “the” house while driving by. The Edith Macefield home. She refused the $1M offer on her 108-year-old farmhouse. She died at age 86 in 2008. And there the house stands, balloons and all. #EdithLives #Up #BalloonsRemain #Ballard pic.twitter.com/VeyfQoJMfF
— Prismoracle (@Oracle98122) November 2, 2021
The contrast between the surrounding urban development that dominates the landscape and the now-iconic charm of Edith’s aged home is just one example of many similar situations across the country. Along with the help of Doorways of Chicago we have put together some similar examples in Chicago!
Let us know what you think and if you have any information about these buildings please get in touch to tell us more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. W. North Ave. near Damen in Wicker Park
2. 1745 N Clybourn Ave in Lincoln Park
3. N. Sheffield Ave. near Belmont in Lakeview
4. 165 W. Superior in River North (Between LaSalle and Wells)
5. N. Damen at Armitage in Bucktown
6. W. North Ave. near Damen in Wicker Park
7. S. Bell Ave & Polk in Tri-Taylor
8. 1800 block of W. Belmont in Roscoe Village
9. 2600 block of N. Orchard St. in Lincoln Park
10. 2100 block of N. Magnolia Ave. in Lincoln Park
11. 1600 block of N. Oakley in Wicker Park
12. 2301 N Seminary Ave. in Lincoln Park
13. W. Diversey Pkwy near Sheridan Road in Lakeview
14. 4400 block of N. Damen in North Center
15. 1600 block of S. Allport in Pilsen
*This article was made in collaboration with Doorways of Chicago: a small Chicago-based business offering photo prints, greeting card collections, and spring, summer, and fall architecture walking tours. Originally an Instagram venture, Doorways of Chicago shares a passion for vintage, historic, and iconic architecture from places across the USA and around the world.