ECONOMY OF SPACE
Be it the financial Economy or an economy of space, people have managed to design, build and create within limits that often lead to inspiring results. Presently, it is the financial economy which dictates the size and oppulence of new home construction. But in times passed, there have been other dictates and or inspirations, obcessions or mandates which have given to the odd if not uncomfortable structure. When Ego meets Brick, the following is but yet the scenario.
HOUSE OF SPITE
Built in the year 1830 in Alexandria, Virginia, this two story 7 foot wide home provides a mere 325 square feet of functional living space as it bridges the alleyway between to larger brick buildings to either side. The one to the left, a brick painted white while the one to the left a deep red. That set in the middle a deep blue representing the colors of the nation and the history of the nation.
But the blue brick was built as the locals tell, in spite. Its purpose as it forces itself between the other two, to prevent the horse drawn carriges and vangrants and worse from hiding and gathering between the two others already standing. That in the middle was built by John Hollensburg, owner of the one adjacent for his tolerance had worn thin by that which nestled between.
The blue brick seven foot wide home still remains and is the city “peid de terre” of its present owner Jack Sammis who purchased the home in 1990 for $135,000. There is a small garden in back.
THIN IS IN
Of course where else would one hope to discover the “NATION’S SKINIEST HOUSE IN AMERICA,” but in the fabulous state of California. As if the world was in search of such a novelty. Here she rests at 708 Gladys Avenue at the corner of 7th Street in the Rose Park neighborhood of Long Beach, California. According to both the Guiness Book of World Records along with Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the home was built on a lot encompassing a mere 10 by 50 foot lot.
As the story goes, a man by the name of N. Rummond, received the land as a repayment a $100 loan in 1931. The 860 square foot home was built in response to a bet that “No Habitable Structure Could Be Built On Such a Parcel Land.” The yellow-stucco Tudor style home was completed in 1932 and where it has proudly settled.
In addition to acting as a residence, the building was the address of the Law Practice of William John Cox from 1977-1981. Cox is best known for his work on the Holocaust Denial Case of 1981 where he represented Mel Mermelstein, an Aushwitz Concentration Camp Survivor against those denying the history of the Holocaust.
The residence still sits on its original property now designated, registered and maintained by the Long Beach California Historical Society as a local landmark in 1983. It is now a destination for tourists to the area.
RIGHT IN THE HEART OF GREENWICH VILLAGE
Located at 75 1/2 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village, NYC at 9 1/2 feet wide stands what is locally referred to as the “Narrow House.” The once residence of Puitzer Prize winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay during the early 1920′s then cartoonist William Steig, wife and sister-in-law anthropologist Margaret Mead in 1930, was also home to such well knowns as actors John Barrymore and Cary Grant.
The three story home was built in 1873, the inside functional living space is a mere 8 foot 7 inches. From street entrance to the garden in the back is but 30 feet. According to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, this house was built during the smallpox epidemic for Horatio Gomez who was a trustee for the Hettie Hendricks-Gomez Estate. The home was constructed in between two exsisting buildings then and still located at 75 and 77 Bedford Street. The main floor of the building sawseveral lucrative businesses including cobbler and candymaker over the early years.
In 1952, Kenneth Carroad, a local lawyer & resident, purchased the home in an effort to preserve it from demolition. He and his famiy resided there until 1982 the home was put on the market for sale for $350,000. The house did not sell until 1996 for $270,000 to Cedric Wilson and architect who then put approximately an additional $200,000 in renovations, restorations and upgrades. The home is now enjoyed by tenants who appreciate the history and interest in their home.