Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
April 18, 2024 ·  4 min read

14 Times Stubborn Homeowners Refused to Move

This article explores 14 fascinating stories of homeowners who refused to budge when faced with powerful developers and government entities. We’ll delve into their motivations, the tactics employed by the opposing forces, and the often unexpected consequences.

1. Edith Macefield: The House that Became a Mall Island

Edith Macefield's home
Image Credits: Twitter/Hardywolf359

At 84, Edith Macefield became a local hero. Developers offered her a million dollars for her farmhouse, but she refused. The result? A shopping mall built around her tiny house is a testament to her unwavering determination.

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2. Mary Cook Holds Her Ground in Manhattan

Mary Cook's home.
Image Credits: wirednewyork

A widow facing an onslaught of developers, Mary Cook stood firm, refusing to sell her beloved Manhattan apartment even as neighboring buildings fell. Her story highlights the emotional attachment residents can have to their homes.

3. Vera Coking Says No (Twice) to Millions

Vera Coking's home
Image Credits: Jack Boucher Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Vera Coking twice rejected lucrative offers for her property, even as a casino and limousine parking lot materialized around her. This case raises questions about fair compensation and the power dynamics between homeowners and corporations.

4. Macy’s Maneuvers Around Siegel-Cooper

Macy's Departmental Store
Image Credits: Irving Underhill Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Macy’s dream of becoming the world’s largest department store was thwarted by a strategic move from rival Siegel-Cooper, who purchased a key corner lot, forcing Macy’s to build around it. This story showcases the chess game that can unfold between competing businesses during development projects.

5. St. Joske’s: A Church that Wouldn’t Be Bullied

St. Joske's
Image Credits: Clipper471 Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When offered a hefty sum, Saint Joseph Catholic Church refused to sell their property to Joske’s of Texas. This act of defiance earned them the enduring nickname “St. Joske’s,” a symbol of community spirit.

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6. The Wu Family: A Home Becomes an Island in a Shopping Mall

The Wu Family's Home
Image Credits: venture160

The Wu family’s unwavering stance against a lowball offer resulted in their home becoming an island in a newly built shopping mall. This case sheds light on the tactics developers sometimes use to pressure homeowners.

7. Randal Acker Thwarts TriMet with Legal Might

Randal Acker's home
Image Credits: Visitor7 CC BY-SA 3.0

Lawyer Randal Acker used his legal expertise to save his home, nicknamed the Figo House, from demolition for a university project. This story highlights the importance of legal recourse for homeowners facing eminent domain.

8. Guangzhou Apartment Block Residents Defy the Government

The Guangzhou apartment blocks
Image Credits: chinadaily

An apartment block and a home in Guangzhou stand defiant, encircled by an overpass. This story showcases the challenges faced by governments when acquiring land for infrastructure projects.

9. Luo Baogen: A Duck Farmer Stands Up to the System

Lu Baogen's Home
Image Credits: nationalpost

Luo Baogen refused to sell his home for a fraction of what it cost him to build, forcing the government to build a highway around it. This story highlights the human cost of development and the fight for fair compensation.

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10. Austin Spriggs Cashes In After Saying No

Austin Spriggs' Home
Image Credits: thecityfix

Austin Spriggs initially rejected a $3 million offer for his property, eventually selling for an even higher price. This case showcases the potential for negotiation and the importance of considering long-term value.

11. Unbeatable Asking Price Creates an Architectural Oddity

The Victoria Hotel with two unbought houses in the middle.
Image Credits: Roeland Koning

A hotel was built around two houses whose owners demanded an exorbitant price. This story highlights the impact of homeowner demands on the final form of development projects.

12. The Thirsty Beaver: A Bar Says Cheers to Development

The Thirsty Beaver
Image Credits: Reddit/AllCarsEatGas

A small dive bar, The Thirsty Beaver, stood its ground amidst an encroaching apartment complex. This story showcases the tenacity of small businesses and their ability to adapt to changing surroundings.

13. A Nail House Halts Construction in China

A nail house in China stopping construction.
Image Credits: China Stringer Network

A disagreement over compensation left a house standing in the middle of a newly built road in China. This story highlights the challenges of reaching fair agreements with homeowners during infrastructure projects.

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14. A Split Decision on St. Patrick Street

54-1/2 St. Patrick Street, Canada

This story showcases a truly bizarre outcome. When one resident of a duplex refused to sell, the developer opted to demolish half the building, leaving a strangely divided structure.

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