Boston’s Skinny House Is For Sale, But New England Has 4 Other “Spite Houses”!

Legend has it that Boston’s famous Skinny House at 44 Hull Street in the North End was built out of spite in the 1870’s by one of two brothers returning home from the Civil War. Both siblings had inherited the plot of land from their father. When one built a large home on the site without consulting the other, the betrayed brother had the Skinny House constructed just to block the views of the harbor and natural light to his treacherous sibling’s new pad.

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Now, a phone call to Cabot & Company could make this quirky, historic home yours for $895,000! The Skinny Spite House offers four stories and 1,116-square-feet of living space. It is 10.4 feet at its widest on the outside and just over 6 feet at its narrowest on the inside.

This home is the only New England “spite house” I recall hearing about in my childhood, but there are actually four others – we New Englanders are a spiteful bunch! Three are located in Massachusetts, and one originally located in Phippsburg, Maine was later moved to Rockport.

1. The Pink House, Newburyport, MA

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There are two major reasons for bad blood between loved ones – sex and money. This case involves a little of both! According to a 2015 piece in the New York Times, the home was built in 1925 as part of a divorce agreement. The wife conceded to let her husband remain in their home as long as he built her an exact replica. Apparently she forgot to specify where to build the home, so the husband had it constructed in the middle of a salt marsh without access to fresh, running water! The home is located in what is now the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island.

2. O’Reilly Spite House, Cambridge, MA

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Have you ever feuded with a neighbor about where the property line is located or his leaves blowing onto your lawn? Ever been mad enough to build a house over it? Francis O’Reilly was! In 1908 his neighbor apparently refused to buy his West Cambridge land so he commissioned an 8-foot wide and 37-foot long building on the plot in retaliation. Annie Hall Interiors now resides in the quaint space at 260 Concord Street.


3. The Old Spite House, Marblehead, MA

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In another brotherly dispute over inherited land, The Old Spite House was built around 1716 and is thought to be one of the first spite houses in the country. One of the siblings built his stately home with views of Salem Sound. Unfortunately, he did not get his brother’s consent first. The 10-foot wide home was built with the sole intent of blocking the lovely water views.


4. The McCobb Spite House, Phippsburg, Maine

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In a shocking twist, the McCobb spite house came about as the result of a mother-son feud. Thomas McCobb was convinced his mother and step brother were cheating him out of his inheritance when they took over the nicest mansion in Phippsburg. To get his revenge, he had a huge Federal-style home built right in front of theirs in 1806. A Philadelphia buyer has since purchased the spite mansion and ordered it moved to Rockport, Maine where it still stands.

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