5 Impressive Things Built Entirely Out Of Spite
Jesus once said, "Love is cool and all, but with spite, all things are possible." And that dude was right. If you hate someone or something enough, you will find a way to show it, no matter how much time it takes or how much money it costs. These five stories prove it. As for whether or not their actions were justified, we'll leave that up to you.
Flipping The Bird With 700 Pounds Of Pine
The problem with shooting somebody a raised middle finger is that it's so limited. At any given moment, a human can only flip off a tiny fraction of the people they believe truly deserve it. If only there was a better way.
That brings us to Ted Pelkey. He wanted to build an 8,000-square-foot garage for his business in Westford, Vermont. The town did not want that. For ten years, they continued to not want that. They stood in the way of every attempt Pelkey made to get the proper permits, until he'd finally had enough.
Rather than shit on the mayor's doorstep like a rational person, Pelkey spent $4,000 to get a 700-pound block of pine and have it carved into a massive hand raising its middle finger, which he set atop a 16-foot pole. Now, every single day, the people of Westford wake up to Pelkey flipping them off en masse. If people work the night shift, that's OK, because he installed floodlights to ensure it's a 24-hour "fuck you."
Despite their successful obstruction of his garage, the town is unable to fight Pelkey's vengeance. Since the finger isn't an ad, it qualifies as art and therefore has greater legal protections. It's Pelkey's constitutional right to flip off his whole town, and they have to just deal with it.
Erecting A 40-Foot Fence Solely To Piss Off A Neighbor
Petty rich people are the closest thing real life gets to Disney villains. Like Charles Crocker, a millionaire living in San Francisco, who in 1876 decided that he needed a giant fence to fuck over a single hard-working immigrant.
Crocker wanted an entire city block for his home, because of course he did, being the villain in a cartoon about the importance of friendship. And he probably would've gotten it, if not for Nicholas Yung, a German immigrant who lived on the same block. While Crocker was able to snatch up all the other property, Yung wouldn't sell. Crocker offered him $6,000, but Yung wanted $12,000. Crocker went to $9,000, but Yung wouldn't budge. Note: In modern San Francisco, these amounts would rent the average studio apartment for about 30 minutes.
Because Crocker hadn't invested in anything like maturity, he decided to build a 40-foot fence on three sides of Yung's property, effectively putting his home in a box. Thanks to this, Yung's entire home probably only got about two hours of direct sunlight, forcing him to apparently use candles to light the place all day. Crocker was so pissed off that he effectively took the center of the Solar System away from Yung.
Eventually, Yung packed up and moved to a different property he owned, but he refused to sell his boxed-in home, and it stayed in the family for years afterward, even after he died. It wasn't until 1902 that the family sold the lot and Crocker's family bought it. Four years later, the entire block was leveled by an earthquake, proving that nature does spite better than anyone.
Keeping The Smallest Plot Of Land In NYC (To Piss Off NYC)
Spite doesn't always have to manifest itself in large-scale projects. Sometimes it can come to form in stuff as small as the Hess Triangle, a tiny slice of "up yours" from New Yorker David Hess, who got the screw job from the city and refused to take it with anything bordering on quiet dignity.
Hess was a property owner in New York in 1913 when officials opted to tear down a massive 11-block swath of the city in order to widen streets and build the subway system. Back then, the city just did shit like that, and if you didn't like it, all you could do is complain to your local bodega cat, probably. Hess tried to fight the city, but they destroyed his building anyway, along with many others. However, in the aftermath, it was discovered that a small triangle of Hess' property, one that was about 2x2x2 feet, had been left untouched. Hess was now the owner of the smallest plot of land in New York City.
The city asked Hess to donate the tiny speck of property to them, but Hess instead installed a plaque in the triangle that read: "PROPERTY OF THE HESS ESTATE WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN DEDICATED FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES." That was 1922 speak for "EAT SHIT. YOU AIN'T GETTIN' THIS." Hess even had to pay taxes to keep the plaque there, but it was worth it just to continually assure the city of New York how much they sucked.
Building An Entire House To Keep People Out Of An Alley
There's some legal speak that's worth becoming acquainted with: malicious erection. It doesn't mean what you're hoping it means -- it refers to any structure, like a house or a fence, that is built entirely out of spite. And perhaps the best example of this is a tiny house in Alexandria, Virginia that is locally just called Spite House. See, in 1830, the guy who owned the property next door built this house because of rage. Specifically, rage against horse-drawn wagons. That's understandable, because fuck those wagons.
The 7-foot-wide Spite House used to be an alleyway, until a man who lived next door named John Hollensbury got sick of the nonstop parade of loiterers and wagons rolling through it. The worst part was that the wagons didn't actually fit down the alley, and the walls still bear gouge marks from the bulky bastards scraping past at all hours. So Hollensbury plopped a goddamn house in the middle of it.
You might be wondering why, if it was his property, he didn't just build a fence across it? And if it wasn't his property, why he was allowed to build anything there? Those details have been lost to history, but it seems that claiming it was his living space made it harder for the city to demand it be torn down later (the same reason it's still there to this day). You don't get things done in this world by asking permission, dammit! You put down the bricks and dare the world to stop you.
Building A 60-Foot Monument To "Look Down" On Rich Folk
When does spite end? When you finally decide to give up on your hate? When you become the bigger person? When you die? Well, if you follow the lead of a man named Daniel Moriarty, you'll see that pure spite never needs to have an expiration date.
The story goes that Moriarty moved to New Orleans in the 1800s and married a woman named Mary Farrell. Daniel and Mary were extremely well-off, but unable to break into New Orleans high society because as outsiders, they were still looked down upon. The upper crust only wanted New Orleans purebloods at their bead-tossing, boob-flashing extravaganzas. This really chapped Moriarty's ass, and when his wife passed away, he thought up a suitable method of letting her take her rightful place in the upper echelons of New Orleans society.
Moriarty commissioned the Moriarty Tomb, a preposterously huge monument that was over 60 feet tall, to commemorate his deceased wife. It towered above all other monuments in the historic Metarie Cemetery for the sole purpose of allowing his wife to look down on every blue blood who snubbed her in life. Seeing as it's a giant stone obelisk that features statues of women at each of its four corners (representing faith, hope, charity, and memory), it's a stunning way to tell the world, "Fuck you for not inviting us to your party."
It is really is hard to convey the sheer scale of this thing. It cost $185,000 (about $5 million in today's money), and required New Orleans to build an entirely new railroad line just to haul in all the marble. Spending millions and forcing the world to change around you just to get back at the wealthy for being unfriendly to your wife? That's kind of heartwarming.
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