Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skinny House - Boston

When I walked the Freedom Trail to its end in September, I stopped at Copps Hill Burial Ground. When I turned around, I looked into this strangely looking wooden building, squeezed between two large red brick buildings. Little did I know, at that point, that I was facing one of Boston's less known landmarks - the Skinny House!!

Its origin goes back to the 1860's - the time of the American Civil war. It is said to be built as a Spite House, i.e. a house built to uphold a small piece of land, and to irritate other people with land stakes.

There are two stories explaining this existence of this strange building.

One says that the Skinny House was built by one out of two brothers sent out as a soldier, and upon his return found that his brother had built a large house taking up most of the land, leaving him with a small plot. He was said to have built it to ruin the view from his brothers house.

Another source says that the Skinny House was erected around 1874 as a part of a feud between two neighbours. The plot appears strangely enough in The Hopkins Atlas of 1874, Boston Proper which may support the last story.

The Skinny House plot is, even in a city area with little space, tiny. The interior space has a width of between 6 and 9 feet, and at the narrowest point a grown up man may touch both walls with his fingers.

Sadly, you may not enter, but if you walk the Freedom Trail, you may turn around and take a peek of 44 Hull Street yourself.

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