A spite house is a building constructed or modified to irritate neighbors or other parties with land stakes. Spite houses often serve as obstructions, blocking out light or access to neighboring buildings, or as flamboyant symbols of defiance. Because long-term occupation is at best a secondary consideration, spite houses frequently sport strange and impractical structures.
Spite houses are much rarer than spite fences. This is partially attributable to the fact that modern building codes often prevent the construction of houses likely to impinge on neighbors’ views or privacy, but mostly because fence construction is far cheaper than home construction
n 1814, Dr. John Tyler, an eminent ophthalmologist and the first American-born physician to perform a cataract operation, owned a parcel of land near the courthouse square in Frederick, Maryland. The city made plans to extend Record Street south through Tyler’s land to meet West Patrick Street. In fighting the city, Tyler discovered a local law that prevented the building of a road if work was in progress on a substantial building in the path of a proposed road. To spite the city, Tyler immediately had workmen pour a building foundation, which was discovered by the road crews the next morning.