The Big Story Behind the Skinny House

Skinny House

44 Hull street in the North End has the distinction of being the narrowest house in Boston and one of the narrowest in the country. The Skinny House, as it’s called, is just 10.4 feet at its widest and can only be entered through a small side alley. The home’s narrowest point is 6.2 feet across, short enough for someone to be able to touch both walls at once.

The Legend

According to legend, the land that the house sits upon was given to two brothers as an inheritance by their father. While one was off serving in the Civil War, the other built a large house on the property, leaving just a tiny shred of the remaining land for his brother. When his brother returned from the war to find the scraps he was left with, he decided a little revenge was in order. Despite not having much to work with, he built the narrow house in order to spite his brother, thus blocking the sunlight and view of his brothers’ property.

The house can be found along the Freedom Trail and is near the Old North Church and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

Click here to read the entire Boston Globe article and interview with Simonic and Welton.

Living in the Skinny House

The other dimensions of the house are equally strange. It has five doors for four floors and the second floor is the only one with two rooms: the living room and a bathroom. This makes it the only floor to have a door actually separating rooms. Who would live in such a house? Someone with an architect degree of course! In a 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, then owners Jennifer Simonic and Spencer Welton elaborated on their, “vertical life”.

“We had a party of 10 one New Year’s Eve, and when one person has to go to the bathroom, everyone has to move.” Said Simonic. Welton went on to say, “”Instead of doors, we have floors between each space. … When guests stay over, we put a mattress down on the closet floor. … Except for sleeping in the closet, they seem to like it.”


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