Plum Island Pink House- The Ultimate Spite House

If you live in North Shore or Merrimack Valley MA and have headed to Plum Island you have passed the Plum Island pink house.  It is certainly memorable as it sits all alone in the flat salt marshes of Newbury. 

It’s an image you don’t forget.  The Pink House, even today is stark and sits all alone surrounded by the salt marshes of Newbury,

And, the house certainly gets the imagination running. It is an American Four Square Home from the early 20th century.

As for me, an avid landscape photographer, after doing the full-time real estate gig, it is certainly a stop for some great photographs.

I actually have run into the backstory on the Newbury pink house on several occasions over the past several years. 

Most recently I ran into an article on houses that have been built to piss someone off, where the iconic pink house of Newbury MA sat first on the list.  One of the intrigues of the pink house in Newbury is the fact it was built out of spite!

Whats a Spite House?

A spite house is built or enhanced to annoy someone, usually a neighbor. 

It can be a house that is built or has had an addition to block a view of a neighbor, is painted a god awful color, built not to fit into the neighborhood etc….  Whether it is built or enhanced it is meant to get under someone’s skin.

Seems like an awfully expensive act to get even with someone, but people do it!  Think its not common?  Here are 4 houses built out of spite in Massachusetts.

The Plum Island Pink House- A Local Spite House

The Plum Island Pink House is iconic.  You can’t miss it as you travel from Newburyport to Newbury onto Plum Island.  Just about everyone in the area recognizes it and is intrigued by it.

It sits out on the barren marshlands on the right as you approach Plum Island.  The pink house just feels so alone out in the sea of marsh grass.  Abandoned and in disrepair, the house feels so vulnerable to the weather as there is absolutely nothing around it to block the weather coming off the river, ocean and marsh.

So the back story is the house was part of a divorce agreement back in the 1920’s. 

A wife agreed to divorce her husband who was an attorney.  As part of the divorce she insisted the husband built the exact duplicate of the four square home they owned together in downtown Newburyport.

Here is the rub.  She didn’t specify where the house was to be built in her poorly drafted divorce agreement regarding the home.

So the ex-husband built her a house in the worst spot he could think of…. out on the lonely salt marshes on the way to Plum Island with no running, freshwater to boot!!

Think how lonely the house sits in 2017…. it must have been way worse in back in 1925.

The Newbury Pink House Today

Today the pink house sits long abandoned and is owned by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. 

It has been slated for demolition to make for other uses of the 9.2 acre parcel by the National Park Service. But with much local displeasure, the demolition has been delayed.

The fate of Newbury’s pink house is still undecided.  Many would like to see it rehabbed in its original state and used an artist’s center.  Only time will tell us what will come of the pink house.

Make The Visit to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you live in Northesastern Massachusetts and have not visited Newburyport and Plum Island take some time to do so.  And, of course, you won’t miss the Plum Island pink house along the way

Newburyport is a tourist coastal town with tons of quaint shops and plenty of restaurants while Plum Island offers miles of National Wildlife Reserve and some great beaches. 

Personally, I love the Sandy Point State Reservation at the end of the island.  It is peaceful, quiet and absolutely stunning.  Parking is limited  but it make for the best beach day if you can get their early enough to park.

So how far would you go to spite someone?

Find Homes for Sale on Plum Island



Sandy Point State Reservation

Sunrise at Sandy Point State Reservation

Sunset at Sandy Point State Reservation in Newbury MA

Joppa flats from Newburyport

Plum Island Pink House- The Ultimate Spite House is provided by Kevin Vitali a real estate agent serving Tewksbury as well as the Merrimack Valley region. If you would like to sell your home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.


Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding area- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford

One comment

  1. Your photographs are spectacular, breathtaking, beautiful. Thank you. I just read your article about the pink house. I was intrigued about the house upon visiting Plum Island resently( June 27 2020 ) My daughter and son in law have just recently settled in Newbury. Abandoned houses have always intrigued me. The fact that it is pink holds a personal significance. I intended to do a water color of the pink house for a mini book I am currently working on for my first grandchild. However I wanted to learn about it’s history. But I must say my intrigue is not satisfied. Still questions remain. But still I will paint in miniature for this book the pink house for my granddaughter.

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