Here are a couple of mansions in San Francisco, on of which was built by Charles Crocker of the "big 4" (including Sanford, Huntington, and Hopkins) who built the western half of the transcontinental railroad (don't be fooled -- the railroad itself, forced years ahead of its time by government policy, was a financial mess. The big 4 made their real money in the construction company that built the railroad, and in real estate and ancillary businesses at the railroad's terminus).
Note the thing that looks like a four-story high wall in the back corner of the near mansion. What is that? Its a four-story high wall. Crocker was ticked off the last building owner on the block did not sell to him. So he built a "spite wall" on his property on three sides of the building to block its views. Abusive, I suppose, and used by some to talk about what the rich could get away with in that era. But consider that in the current era, Crocker would just go to the government and get it to condemn the building and hand the property to him, in the Kelo logic that he would pay more taxes on the property. Rich people have more power today to abuse their relationship with government for the simple fact that the government has a lot more power to be commanded.
As I tell people all the time, if you want to limit the special powers the rich wield by influencing politics, the only solution is to limit the power of the government.
From this cool 360 panorama of San Francisco