No full moon tonight over #92 Second Street. This was taken on October 27th over the barn in the back yard. But it will be creepy enough with ten brave guests spending the night at the scene of the crime. After a tour of Oak Grove, hot cider and doughnuts, a tour of the house will begin at 8, interrupted by a few fearless trick-or treaters. There may even be a seance at midnight, just in case anyone “on the other side” wishes to leave us a clue. Happy Halloween!
There may not have been stretch limos in 1893 to bring Lizzie back to Fall River in style, but the vehicle which bore her away in triumph was the aristocrat of all carriages- a barouche. This elegant conveyance sported a half roof which could collapse convertible-style if the weather was fair. The photo below is of a two-horse 1890 barouche although a larger barouche-landau might have a matched double set of smart-looking horses, heads held high with a checking rein. The landau model had a full roof and complete enclosure for passengers.
After some clever diversionary tactics to throw off the throngs waiting for her exit from court, a party consisting of Lizzie’s attorney, former governor George Robinson, sister Emma, Lizzie and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Holmes entered the barouche and left for a welcome home party on Pine Street, Fall River in Lizzie’s honor at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Holmes. Lizzie acknowledged the well-wishers with a wave of her white hanky. One might recall the pile of unironed hankies Lizzie was ironing on the diningroom table on the day of the murders!
As she sped away, the rented hack carriage which had brought her back and forth from jail pulled to the front, the same faithful old sorrel in harness. But the crowd gathered at the curb was disappointed, for Lizzie had outfoxed them in a move worthy of a modern day Britney Spears!
A sorrel horse, a shade of chestnut with lighter chestnut mane and tail.
Most probably a larger barouche, passengers facing each other, was needed to accommodate the large Borden party of 5 in comfort.
(source reference, Boston Globe June 21, 1893)
Just at the end of Main Street, there is a gentle curve which follows the water. The view of the little boats and across the water of New Bedford is superb. On the shore at this point is a plaque marking the spot where famed marine artist William Bradford had his studio. Fall River had its share of fruit and flower-painting artists, but Fairhaven can boast a bevy of artists inspired by their waterfront surroundings. Bradford’s paintings may be found in galleries all over the country with canvases in New Bedford at the Whaling Museum and in Boston at the Museum of Fine Art. This painting has been a part of a special exhibit at the Whaling Museum.
New Bedford Harbor, 1858
The Panther 1874 mentioned on the plaque above
A most important element in the Borden case involves the washing of the first floor windows by the Borden’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan. Bridget was accustomed to doing the windows about twice a month inside and out. The house was located on a busy street with much horse and carriage traffic. On the morning of August 4th, Bridget had been asked by Abby Borden to wash the windows -a job which she commenced about 9: 15 with a brush and pole and pail, telling Lizzie she could lock the screen side door and that she could get water from the barn. Later on Bridget came in the house again for a dipper. The screen door on the side of the house was possibly unlocked for the entire time Bridget was doing windows and chatting up the Kelly maid, Mary Doolan, next door. Had Lizzie locked the door, entry by an intruder would have been effectively blocked. Bridget had commenced washing the lower right quadrant of this window pictured above when Mr. Borden pounded on the front door to be let in somewhere around 10:40-10:45 a.m. As her hands were wet, Bridget had some trouble manipulating the triple lock, swearing at it under her breath. Bridget would at first say Lizzie laughed at her from the top of the stairs – later she would say “I don’t know where the girl was” when Andrew came home. This is one of only four original casement double-hung windows in the house. Of particular interest is the “pinch lock” which must be compressed in order to slide the window up and down in the wooden groove. All other windows have been replaced with modern screens and fittings.
Although Dorothy Cox Candy Shop was not around in Fairhaven for Emma’s visit in 1892, it has been a favorite stopping place for over 75 years for those who crave quality treats.
http://www.dorothycox.com/ No trip to Fairhaven is complete without a stop at Dorothy’s which is easy to find, located on Huttleston Avenue (a.k.a. Route 6) and is easy to find from New Bedford as well by just going over the Rt. 6 bridge. Seasonal goodies, beautful holiday displays, and hand-dipped candies lure locals and visitors from farther afield. The current green apple on a stick dipped in caramel and coated with milk chocolate is not to be missed. It’s a good thing!
On Friday, October 19th, a film crew arrived to shoot interior footage of the Borden house and interview staff for a special Halloween “Spooky Places” segment for the Montel Williams Show. The show will feature an appearance by reknown psychic Sylvia Browne and the co-owner of Second Street, LeeAnn Wilber. The episode may be aired either Wednesday, October 24 or October 31st. The date will be announced as soon as it is finalized.
Apparently this black cat is not afraid of hatchets or chloroform. As the legend goes, Lizzie may have tried either on Abby Borden’s kitten. Max, the sleek jet black kitty who lives in Dr. Kelly’s house next door, makes frequent trips to visit the Borden barn and welcomes visitors and overnight guests at the house. From time to time Max startles the staff by creeping stealthily into the cellar and meowing plaintively.
A painting or print which Lizzie allegedly gave to her handyman in partial payment for work done seems to have its origin in a very popular and often duplicated print of the 1880’s. This one pictured below is now appearing on EBAY, the auction closes tomorrow, and is an oil copy. Here is what the seller has to say :
“This decorative 1880s painting based on a popular print depicts a sorrowful young woman seated in a flat bottomed boat in the moonlight. It is painted in oil on academy board and appears to be unsigned. The piece measures 16 x 27 ½” overall with the back rabbet opening of the frame 12 1/2” x 24”. The frame has wonderful untouched original gilt and lemon gilt surface with minimal wear and loss. I see no overpaint. ” Did Lizzie have a copy- or the original? Was this print of any particular significance to Lizzie, or merely a popular print of the day like so many others?
December will usher in exciting new improvements at #92. All of the moldings, doors and trim will be carefully sanded and repainted by restoration professionals during the first week of the month, period lighting fixtures have been ordered for the downstairs rooms, and Second Street will once again be on Fall River’s Christmas House Tour!
On the way to Fall River for visitors coming up from the south, there are a few memorable landmarks along the way. For decades The Big Blue Bug has been a sure sign you are about 20 minutes from Lizzie’s house. Unless of course it is a Friday afternoon or ANY afternoon between 3-6 p.m. when Providence traffic, notoriously BAD from Thurber’s Avenue through Gano Street is at full throttle. Coming up 95 north, everything goes along at snappy pace until exit 18. The 195East turnoff for the Cape and Fall River is exit 20, so this may have something to do with the problem. Construction cones have festooned the highway in this area all summer and show no signs of going away soon as the flyover continues to arc its way over 95.
THE BUG (garlanded with white lights at Christmas)
Another sure indication you are getting closer is the funny Welcome to Massachusetts sign with the fat Plymouth turkey with tailfeathers along the R.I.-MA. stateline. But the all- time #1 indicator is seeing that rusty green span of the Braga Bridge through your front windshield, then the unmistakable twin domes of old Saint Anne’s on the right. You are now in Lizzieland.
After record-breaking heat last week, the cold front finally arrived on Friday, pushing temps into the 40’s at night and 60’s during the day. The leaves brightened up overnight from the soaking rain and glistened in the early morning Saturday sun. All around the city people are preparing for Halloween, with some of the grand old Painted Ladies pulling out all the stops. It was a great weekend to be driving around.
Doing business till the bitter end, Andrew Borden, (who was stopped near the Granite Block by Jonathan Clegg on the morning of August 4th), went to inspect a window in the South Main Street shop Clegg was waiting to occupy, just before heading home to his death. He was thrifty and conscientious up to his last hour!
They are in the guest room, in the parlor, in the Borden’s room, in the kitchen and gift shop. The “Phantom Kitty” has taken on a life of its own as guests in Abby and Andrew’s bedroom swear they hear a cat meowing plaintively in the walls or jumping up at dawn on the foot of the old Renaissance Revival bed and “treading” and purring loudly. When unnerved guests dare to have a look- there is nothing there! Some guests even leave catnip mice or balls for the Phantom Feline in hopes of being favored with a nocturnal visit.
All of this seems to stem from the story that Lizzie had either chloroformed or decapitated Abby’s kitten many years ago. Naturally black cats are unlucky as the legend goes, so Abby’s cat has now become the black kitten. True or false? Hard to know, except that Lizzie loved animals and left a great deal of money for their care in her will. Still- it makes a great Halloween story!
On the advice of their attorney, Emma and Lizzie offered a reward of $500 for the writer of the note, the person who was “sick in town”, or the boy who delivered the note telling Abby she was needed on the morning of August 4, 1892. Nobody ever came forward to claim the small 1892 fortune.
When the Lizzie Borden B&B opened, the missing note was soon placed on the sitting room mantel by Sally McGinn which is still there to this day as a lucky talisman for the house.
Among many reasons to visit the town of Fairhaven, one must be the magnificent town hall, one of several municipal structures owing its existence to town benefactor, Henry H. Rogers. Just across the street from the Millicent Library, the town hall has spectacular English oak panelling and fittings in the Gothic Revival style, a second floor theatre/auditorium which was dedicated by no lesser mortal than Mark Twain himself in 1894, and sweeping expanses of jewel -toned stained glass lancet windows. The exteriors, are equally impressive, feature molded terracotta arches, tiled mosaic entries and breath-taking architectural details. This grand edifice, and the library as well, were in the building stages at the time of Emma Borden’s visit to the Brownells on Green Street in the summer of 1892.
The recent record heat in the Fall River-Providence area over the past week brought brilliant hot sun all week, reflecting through the stained glass suncatchers hanging in the Borden Barn Giftshop at #92 Second St.. The ornaments are made by a local artisan and are heavy glass with leading. The hatchet has a L.A.B. monogram. The items are available online at the website.
A recent addition to the Borden parlor on Second Street is a painting which has been attracting many critiques and comments from visitors and overnight guests. Michelle Marie F. Frament is the name on the artist’s business card. The artist has an almost iconic look about some of her canvases, and her portrayal of Lizzie has produced some lively discussion : everything from “Picasso-like” to “Her hands are too big and those arm positions are impossible!” The painting will be on display for a limited time.
It was a good day ebaying. This short play set at Maplecroft was a great buy at $4.10- of course the shipping from the U.K. was more than the cost of the slim volume. It is a first edition, but the condition is not prime, thus the price reflects that. Here is what the seller has to say:
This is an unusual play as it is written for two men and six women. Plays where the women outnumber men are few and far between. Set in 1905, it is several years after Lizzie Borden’s trial and aquittal, following the murder of her father and stepmother. She lives with her sister in another house in the same district. One evening she invites a number of players from a visiting touring company for the evening. They re-enact the circumstances of the crime, playing various characters involved. Later the Bordens receive an unexpected visit from Bridget Sullivan who was their servant at the time of the crime, and a crucial witness. It transpires that afterwards Lizzie gave her a sum of money. Why? To conceal her own guilt? Or was Bridget, in fact, the murderess? No firm conclusions are possible, but as the final curtain suggests, this solution might at least be imaginable.Characters:
- Emma Borden
- Nance O’Neil
- Tom Fuller
- Annie Beale
- Henry Webb
- Lizzie Borden
- The Visitor
The action takes place in the living room of ‘Maplecroft’ – a large house in Fall River, Massachusetts, USA, 1905.59 pages including all the usual additions one would expect from a French Acting Edition. Published by Samuel French, 1980. This is the first edition.