Views through the windows
On the morning of August 4th, if you were contemplating murder from inside #92, the first floor was a good place to be, for on the first floor a killer inside could be able to easily watch all four sides around the house without having to unlock doors and run up and down stairs. Lizzie has no confirmable alibi for either murder- but she claims she spent the morning in the kitchen by the stove reading during the interval when Abby Borden was murdered upstairs. With Bridget starting the window-washing on the south end, and Lizzie sitting at the table between the kitchen windows overlooking the south end- she could easily have seen all Bridget was doing. The windows are set so high from the ground, Bridget would not have been able to look inside the house or see anyone standing in a room, from the outside unless that person were standing in the window.
Bridget spent a leisurely time chatting with Mary Doolan, the Kelly maid from next door over by the south side fence (now a wall) which is clearly visible from either south-facing kitchen window. The southeastern kitchen window also has a good view into the Kelly backyard and the east window in the kitchen has an excellent view of the back yard (see 1893 photo below). Bridget got water from the barn. She admits to coming into the sink room via the north side entry once to get a dipper, and says she did not notice Lizzie in the kitchen. This confirmed that the north side screen door was unlocked- which proved a saving grace for Lizzie as an intruder could have gained entry through this door over the space of time it was unlocked, approximately an hour.
A few steps further from the kitchen into the sittingroom would reveal just how Bridget was getting along with the window-washing.
Sittingroom window views on south side, both window aspects.
The dining room windows would have given a view of the driveway, side entry stairs and Mrs. Churchill’s house situated to the north end of the
Borden house. Today, with the removal of the Churchill house, the view is open and reveals much of Second Street and the lawn of the housing complex next door. The view from the north side parlor window also overlooks the driveway and what would have been the Churchill house.
Dining room window, north side
Parlor window, north side view of Second St.
West end of parlor, 1892 view of Dr. Bowen’s House, Boston Express Depot and Second St., one of two west end windows in the parlor. View currently occupied by the new court house.
The kitchen was also the place to be to monitor all the doorways as well, with the cellar door and north screen door (photo below views of both) in plain sight, and the front door on the west end of the house could be heard if opened with a key, from the kitchen.
The curtain is put over the doors in the winter to block drafts. Victorians had such drafty houses without modern insulation. These curtains were usually heavy wool or velvet and were called portieres as they hung at the doors (porte= French for door). It is hard to know whether or not the Bordens ever did this as there seems to be no information on it. In summer, there is no need for them. Occasionally portieres were hung between parlors or reception rooms as a sort of partition or to dress up an archway into another room, but mostly they were the cure for draughts(drafts).
Great photos! It is nice to see the view from
Any idea why there is a curtain over the door?
Did they have one like that in Lizzie’s day?