Maplecroft

photos, floor plan and facts about the house on The Hill

  • Lizzie’s Boston Bulls

    terrier.jpgPine Ridge Pet Cemetery has the distinction of being the oldest animal burial ground operated by a humane society in America.  Located in Dedham, Massachusetts, the memorial park is the final resting place for countless beloved pets, including three of Lizzie Borden’s black and white Boston Bull terriers. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893, the year Miss Lizzie and her sister Emma moved into their swank mansion on French Street following Lizzie’s acquittal.  Boston bulls were the lap pet of choice among Boston’s upper crust Back Bay society matrons, so it is no surprise Miss Borden desired the blue blood breed.

    Lizzie’s dogs were all buried  in 1928, the year after her own burial, so were most likely unearthed from the back yard of Maplecroft for a more noble final planting in Dedham.  Miss Borden enjoyed country drives with her dog du jour perched on a little shelf beneath the back seat window.  Her faithful companion was no doubt, a great solace in her lonely hours.  

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    The  barn filled with small pet caskets

  • Lizzie’s Little Salamander

     

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    The casual visitor to Maplecroft may miss the tiny figure on the firescreen of Lizzie Borden’s back bedroom on the second floor.  In the surround of the fireplace opening of the raised-hearth in the corner, sits a cunning metal salamander with a very satisfied little face.  Lizzie added this room for herself above the kitchen, along with her famous bathroom with the hand-painted porcelain bathing tub.  Although a high school drop-out, Lizzie was very well-read.  Did she know the legend of the salamander when she chose her furnishings?  The salamander today is the logo mascot for asbestos workers everywhere, and throughout ancient Greek myth , was the only animal which could go through the fire unscathed.  This is partly true, as salamanders exude a milky substance when exposed to high temperatures, and are rendered, at least briefly, impervious to flame.  This phenomenon was observed over the ages as salamanders  like to hide in logs, and when a fire was ignited, they would be seen scampering out of the flames triumphantly.
    It’s fun to think maybe Lizzie may have been leaving a message, as she did , in fact, go through the “fire” and did not get burned in her acquittal on all charges.  Lucky little salamander. . . .

     

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