Painted Ladies

  • W&W Top Ten Favorites

    With winter showing no signs of letting up in New England, seems a good time to stay inside by the fire with a few good blogs and web sites to read.  Here are some you may enjoy which include Victoriana, fictional and true crime. It’s hard to narrow it down to just ten, but here’s ten good ones you might have missed.  Hours of reading- pack a lunch!

      1. Murder by Gaslight

    2. Clews– historic true crime

    3. Anne Perry – Detective Pitt in Victorian England, and other great series

    4. 1893 Columbian Expo in Chicago

    5. Victorian Station– all things Victorian

    6. Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes (ASH)

    7. Victoriana– free online magazine, great articles and links

    8.  Historic New England Homes and events

    9.  Victorian Society in America – lectures, events, tours, classes

    10.  Jack the Ripper

  • August 4th means Lizzie Borden in Demand!

    Those interested in the Borden Case will have a week ahead chock-full of things to see and do.  It has been a long time since the conference at Bristol Community College and many who are fascinated with the case and needing a good dose of Bordenalia are heading to Fall River this week to take in as much as possible. Great weather is predicted!



    1.  The Fall River Public Library is hosting a book reading with author Richard Behrens, reading from his new book, Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd.  Costumed cast from the annual Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum August 4th performances, The Pear Essential Players, will attend in character with a few words to say about Wednesday, the 4th on Second Street.


    2.  The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast will have daytime tours on the hour from 11 a.m. -3 p.m. on August 3rd.  Don’t miss the gift shop! Advance tickets are on sale for August 4th performances of CSI Lizzie Borden.  Richard Behrens will also be autographing his book on the 4th in the gift shop. A drawing will be held at the end of the day for a night’s stay for two at the house.  Program GPS devices for 230 Second Street or 230 2nd Street. 


    3.  Oak Grove Cemetery has convenient black arrows on the pavement from the office gate to the Borden plot and is open from early morning until dark. Many other case personalities are buried in the historic Victorian cemetery.


    4.  The Fall River Historical Society will be open with a special augmented Borden exhibit, featuring some items which are generally not on display all the time  This is a must-see on the list for visitors coming to Fall River for the day. The society can be found at the corner of Maple and Rock streets.  There is also a great gift shop selling Lizzie Borden merchandise and books.


    5.  A little drive around the city in the late afternoon might be a great way to end the day.  The Andrew Borden Building is still standing on the corner of Anawan St. and South Main, Lizzie’s little school can also be found in the South End on Morgan Street, and Maplecroft is convenient if you plan to see the cemetery as it is only a short drive from Prospect to French Street. There is much beautiful Victorian architecture to be seen on The Hill and some fantastic restaurants in which to sample the local cuisine for dinner at the end of your day. 

  • Changes at #92

    You can’t miss the changes over the past 3 weeks on Second Street.  All the windows of #92 have been draped with heavy plastic, making the view from inside the house through the windows very eerie.  Much scraping and peeling have left the yard deep in paint flakes as Rhino Shield Paint Co. have stripped the clapboards down to the wood, patched and primed the surface for the final coat which has a lifetime guarantee.  The house will be promoted by the company as an example of their workmanship.

    After the scorching temps of Wednesday, the house got a final touch-up yesterday when any crackling in the primer was scraped away and re-primed.  Color coming soon!  The front door will finally receive its original two-toned scheme which will be fun to see.  Two windows (kitchen and bath on the first floor) have been completely replaced and beautifully framed in wood surrounds.  Getting ready for the busy summer season!

    (front door, 1892 with two shades)

  • Lizzie Borden’s house gets a facelift

    Lots of excitement at #92 this week as the house is stripped back to the raw wood on the clapboards.  For the first time we see the original color of the house which was called “drab”, a grey-olive color.  Since 1996 the house has been tan under McGinn ownership during the opening years of the B&B , and a strong green which was applied in 2004 under new ownership.  The new treatment, called “rhino paint” comes with a lifetime guarantee and is advertised as the toughest paint around. The crew is doing a great job of prep work and the glimpse of the raw wood while the paint is completely removed offers some detail as to the way things are put together.  The side entry porch overhang was not original to the house and was added after the 1892 murders. The new paint color will more accurately match the drab paint color of 1892.  The darker trim paint currently on the house was a very close match to the 1892 color.

  • Preservation Society House Tour

    The weather cooperated this year, with clear blue skies, lots of sun and just a chill in the air to remind us Christmas is two weeks away.  This year decorated trolleys made the round of houses, which helped speed things along and spare weary feet as they climbed the hills of The Hill section of the city.

    Homes on Belmont, Lincoln Ave, Cherry St. and Rock St. threw wide their doors to an appreciative throng of visitors.  Fires crackled merrily, the fragrance of cloves and cinnamon, hot mulled cider and balsam flooded the air as decorations were admired.  Period furnishings, historic photos and mementoes, and homey touches were appreciated by all who were lucky today to enjoy the insides of magnificent homes usually only glimpsed from the street.

    18th century tea service and reproduction epergne

    The Fall River Historical Society outdid itself this year as well, and all agreed that this was the best year ever for the popular house tour.  At 4:30 footsore house tour guests were treated to a concert of holiday music by the Durfee High School String orchestra.  All in all- a perfect day.  Thanks to families participating this year. It was grand!

  • Victorian House Tour 2009 December 12th

    The 2009 Fall River Historical House Tour Event sponsored by the Preservation Society of Fall River !  Start & Program Pickup: The Quequechan Club, 306 North Main St. Enjoy 6 Private Historic Homes, The Fall River Historical Society, Lafayette Durfee House, & The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.  Tickets are $17.00 Saturday December 12, 2009 11:am – 4:pm Advance Tickets Available at: New Boston Bakery Fall River Historical Society ArtCart or call 508-673-4841

  • On the way to Cape May

    vicfashions1cape may

    It’s been a very busy Lizzie Summer and Autumn with plays, lectures, re-enactments, house tours, cemetery tours, and much anticipation about the upcoming Parallel Lives.  Warps & Wefts will be on vacation until October 18th in Victorian Cape May- a place where Lizzie would feel right at home.  Victorian week is an annual Cape May attraction and is rated in the top 100 American events not to miss.

    W&W will return on the 18th with photos of all the Victorian fun, fashions and amazing Painted Ladies!


  • The New Boston Bakery


    One charming and friendly eatery not to miss when visiting Fall River is the New Boston Bakery on New Boston Road.  Breakfast and lunch feature home made pasteries, soups, and sandwiches, prepared fresh on the spot in a cozy decor of lace, teapots and Victoriana.


    The owners, who are preservation- minded, have retained all the old charm of the building and even saved an original stained glass panel.  New Boston Bakery is closed on Sundays.



    Also be sure not to miss the gingerbread gem next door, the former 1890 Leanna Barker Grocery Store which has been beautifully restored.


  • Gargoyles on Rock Street


    It’s no wonder Lizzie Borden wanted to belong to the stylish Central Congregational Church  at 100 Rock Street.  Many of the fine mill owner families from The Hill were congregants there. Listed today on the National Register, the granite, Nova Scotia freestone and red brick edifice was designed by Hartwell and Swazey (also architects of the Academy Building) in the Ruskinian Gothic Style, in 1872. It is the only church in Fall River which features gargoyles on its exterior facades.

  • Herald News Blog


    Just a little late in finding this feature!  The city paper has added a blog with YouTube footage of the recent Victorian Christmas tour. This one features the Historical Society gift shop and recreation of McWhirr’s Department Store.  Hopefully there will be more.

    The link below should take you to the video and article by staff reporter, Debbie Allard.

  • The Return of Victoria!


    It was a red letter day when Victoria magazine returned to the shelves this month.  There are very few publications on the market at present which feature articles on Victorian homes and Victoriana, Victorian Homes and Country Victorian were the last two after the Hearst Company cancelled Victoria a few years ago.  Fans of the glorious magazine, filled with lavish photography went into mourning. Now under a new company management, Victoria has returned as beautiful as ever with features covering all aspects of Victorian life and style. Instead of monthly, the magazine will come out only 6 times a year as it did when it debuted.  There is also a website and forum and a free online newsletter and magazine excerpts-what a great Christmas gift!

    Also visit Victorian Homes


  • Victorian Christmas on The Hill

    christmas_fr.jpg    Once again the Fall River Preservation Society will be presenting a holiday house stroll featuring the beautiful “Painted Ladies” of The Hill section of the city and the Borden home on Second Street.  Last year was such a success with hayrides, carollers, refreshments and the Historical Society’s annual Christmas display at the Rock and Maple Street corner, this year’s tour of the stately homes, filled with antiques and holiday decorations, promises to exceed all expectations. The Second Street Irregulars will be attending, as many as can in costume, for a glimpse of the Past, history, architecture, good company and great food.

  • Rock Street after the rain


     After a wet start to the weekend, the sun burst forth Saturday about 2 p.m. and left the Painted Ladies of Rock Street refreshed and ready for their close-ups.  The Victorian garden of the Fall River Historical Society was glistening with raindrops, the heavy pink heads of late summer roses bending low.  Already the holly hedge is thick with ruby berries, portent of Christmas to come.  Who can blame Lizzie for wanting to live up on The Hill?


  • Fall River Painted Ladies and City Treasures

    painted_ladies_dance.gif  The term Painted Lady came into the American vernacular  with a popular publication featuring San Francisco’s lovely old Victorians, which were being lovingly restored and painted in ice cream parlor shades in the 1960’s-70’s. Every city has a few of these grande dames from another era.  For awhile they became white elephants, cut up for multi-family units, condos, or business offices.  In the 1970’s, with the gas crisis, nobody wanted a Painted Lady with her 10-12 foot ceilings to heat. 

    Finally, preservationists and homeowners everywhere are coming to appreciate the intricate gingerbread, interior woodwork, tin ceilings, hardware, stained glass and irreplaceable beauty and craftmanship of these gracious old homes. 

     The Hill area in the north end of Fall River boasts a plethora of Painted Beauties from Rock, Belmont, Highland Avenue, Underwood, High, French, Lincoln, North Main and Maple to the south end of town.  This little album is one of several to come extolling the grandeur and the glory of old Fall River homes, churches and mills.