Second Street Happenings

All the doings at #92 Second Street

  • Getting #92 ready for her close-up

    This year the house outside was pristine, having just had a new coat of paint. The tent was up for visitors to wait under , shielded from the hot sun, and lemonade and hatchet cookies were ready for refreshment.  Thanks go out this year to Debbie, Anna and Walter for keeping everyone cool and refreshed!

    Naturally any photographs on the wall inside which were not family photos were taken down.  Several crime scene photos were shown to visitors as “just having been developed and sent over by Mr. Walsh who was hired by the police department to shoot the crime scenes.”

    For the first time this year, inasmuch as “CSI” was in the title of this year’s adaptation, blood spatter was applied to the wall and doors in the sitting room. After trying several concoctions, cherry preserves was found to give the best effect.  John Morse mentions about 60 drops on the door into the parlor.  Emma Borden would wash these off later in the evening on the 4th.  Spatter was also applied to the framed engraving over the black sofa.  Most visitors made a note of this on their exit polls. (photos courtesy of Lee Ann Wilbur)

    This year the bed in the guest room where Abby Borden was killed was moved in order to reproduce the photo of Abby taken from the door way.  A blood-spattered coverlet and shams were on the bed as well as a tuft of hair.  More blood was used than on the genuine article which was on display down at the historical society in a special Bordenalia exhibit.

    It is remarkable that the crime scene still exists after so many years, so everyone who visits is very forgiving of modern conveniences such as electric sockets, lamps, refrigerators, etc, and turns a blind eye to these minor things which distract from time travel to 1892.

    The dress worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in The Legend of Lizzie Borden, and other clothing items usually on display were put in the upstairs bathroom, which at one time was actually a dress closet.  Down in the cellar, the search for hatchets and other possible weapons, conducted by Detective Seaver, gave a glimpse to visitors of just where these items were found, and offers a visit to the Borden cellar, always a place guests wish to see.

    Using a detailed sketch of the rooms done by Kiernan in 1892 as reference, Lizzie’s fainting couch was placed where it had been, between the two windows. Lizzie lounged with her pink and white wrapper with cherry ribbons which Officer Harrington would later describe in such detail that it brought a smile from Lizzie in court.

    With so many period antiques in place in the house, dressing the house for a performance is easy.  The two crime scenes are particularly accurate in furnishings, and most guests take note of this as they examine the 1892 photographs.  With just a little imagination, it is not hard to go back in time and visualize how the rooms must have looked.  At 9:30 and 11 a.m., a hush always falls on the house as cast and guests recall what was happening so many years ago.

  • Who was new for August 4th ?

    It was a big day at #92 for the cast of the Pear Essential Players as they turned in 10 performances of Lizzie Borden CSI.  Tickets sold out and the gift shop was buzzing with activity from early morning until the end of the day when the evening check- ins arrived.  All  previous records were broken this year.

    Rufus Hilliard                                                 Ray Mitchell

    There were a few new faces this year in the cast including Ray Mitchell who portrayed city marshal Rufus Hilliard and bore an uncanny resemblance to his character!  Michael Brooks took over the role of James Winward, Undertaker and was suitably grave and distinguished.

    (photo courtesy of Lee Ann Wilber)

    For the first time, the bed in the guest room was moved in order to reproduce a lesser-known photo of Abby Borden.

    With a nod to Richard’s Behren’s new book, Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective, Kathryn Woods played Miss Nellie Drew, girl detective and interviewed Uncle John Morse.

    Molly O’Brien took over as Miss Manning from the Fall River Herald and also had a few things to ask Uncle John.

    photo courtesy of Lee Ann Wilber

    The men in blue were out in force this year with Ben Rose reprising Detective Seaver, and new B&B museum employees Justin Dunne and Will Clawson playing Medley and Harrington.  Mustaches were a key element in bringing the characters to life with Hilliard’s famous walrus mustache and Harrington’s “handlebar” stash adding much to the characterization.

     

    Will Clawson                     Phil Harrington

     Justin Dunne played a young officer William Medley.  Medley would become Fall River’s first Chief of Police.

     

    Justin Dunne                              Chief Medley

    Many actors have played Andrew Borden over the years and this year B&B employee Logan Livesey had the tough task of staying perfectly still under the sheet.

    Tomorrow: Set dressing the house, our cast regulars, and the cast trip to Maplecroft!

  • ? On Second Street

    Many folks in town are less than pleased with the monstrosity that passes for a court house across the street from the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum but recently something new has appeared which is generating puzzled looks and outrage from passers-by.  On the Spring St. corner at Second, the  yellow “Kelly House” complex which consists of a house rental and a few retail businesses, is now sporting huge black and grey portraits of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe.  The big question mark has raised some speculation- who next?- Lizzie Borden?

    St. Mary’s church has the corner lot where a large statue of the Virgin Mary is located.  Einstein seems to be sticking his tongue out in that direction. But the big question is- WHY? Does the city have any regulation in place about public mural art?  There’s bound to be further developments on this one.

  • 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!

     

    THINGS TO SEE AND DO

    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. 

  • Cast for Annual Presentation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum

    Some of the cast will be appearing at the Fall River Public Library on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 for a special reading by Richard Behrens from the new Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective!  Tickets are presently on sale at the museum 508-675-7333.  Advanced ticket purchase is suggested to avoid disappointment on the 4th.  Tickets are usually sold out by noon. First performance at 10: 30 a.m.

    Cast interviews and photos may be found at http://pearessentialproductions.org/

    Lizzie Borden:  Lorraine Gregoire

    Detective Seaver  Ben Rose

    Abby Borden:   Shelley Dziedzic 

    Andrew Borden: Logan Livesey

    Bridget Sullivan  Kathleen Troost-Cramer

    Emma Borden:  Barbara Morrissey

    Addie Churchill:  JoAnne Giovino

    Alice Russell:     Kristin Pepe

    Uncle John:  Joe Radza

    Officer Medley:   Justin Dunne

    Miss Manning from the Herald:   Molly O’Brien

    “Cub reporter and Girl Detective” from the Herald, and Miss Manning’s assistant: Kathryn Woods

    The Distinguished Undertaker Winward:  Michael Brooks

    Officer Harrington:  Will Clawson

    Marshal Hilliard;  Ray Mitchell

  • Book Reading

    Tuesday, August 3rd, 6:30-7:30pm

    FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

     

    Author Richard Behrens

    will be presenting a reading from his latest book

    Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective

    PLUS:  A visit from The Pear Essential Players

    The reenactment group from the Lizzie Borden B&B including :

     Marshal Hilliard, Miss Lizzie Borden, Mrs. Churchill, Alice Russell,  Abby Borden, Uncle John Morse, Officer Phil Harrington and Miss Nellie Drew (Girl Detective Reporter for the Herald)

     

    Fall River Public Library

    104 North Main Street,

    Fall River, MA

    Main meeting room, basement

    Light refreshments will be served

  • Book Signing August 4th

     

    Richard Behrens, author of the new adventure stories of Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective will be signing copies of his book in the giftshop at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on August 4th from 10:30- 4 p.m..  Copies of the book will be on sale.

  • It’s Hot, It’s Summer, It’s Time Again

    With the arrival of scorching temps and high humidity, the cast of the Pear Essential Players (P.E.P.) layer on the petticoats, corsets and false beards in preparation for the August 4th re-enactment at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.  Rehearsals will begin in two weeks, and this year the script is new.  Written every year by night tour innkeeper Shelley Dziedzic, this year’s script will harness the flavor of popular CSI programs.  Here is what the B&B website has to say about the annual event:

    “Thirty minutes have passed since Abby Borden’s body has been found upstairs in the guest room.  #92 has become a beehive of activity with Fall River’s Men in Blue flocking to the crime scene.  Doctors, bystanders, policemen, newspaper reporters, neighbors and friends are all converging on the little drab house on Second St.   Inside on the Second Floor, Miss Lizzie Andrew Borden is reclining on her fainting couch, medicated with bromo caffeine.  Uncle John has wandered bewildered into the dining room, trying to make sense of what he has just heard.  Bridget Sullivan is frightened in the parlor, already planning to pack and flee that very afternoon. The lifeless bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are covered with bloody sheets, awaiting procedures and the ministrations of the undertaker.  Sister Emma is rushing back home on her way from Fairhaven.  Helpful neighbors mill around looking for answers and trying to be useful in comforting Lizzie and assisting the police. Meanwhile, the police begin the questioning and searching.  Our visitors will be “deputized” as they begin their tour of the crime scene, and will be encouraged to “assist” the police with their photographic equipment and by carefully surveying the crime scenes.  They may even be motivated to ask a question themselves and to be on the lookout for CLUES! By means of the police questioning, the visitors to the house will hear the story as it happened, unfolding through the answers of the family members.  As the tour of the premises ends, visitors will be asked to cast a vote on the GUILTY PARTY, based on what they have seen and heard during their inspection of the scene of the crime. ”

     There will be a few new faces in the cast this year and a few new characters from out of the past.  Information on ticket sales, parking and times will be posted here and on the B&B site soon.  The first performance will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4th.  This will be the fourteenth year that the house on Second Street has reproduced the historic details of the famous case in an entertaining and educational way. 
  • A Legendary Feline

    When Abbie Borden Potter gave her famous interview about Lizzie killing her Aunt Abby’s kitty, she probably never dreamed the tale would take on a life of its own. Black cats, stuffed and porcelain, wooden and pottery abound at #92 Second Street in the gift shop and in the house.  Some guests swear they hear mysterious meowings, phantom felines leaping at the foot of the bed at dawn in the Borden master bedroom, and recently a specter of a cat in front of the kitchen stove appeared on a guest photo.  A cat face even appears in the headboard of a burled walnut bed . Whether or not Lizzie decapitated or chloroformed a cat is uncertain, but it makes a very good story which shows no signs of going away.  The Borden house is host to a real cat who chose the house himself several years ago.  Max had lived in the “Kelly House” next door but liked the company and chow better  at #92.  Today he is the toast of the town, wearing a special collar with a silvery name tag- and a tiny hatchet!  Max has his own fan club and facebook page.  Since he is not completely black, having several pink and white toes, he is not unlucky-in fact he is one very lucky cat!

  • 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)

  • Travel Channel visits the Lizzie Borden House May 4th

    “There’s no bizness like Lizbizness”

    The weather was ideal for the Travel channel shoot in Fall River.  Bursts of rain and bright sun were the order of the day and produced some wonderful silhouettes and shadows inside the house- a novel approach to the re-creations for a film crew.

    Andrew Borden was played by the Rev. Robert Richardson, a Congregationalist minister.  This was his first time out as Mr. Borden and Kathleen Troost-Cramer who usually plays Irish maid Bridget Sullivan took on her first turn as Lizzie.  Both were superb in their roles. The filming is for an upcoming program on haunted hotels and bed and breakfasts, so the focus was on the paranormal.  Thirty Odd Minutes’ Andrew Lake and Matt Moniz (also of Spooky South Coast radio show) were also on hand all day to serve as science techs for the shoot.  http://www.30oddminutes.com/about.shtml  http://www.spookysouthcoast.com/AboutUs/

    Psychic and medium Liz Nowicki also made a call in the evening.  What did they find? Stay tuned!

  • May Doings at #92 Second St.

    Hard to believe that May will top the month of April as a busy month at #92.  On May 4th the Travel Channel will be returning for the third time since April to film footage for another program which will feature haunted hotels and B&B’s.  The same cast from April will be portraying Lizzie, Abby, and Andrew Borden (LeeAnn Wilber, Shelley Dziedzic, & Dan LeLievre).  The exterior of the house is undergoing extensive scraping and repainting so the cameras will roll on the inside.

    The Discovery Channel will be shooting at the house in two weeks, and will be bringing a full cast of actors to play the key parts in the story. This upcoming Fall season promises to be full of Lizzie Borden and the Fall River Tragedy.

    The pansies are in bloom, the pear tree is laden with blossoms which will yield plenty of pears in August, and a few new touches have been added around the house, bringing a feeling of 1892. An 1880’s silver caster set now has pride of place in the diningroom, there’s a new globe lamp on the piano, a beautiful oil painting of roses by a local artist, painted in 1897 hanging in the parlor, and Mr. Borden has a walnut Eastlake mirror in his bedroom.   Over the parlor sofa, a display of Victorian memorials adds decades to the room decor and features a shadowbox of handmade flowers and a framed memorial of a cross and flowers composed entirely of hair, a popular activity from 1860s-1880s.

    Across the street, the new court house is preparing to open.  All along the west side of Second Street, parking places have been defined.  Lots of changes are afoot for the busy season at #92.

  • 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.

  • Mutton Eaters On the Prowl

    After the visit to the police station, the flock descended on the Fall River Public Library to have a look at the Fall River Room and exhibit of Fall River artist paintings.  A happy hour was spent there looking through old street directories, postcards and reference materials-some rare, and all chock full of information about the city.  After a tour of the library it was check-in time at #92 Second Street and preparations for the annual banquet, this year at the old Quequechan Club on North Main Street.  Some Mutton Eaters opted for vintage clothing.  The group handed out awards and enjoyed a superb dinner in the Captain Study on the second floor after taking a tour of the bowling alley and other rooms of the 1894 former gentleman’s club.  Dinner was followed by the cutting of the 2010 Cheesecake- a tradition for the Mutton eaters, this year featuring  a topper of Lizzie Borden counting dollars instead of sheep in her little bed back on Second Street.  It was a late night with lots of singing and presentations by members which included new material on Dr. Seabury Bowen and Sarah Cornell.

  • What’s new on Second Street?

    Lizzie’s has another brand new sign created by Ray who now works in the gift shop. The hatchet is made of a waterproof foam material.

    A new green velvet diamond-tufted Victorian settee has pride of place on the third floor.  Bridget would have loved it.

    Lizzie’s piano gets a new globe lamp.

  • Travel Channel to Return to #92

    It’s been a busy few weeks on Second Street with the filming of a documentary and a visit by the Travel Channel.  The Travel Channel returns in April to shoot footage for a new program, America B&Bs which will showcase bed and breakfasts that will be visited and rated by two couples who will check in as regular guests and experience the property and visit attractions and restaurants in the city. Producer and camera crew will be spending the night as well.  #92 is getting ready for its close-up!