Second Street Happenings
All the doings at #92 Second Street
Preparations go into full swing this week as the house performing troupe, The Pear Essential Players, dons their fake beards and leg ‘ o mutton sleeves to bring history alive once more. Performing only once a year, on the anniversary of the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, the players come from many states and cities to re-enact the details of the day in 1892. Performances will take place on the hour and tickets may be purchased for each timed performance in the gift barn behind the house at 92 Second Street. This year’s cast featured 13 key characters from the well-known story. To learn more about the cast, visit their web blog at http://pearessentialproductions.wordpress.com/
July 1st is getting mighty close to the big week in Fall River when Jill Dalton reprises her smash hit from June 20th- Lizzie Borden Live. Also making a “comeback” will be the irrepressible Mutton Eaters on hand to add a bit of period dash to the streets of Fall River, the Borden’s house on Second St. and the trolleys. The Mutton Eaters are an armchair sleuth group devoted to Borden research and interpreting the roles of key historical characters in the case. It will be a big week for the little troupe as Tuesday August 4th will be the re-enactments at the house where it all began as the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum marks the anniversary of the famous crime. Lizzie Borden Live will once again sparkle at the new -old Eagle on Friday and Saturday, August 7&8. Get your tickets early!
As more seating is installed at the old Eagle restaurant on North Main Street to accommodate the sell-out crowd for Saturday night, plans have already been finalized for an encore performance in August. The play, written and starring Jill Dalton has been performed to wide acclaim in NJ, NY, RI and Arizona, and is at long last playing to the place where it all began- Fall River, Massachusetts. The Saturday event will begin with trolley rides circulating among area restaurants and Lizzie sites, a special Lizzie cocktail will be featured, and when the doors to the Eagle open at 6:30, a light buffet and passed hor d’oeuvre supper will be served by the Mutton Eaters (a costumed Borden history society). Here is a portion of the Mutton Eaters’ Saturday night cast release from their website:
“The old Eagle restaurant has been beautifully converted for the occasion and a flock of Mutton Eaters will descend to be on hand to meet and greet playgoers in the lobby. Dr. Dolan has a new derby hat for the occasion and Mrs. Borden will be circulating with a tray of hors d’oeuvres and tips for flaky pie crust! Alice Russell, Bridget Sullivan, Emma Borden and Mrs. Churchill will have something to say about everything, and undertaker, Mr. Winward will be glancing over the crowd for prospective future business! Best news of all- Miss Lizzie Borden Live will be returning in August- that all-important month!!”
One by one, over the years, the homes on Second Street between Spring and Borden streets have been demolished. Miraculously the Andrew Borden house has survived as well as the neighboring house to the south. Emma and Lizzie’s good friend Alice Russell had lived in this unpreposing cape-style home and thus became well-acquainted with the Bordens. Alice was a key witness at Lizzie’s trial, stayed with the family for some days after the murders, and testified about Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen woodstove the day after the funerals of Abby and Andrew Borden.
On the day of the murders, Mrs. Caroline Kelly, wife of pediatrician Dr. Michael Kelly,(new occupants to the house next door) saw Andrew Borden trying to enter his home around 10:45. She was on her way to the dentist and was probably the last non-family member to see Andrew Borden alive. Most Borden historians still refer to the house as the “Kelly House”.
Several decades before the Borden murders, a Mrs. Ladowick Borden, depressed and at wits’ end, threw three children in the old cistern at this house. The two young boys died, but her daughter survived. Mrs. Ladowick Borden went upstairs and slit her throat with her husband’s straight razor. Who knows why. This is a house with dark secrets and tragedy to rival that of #92 Second Street. And today the two houses of death and horror remain-sole survivors of the wrecker’s ball. The Kelly house is for sale-for anyone who wants a house with a history.
It’s been a rough winter in Fall River with plenty of ice and snow as the familiar name in the photo below will testify.
But work on the new court house continues slowly. The building looms over South Main Street and the back of the building dominates Second Street just across from the Borden house. At one time the twin spires of St. Anne’s and the single steeple of St. Mary’s were the landmarks easily spotted from the Braga Bridge top-now the court house steals all the thunder.
We’re back in 2009! Hope your holidays were happy and filled with Good Things. 2009 promises to be a great year for Bordenites with several new Lizzie B bios, a re-enactment of the 1893 trial in New Bedford for the 150th anniversary of the Bristol County Courthouse, a few television specials about Lizzie and the case on the boards and in production, and more. Lizzie Borden Live will be playing in the Providence-Fall River area in March and a few surprises are in store for the upcoming year.
If you missed the big news last month, a new photo of Emma Borden was located by Hatchet editor, Stefani Koorey http://www.heraldnews.com/town_info/history/x1720687532/A-new-development-in-Borden-history very exciting !
There are a few new things going on at 92 Second Street as well- stay tuned. The house is open daily for tours but only open on weekends this month and next for overnight guests. The mammoth courthouse across the street is building up full tilt and makes quite an impact on Second Street.
A new blog link just added here, “Slip into Something Victorian” has posted a nice story on a visit in December to Second Street- http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/lizzie-borden-sensational-victorian-murder/ Enjoy!
The weather was perfect for trick or treaters and this year there was quite a crowd. One little boy, about 18 months old decided he wanted to stay at #92 and had to be picked up by Dad to continue the trick or treating around the neighborhood. The diningroom was alive with rodents and wormy apples, vultures and other creepy things, including a coffin on the table. Only one plastic hatchet was stolen from the jack o’ lantern pumpkinhead on the doorsteps( whose name is always Charles after original house owner Charles Trafton). Guests enjoyed a seance well into the wee hours. Neither Houdini nor Andrew Borden showed up! The group photo was the only photo of the night which came out rather eerily on the camera. Already the house is booking for NEXT Halloween!
Ghosts have pretty much been a year round phenomenon at #92 but never more so than the month of October when the Borden house is packed to the rafters every weekend with people toting EVP capturing machines, magnetic field detectors, thermographs, night vision cameras, and other high priced gizmos for capturing the perfect orb, groan, sigh, shadow- anything out of the ordinary. There is a seance on Saturday night in the sittingroom in front of the black sofa, with hopeful participants waiting for a message or the levitating of a small round table used in the proceedings. The guestbook is filled with comments of things both heard and seen by guests which run the gamut from ghostly encounters of the Third Kind to bumps and screams in the night. All good fun- and nobody has ever been the worse for the experiences, real or imagined!
Recently an August 4th guest has published the experiences of her visit with her boyfriend. The couple had won an Ebay auction for the Morse guestroom, the most requested room where Mrs. Borden had been murdered. An account of Ms. Zorn’s visit has appeared on many blogs and sites including this one today http://greglefever.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-halloween-haunted-lizzie-borden.html.
The couple had enjoyed a quiet evening, including the usual tour of the house and had retired to their room afterward. The rest of the guests were sitting in the parlor chatting and having coffee when two piercing screams were heard. After a time, the two screamers came downstairs declaring the light had been switched off overhead, a smaller lamp switched on, there was something “funny” about the mirror – and they both had decided to leave, suitcase in hand. It was nearly midnight. Another guest freely admitted to having turned off the overhead light and turning on the small lamp to conserve energy. An offer was made to cover the mirror. All to no avail. The couple was convinced they had to go. They did, however return in broad daylight the following day for breakfast. If you are determined to scare yourself to death at #92, you will probably succeed!
The month of October has always been an especially busy one at the Borden House, with Halloween night selling out nearly a year in advance. The following blog has has some great photos of an overnight stay in 2007 by a newly-wed couple, Hans and Rebecca, who managed to “meet” most of the Borden family and capture some orbs and other curious things before their check out the following day.
Senior editor of Haunted Times magazine, Chris Moon, and a paranormal investigation team will be returning to the Borden house this weekend for a two day session of learning to use special equipment to capture ghosts on film, EVPs and other paranormal tools-all accompanied by great food and conversation and real ghost-hunting onsite. Haunted University has made several weekend visits to the Borden House over the past 2 years. For more on Haunted Times Magazine and Haunted University future projects visit http://www.hauntedtimes.com/ghosthunteruniversity.html
The cast of the August 4th re-enactment at #92 Second Street pay their respects to the victims with two minutes of silence and floral tributes.
Bridget’s Run, filmed May 2008 Lizzie Mini #4
Q. Did she say anything when you got down stairs?
A. She said “go for Dr. Bowen”. I ran ahead, I did not know what was the matter. She told me to “go quick and get Dr. Bowen.”
Q. What did you do then?
A. I went right over to Dr. Bowen’s.
Q. Who did you find there?
A. Mrs. Bowen.
Q. You told her what had happened?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Dr. Bowen was not there?
A. No Sir.
Q. Then what did you do?
A. Came back.
Q. Dr. Bowen lives right across the street?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Who was there when you came back?
A. Nobody but Miss Lizzie. I told her he was not in. I told her what Mrs. Bowen told me. She told me to go after Miss Russell.
Q. What did you do then?
A. I went after her.
Q. Where does she live?
A. On Borden street.
Q. How far away is that?
A. I do not know, it is a good ways away. I could not tell you exactly how long it is.
Q. Did you find Miss Russell?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Had anybody else come in when you came back there, telling that Dr. Bowen was not there?
A. No Sir, I did not see anybody.
Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you came back from Mrs. Bowen’s?
A. Where I left her, standing at the door.
Q. At that time when you went out after Dr. Bowen, did you find the screen door locked?
A. No Sir.
Q. Shut up?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Did you come back with Miss Russell?
A. Ahead of her.
Q. When you came back, who did you find there then?
A. Dr. Bowen was ahead of me, he stepped out of his carriage as I came up Second street. Dr. Bowen went in ahead of me.
Q. When you got in, who did you find there?
A. I think Mrs. Churchill was in when I got in there.
Q. She is the next door neighbor?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. She was in when you got back?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. What was said when you got back?
A. I cannot tell.
Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you got back?
A. She was there.
A. I could not tell you where, I think she must be in the kitchen; I think she was in the kitchen.
Q. Who else was there besides Mrs. Churchill?
A. That is all I remember, Mrs. Churchill and Dr. Bowen.
Q. Did you then see the body?
A. No Sir.
Over the years since the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum opened, many staff employees and their friends have undertaken the task of bringing the Borden story and Lizzie to life via annual August 4th re-enactments. All have shared a passion for the story, and a pleasure at sharing it with others. Some have taken their show “on the road” to local schools, libraries and civic groups. Since 1996, when the B&B opened, the roles of the Borden family and other personalities in the case have been assumed by many professional and amateur actors. The new site will feature photos and anecdotes about the 12 years of “bringing Lizzie to life” for visitors and guests at #92 and other places. Perhaps you have met one of the troupe on a visit to the house. If you were a member of the cast in 1996-2007, we’d love to hear from you!
The approach to the Braga Bridge, Fall River signs on 195E (and also 195 westbound) feature a mention of the Lizzie Borden Museum and have done so for some time.
Still garnering front page news is the continuing battle between Salem and Fall River over who owns the rights to the Lizzie Borden story, and the all-important word, “Museum”. Channel 25 Fox television out of Boston ran this segment yesterday http://www.myfoxboston.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=7177254&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1 Sounds like several of those interviewed for the news clip might benefit from a visit to a museum telling the facts! No date has yet been given out for the Salem opening.
Re-Enactment Cast 2008
Lizzie Borden- LeeAnn Wilbur
Abby Borden -Shelley Dziedzic
Andrew Borden – Jeff Massan
Bridget Sullivan- Kathleen Troost-Cramer
Emma Borden- Barbara Borden Morrissey
Mrs. Churchill- JoAnne Giovino
Mrs. Bowen- Susan Hauck
Mr. James E. Winward, Undertaker- Andrew Correia
Miss Manning from the Fall River Herald- Lorraine Gregoire
Dr. Dolan- Ted Gregoire
Detective Seaver- Ben Rose
Little Abbie Whitehead- Kathryn Woods
Alice Russell- Colleen Johnson
Bed and Breakfast co-owner LeeAnn Wilber starring as
Lizzie Borden for August 4th
Sure signs it must be August are the heat and humidity- and the Fall River newspapers and local television channels talking about Fall River’s most infamous native daughter. This year, as in every year since the B&B museum on Second Street opened, there will be a recreation of the Borden story on August 4th. There is a new script again this year, this time with the largest cast ever assembled. The production, which was sold out by noon last year, will feature new characters, some for the first time ever. Naturally visitors want to meet the family, Abby and Andrew, Lizzie and Irish maid Bridget- but this year sister Emma, several of the neighbors, ( Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Bowen) Dr. Dolan, Little Abbie Whitehead, and even the undertaker, Mr. Winward will be making an appearance at #92 Second Street. Visitors to the house will “find” the body of Mrs. Borden upstairs, listen to Dr. Dolan’s preliminary observations on the body of Andrew Borden which is covered with a sheet on the sofa, hear about the funeral plans, and help to search for a possible weapon in the cellar! Tours will take place between 11 and 3:30, approximately on the half hour. Tickets may be purchased in the barn gift shop behind the Borden house.
“She’s not my mother- she is my step-mother.”
“It all depends on your idea of cordiality.”