Good print coverage of this successful turnabout from the usual “re-enactments”. (Right click”View image” for bigger picture.)
Lizzie’s antics breaks up a guest (he and his wife spent the night as did the couple shown below).
The parlor, sitting room, front entry and dining room were decorated with victorian mourning consisting of covering mirrors, personal funereal cards, exquisite floral arrangements, floral offerings from close friends and family, prayer cards, printed hymms and prayers. These elaborate additions to the rooms contributed to the deportment of the guests who came…somber, respectful, quiet, almost sullen….But the best was that the “actors” never broke character and did some wonderful ad-libs playing off the individuals from the more than 300 guests. Great stuff!
Donald Woods escorts Lizzie and Bridget into the “barn”.
Barbara and JoAnne (Emma and Mrs. Churchill) covering mirrors.
A floral offering from Alice Russell.
A distraught Emma contemplates funeral arrangements, her sister’s state of mind, and the bloody wash basin near her used by so many doctors.
The crowds lined up from around the house, down the driveway and almost to the gift shop. Groups of 25 went in at a time. To make their wait entertaining instead of tedious, I stood on the front steps and used blown up official photographs mounted on poster board to illustrate what the house and both sides of the street – looking north and south – actually looked like in 1892.
Alice Russell tells the guests of her ministrations to Lizzie the day before and how she is spending nights – but not in the guest room – to help the grieving sisters.
Taking a break on the cellar stairs.
This gentleman came dressed to the gills, could have played Undertaker Winward. But actually he was there to present Donald & Lee-ann with an 1892 full edition of August 5, 1892 Fall River Globe newspaper. He represented the Southeastern Mass. Convention & Tourism Bureau of Bristol County. I escorted him into the kitchen and “Emma” and “Mrs. Churchill” immediately played off his amusing intro as “Mr. Swift from the Wasamutta Mill coming to pay respects to Andrew on behalf of the Board of Directors” of which AJB was a member. Hilarious.
In my 5 days in Fall River I spent part of two days with the owner of Maplecroft. We had a matter of mutual interest to discuss so I was lucky enough to be invited into his home for several hours. On Sunday, after chatting on the porch (great swing) he invited me to brunch at Abby Grille, the old Central Congregational Church on Rock Street, now a culinary institute. While I had been inside many times, including the church structure, I had never eaten there. Back at French Street, Robert D., the owner of Maplecroft (and there’s only been 4, not counting Charles Allen) showed and explained to me the changes Lizzie made. This was my fourth visit inside but this time I was able to see parts of the house I never had before, such as using the first floor bathroom with the original gas lighting scounce still in place – a different commode and sink of course, but this little bathroom was original to when the house was built.) It is a beautiful home, immaculately kept, and Robert is a gracious host, a true gentleman.
In New Bedford, I met up with my friends Carl and Linda who are staying in Swansea for 6 months while engaged in a grant program at the UMass-Dartmouth Marine campus. We had lunch at Davey’s Locker just around the bend from Fort Taber. It was so hot that day that I just jumped into the Achusnet River, clothes and all! Great to watch the little sailboats, jet skiis, etc. in the water….Loved the feel of the salt water – something we don’t have here in the high desert of Arizona!
Carl Becker, President of the Swansea Historical Society, opened up Luther’s Museum on a day and time it was normally closed and spent over an hour with another new friend, Kristen P. (yes, the Wheaton discoverer) giving us the history of the strucure, the four corners, the artifacts inside. I was more impressed with the big black chair George Washington sat on during the time of the Battle of Monmourth (sp) than I was the aledged chairs of Lizzie Borden. There’s a lot more history to Swansea than that farm house, that’s for sure!!
I’ll be relating more of my Fall River trip later but it was great to see old friends again and, as is usually the case, make some new ones. 🙂