“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”

25 Nov

No, not the 1974 Scorsese film but instead the public sentiment in Fall River about Lizzie Borden that surfaces at varying levels of interest and concern.  The town, chamber of commerce, businesses involved in tourism, history buffs, and the resident curious care but not so much for others who believe she should be kept in perspective within the bigger picture of the place in which they live.  So when a new Fall River resident criticizes the sale of a piece of property remotely connected to the Borden case – the 4th estate – and the natives – speak out.

Yesterday’s Fall River Herald had a piece in “Our View” which illustrates this sentiment quite well.   Below is an extract, but you can read the full piece HERE.

“Thumbs down to those criticizing the purchase of 18 Hillside St. by Charlton Memorial Hospital, which plans to combine the land with other area property purchases to use for parking or an expansion of hospital services. The purchase is drawing some controversy because the house at one time was rented to Alice Russell, a friend of Lizzie Borden who testified she saw Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen stove three days after the 1892 double murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. Lizzie was tried and acquitted of the crimes.
“I am saddened by how Fall River takes care of its history,” said Stefani Koorey, author of “The Hatchet,” a quarterly publication about the murders. “I am sickened that another piece of the story that is Fall River will soon face the wrecking ball.”
First of all, a brutal double murder hardly represents Fall River’s identity, and any suggestion that it does is rather insulting to the city’s 92,000 residents, most of whom will never have any connection to a capital crime. The murders were simply one moment in the city’s history, albeit a famous moment.  Secondly, 18 Hillside St. played no part whatsoever in the historic events. Russell, who was not even a central character in the grisly drama, moved into the house in 1909, 17 years after the murders, long after her friendship with Lizzie Borden had ended.  Any connection to the Borden story is pure fabrication. Charlton shouldn’t think twice before swinging the wrecking ball.”

The “Alice Russell” house

Here is the original Herald article (and the outraged responses) that prompted the “Our View” article.  It gives the background of the property and the Alice Russell connection.  Click HERE.  Not exactly the kind of press Stefani Koorey likes to see of herself.

“This home is at best on the extreme periphery of the Borden saga, if it were Maplecroft itself, that would be a different story. Also, for the record, grand jury indictments are not ‘handed down’, they are handed up.”

“first of all the mayor has nothing to do with this situation, second im so sick of lizzie borden this and lizzie borden that.. fall riverites should be ashamed of lizzie borden. what did she do to benefit fall river anyway….if Stefani was so sickened about the house she could have bought it herself, where does she get off even making a comment about it and why does the herald news even print that crap… Go charlton memorial hospital, you are making fall river a better place every day. progress is progress….”

“What history does this house have except that Lizzie Borden visited it? Lizzie Borden –that’s something Fall River should preserve. I we going to preserve all the houses on 4th and 5th street 100 years from now and say the ‘Bloods’ and the ‘Cripts’ lived here and killed 100 rival gang members???”


On another note (no pun intended) here’s a little known opera titled “Maplecroft” depicting Lizzie’s post trial life by Paul J. Bothelho produced in 2001.   The video is dark and surreal, the music stunning.  Click HERE.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 25, 2008 in Fall River History, Fall River, MA, Maplecroft


Tags: , , ,

One response to ““Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”

  1. pmedeiros

    January 12, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    holysmokes what nutjob! Mucho gracias for the heads up about this woman. here’s hoping we get a better selection than koorey and flanagan to choose from. and I have to say I really like this blog. please keep it up.

    Paul in Fall River


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