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.
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.