25 Aug

Here is the history of ownership of the “Lizzie Borden” House in Fall River, Ma. now a famous Bed & Breakfast hosted by Lee-ann Wilber and Donald Woods.

Built in the year Borden & Almy formed their partnership in the furniture business (and just before that year passed Andrew would marry Sarah Anthony Morse) this structure has remained virtually unchanged for 162 years. Borden scholars refer to it as “Mecca”. Standing resolute, almost stoic, this iconic edifice defies the many who have made the pilgrimage to unlock the secrets of what occurred on August 4, 1892.

(Images are progressive representations but not included with all citations.)


Southard Miller builds the house for Charles Trafton in 1845.

1845 to 1872: Charles C. Trafton, the original owner.

April 26, 1872
: Trafton sold the home to Andrew J. Borden. Lizzie was 12pt old & Emma, 20.

1892 to 1918: Emma and Lizzie inherited the property
and through the management of Charles Cook,
derived rental income for over 25 years.



June 15, 1918: Emma and Lizzie sold to John W. Dunn three months previous to the Great 1918 Pandemic.



1918 to 1920: John W. Dunn

February 2, 1920: Dunn sold the Second Street home to Mandel Mark.

Fall River’s population was 127,000

1920 to 1940: Mandel Mark


In 1940, the Leary Press was built on the
south side of
92 Second Street.

March 27, 1940: Mandel sold the property to The Fall River Trust Company.


1940 to 1943: The Fall River Trust Company (TFRTC).

In 1941, Alice Russell died in January;
the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December.

September 3, 1943: TFRTC sells to Wilfred J. and Alice A. Gingras.

Two months previous, William M. Emery’s article appeared in the
New Bedford Sunday Times recalling the Trial reporting of 1893.

1943 to 1948: Wilfred and Alice Gingras

December 7, 1948: Wilfred and Alice Gingras sell to Smart Advertising, Inc. (John McGinn was a partner in this printing business).


1948 to 1995: Smart Advertising, Inc.

1996 – Upon the deaths of John and Josephine McGinn,
Smart Advertising was inherited by grand- daughter Martha McGinn

and long time employee Ron Evans (later his wife, Simone Evans),
converted to the “Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum”,
opening up
to “outsiders” for the first time in almost 105 years.


In September of 1996, President Bill Clinton visited Fall River.

June 18, 2004: Smart Advertising, Inc. (Martha McGinn, President & Treasurer and co-owner Simone Evans) sold the property to Donald Woods of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

2004 – Donald Woods and partner Lee-ann Wilber
continue operating property as Bed & Breakfast.

April 27, 2005, Demolition of abutting structure, Leary Press.

2006 – “Barn” built and house is painted “drab” green

1845 to 2007 = 165 years since it was first built

Residents of 92 Second Street (not all inclusive of renters):
1850 to 1871 Charles Trafton, overseer of carding
1872 to 1893 Andrew J. Borden, businessman; (1892), Emma and Lizzie
1895 to 1897 Asa Gifford, janitor, Music Hall
1899 to 1920 Marcus A. Townsend, carpenter 1916-1917 Hyman Lubinsky
1920 to 1948 Mandel Mark, manufacturing / stationary
1948 to 1995 John R. and Josephine McGinn, Smart Advertising (printing business)
1996 to 2004 Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast / Museum
2004 to —- Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast

Fall River City Directories are helpful in identifying the many tenants that boarded at 92 Second Street, and one in particular will be noted because of his role on August 4, 1892: Hyman Lubinsky, the 19 year old ice cream peddler (also cited in Rebello).


  • Rebello, Leonard, Lizzie Borden Past & Present, 1999. p 24, 34+
  • Land transactions, Registry of Deeds, Fall River, MA.
  • Fall River City Directories

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  1. donna riddle

    April 1, 2008 at 5:20 PM

    I grew up with Martha in the 70s. Can you get me in touch with her? If you have contact with her could you ask her to email me? Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      January 7, 2017 at 8:23 AM

      Lee is a bad person. She is making money off of these poor souls who can’t cross over and she thinks it’s funny that they can’t cross over. Sorry but I hope when she dies she is stuck with Lizzie is the same hell.

  2. Fiz

    August 30, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    That is one house I would never sleep in!

  3. Conrad J Landry

    November 29, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    Very interesting. I was born and raised up in the Flint area, 15 Saint Joseph Street. We went to Notre Dame School an Chuch. Our dad and mom worked in the mills. Mom was Florence, and dad Alcide. He was also a Piano player who played at Tommy Kings Pineroom just below the Borden house, corner of 2nd and Pleasant St. I did my debut on Saxophone at 11 years young in this pub. I’ve since retired from the Navy Band in Washington DC. I believe the Borden girls first lived up in the Highlands and after the trial moved to the 2nd street house. I guess the presure of it all forced them to move, God bless them. It was a tough time in their evolution of life. Thank you so much in putting the time on Fall River information. Sincerely, cj landry Muc, US Navy, Ret.

    • Barbara (Delaney) Moran

      August 4, 2016 at 7:16 PM

      No, LIzzie and Emma moved to the Highlands after the trial. They lived together for a while and then Emma moved to California. Lizzie stayed in the house up in the Highlands until she died.
      She often baked cookies at Halloween to give to the children. All this info came from a book that I read.
      I was born and raised on Third St. and went to school at St. Mary’s Cathedral, between Third St. and Second St. We, as children, wouldn’t walk by 92 Second St. We all knew about Lizzie Borden and what transpired at 92 Second St.

      • phayemuss

        August 5, 2016 at 4:18 AM

        When Emma moved out from “Maplecroft” she lived with the Buck Sisters in Reverend Buck’s home in Fall River. Then she moved to Providence, R.I. and finally settled in Newmarket, New Hampshire where she died the week after Lizzie. She never went to California.

  4. MJ

    August 21, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    I worked at Leary Press with J. R. Mcginn, Josephine, Ron, Carl, Arthur, Dave, Martha, Marion and others. If you ever stay at the house and hear noises in the middle of the night, it probably is not the Bordens but Mr. McGinn who never let anyone in to look at the house. People from all over the world would come to take pictures and talk to John, who would usually be sitting in the driveway in the summer months. ( I think he liked the attention the house received), but when someone would ask if they could look insice the house he would say ” This is my home, how would you like it if I came to your house and wanted to look inside”.

    • phayemuss

      August 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      This is why I was so appreciative that he allowed me in an gave me a personal 2 hour tour and history of the house back in 1977 (see my ME page). He was very accommodating – flirtatious even. I later became friends with Martha, and I knew Dave Quigley well. I never met Ron, but I know the history. 😉

      • MJ

        August 26, 2014 at 2:42 AM

        You are one of the lucky ones. You must have been a local, usually it was a noooo. I worked there in 78 . How many smokes did he have in two hours?(lol) Did he show you the blood stain in the hardwood floor upstairs? I bet knowbody sees that at the B&B……….


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