Lizzie Borden’s Fall River – in 1811, 1911 & 2011

02 Apr


Cotton mills of fall river from Keeley Library.

The first cotton mill was built.


The great Cotton Centennial celebrating 100 years.

From the Fall River Herald News:

“A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Cotton Centennial is the theme of this year’s Fall River calendar. Sponsored by the Fall River Scholarship Foundation, the calendar features scenes from the weeklong 1911 festivities that attracted elected officials, including former President William Howard Taft.

James Rogers, editor of the calendar, said the dates of the Centennial were June 19 to 24, 1911.

The daily events attracted thousands of people to the parades, carnivals, Ringling Bros. Circus, and especially to the crowning of the Queen of the Carnival. That event was held in front of the City Hall, and 4,000 people saw Miss Marion Pierce Hills win the title.

One of the major events was a horse show that was held at North Park. A highlight of this was a showing of prized Arabian and Morgan horses that were bred by Spenser Borden Sr.

An automobile parade began at the south end of Highland Avenue, wented its way through the side streets to Bedford Street, and then proceeded on Main Street to South Park. Nearly all vehicles were decorated with flowers and ribbons and were occupied by well-dressed women prominent in the social circles of the time.

Exhibits at the armory featured a local trade show that highlighted the latest manufacturing equipment. The library sponsored an exhibit of artwork from the famous Fall River School artists. Prominent among them was Robert Spears Dunning.

The appearance of President Taft was recognition of the important role that Fall River played in the country. Taft arrived in a private yacht at the pier, walked along Water Street to his car and then proceeded to tour the city before riding in the large parade that was held on Friday that week.

“Victorian Vistas: Fall River 1901-1911,” by Dr. Philip Silvia Jr., provided the background information for the calendar. Pictures came from the private collections of Arthur Silvia, Patrick Cookson and James Rogers.

Calendars are available at Silvia’s Florist, 515 Broadway; New Boston Bakery, 279 New Boston Road; K & G Crafts, 260 New Boston Road; Cafe Arpeggio, 139 S. Main St.; Standard Pharmacy, 246 E. Main St.; or by calling Rogers at 507-675-0800.

Calendars will also be sold at the Christmas craft fair at Durfee High School on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5.”


One hundred years later – a whole different story.

Former residents tell why they left Fall River in this Fall River Herald News article.

The declining population of Fall River can be attributed to many causes but clearly residents are heading for the exits as expressed in this article.

A failing school system close to being taken over by the State

So where’s the big civic celebration of 200 years?  Where’s the parade with its VFW and Gay Pride contingent?  Where’s the Indigenous Paranormal Investigator All Brass Band?  Where have all the flowers gone – gone and died everyone?

What will it be like in 2111?   I guarantee one thing:  We’ll still be asking “Did She or Didn’t She?:”  Some things just endure and endure, transcending social and economic change throughout the ages.


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