UPDATE: Here’s info on a wonderful picture book of several Fall River cemeteries.
Jack Foley – Fall River Herald News
1540 Stafford Rd
2233 Robeson St
462 N Main St
440 Newhall St
The Fall River Historical Society is having a big sale on all their items. Check it out!
Shelley Dziedzic can usually be found doing her once weekly Friday night tour for the overnight guests at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum. She makes sure the guests get their money’s worth because she knows both the case and the House at 92 Second Street better than most. Shelley has several passions she pursues, least of which is her attraction to old cemeteries foremost being Fall River’s Oak Grove Cemetery. She has spent years amassing gorgeous photos of the grounds, seeking out headstones of those related to the case and beyond.
“A History of Oak Grove Cemetery & Walking Tour of Borden Related Graves and Buildings” is a 65-page booklet chock-full of information about the history, regulations, symbolisms, and Victorian Celebrations of Death, in addition to featuring Borden related burial sites.
She includes the standard map of Oak Grove and places numbers with identifying personages as to their location of burial. Alas, the cemetery’s map does not have the street nor walking paths identified which can make locating the exact spot sometimes problematic. But part of the journey’s enjoyment is in the discovery and if it were too easy we would not be as joyful upon shouting: “Eureka!”
There is also good information about Undertaker Winward, Oak Groves’ “undertaker to the stars” as I like to call him. He is just one of the many people she highlights.
Shelley has included a sleeved CD affixed to to the inside back cover of the booklet with some stunning images she has taken over the years. I would have liked to have seen captions and a cross-reference on some but here again, it makes you want to seek out those you are not familiar with. Additionally, by looking at the images and reading about the symbolism on the stone markings helps educate us to obtain a greater insight into what surviving family members treasured about their departed love ones.
This is truly a wonderful piece of work and I highly recommend its purchase to those who have a love of old cemeteries in general, an interest in the Borden case, or even just a student of headstones and monuments.
You can purchase this booklet at Shelley’s Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery site. If you reside in or near Fall River, it can also be purchased at the Fall River History Society and the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum for a good value price of $20.
(Note: Shelley has performed in a series of mini films by Richard Behrens, Garden Bay Films, and those can be viewed HERE.)
Many of us have given thought as to what other era we would have liked to have been born in. Myself, for example, would have liked to have lived in Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1880’s, or in Paris in the 1920’s when I was IN my twenties. Shelley, on the other hand, would most probably have preferred the Victorian era. I see her as the Elsa Maxwell of Fall River’s Victorian and Edwardian era.
If she had been born into a family residing in one of those great Victorian houses in the Highlands neighborhood of Fall River, she would have grown into quite the society lady. She would have had wonderful, chatty teas with her lady friends, organized and been President of the Victorian Home Gardens Society of Fall River, invited the “Hill people’ to her fabulous costumed parties and soirees, been active in a number of charities, and a formidable member of the Central Congregational Church. Her tireless pursuits of grand special events throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras would have made her a local legend with several mentions in Philip T. Sylvia, Jr.’s Victorian Vistas. Yes, she definitely would have been the Elsa Maxwell of that time. I think she even resembles her a bit, yes?
Shelley Dziedzic Elsa Maxwell
So a big shout-out to Shelley and all she does to enrich the experience of B&B guests, the August 4th re-enactments (which probably wouldn’t happen without her – or at least not nearly as well produced), and going about her successful endeavors quietly, creatively, and without regard for personal notoriety and/or media exposure.. Thank you, Shelley!
Check out Shelly’s websites: