Category Archives: Fall River
Been reading Rebecca Pittman’new book which is unlike any other Lizzie book written to date. This 826 page marvel shows deep research, surprisingly probable speculations, and is an overwhelmingly thrilling read. There is a generous number of images – many never seen before in this stunning work. In the “A New Address” chapter readers will find exclusive post-renovation interior images of “Maplecroft“, the home Lizzie lived in the entire second half of her life.
In the “Interviews” section we find a “coming together” (inside joke) of the three major Borden Blogmasters,, i.e., Shelley Dziedzic, Stefani Koorey, and moi revealing our embryonic interest in the case, etc.
I’ll be doing an in depth review when I finish reading this book and after I return from an overseas vacation. Meanwhile, don’t wait. Buy it! Available at Amazon.
The Fall River Historical Society has just premiered their long awaited re-constructed website and it’s a stunner! Of course the menu tab has “Lizzie Borden” but contained therein will be found thrilling to Borden case researchers.
The curating and organization are exemplary. Outstanding all around.
Here’s a photo sampling from the various “Collections”. I’m not going to explain what they are or who they are because if you are reading this you need to go to the site and emerge yourself. Here’s the LINK.
Mrs. George S. Brigham was an intimate friend, confidante, and staunch supporter of both Emma and Lizzie Borden and, as such, figured prominently in events following the Borden murders. She remained a lifelong friend of Emma Borden, but severed ties with Lizzie subsequent to the Borden sisters’ estrangement in 1905. Privy to a great deal of personal information pertaining to the Borden sisters, she decisively refused to discuss, either publicly or privately, her friendship with the two women, or her involvement in the case.” -from the FRHS website – Lizzie Borden Collections – The Brigham Collection
This image shows a side view of “Maplecroft’s” garage, not often seen.
The property next door to “Maplecroft” (as shown above) owned by Michael Brimbaugh, has been on the market for over two months. Brimbaugh and girlfriend, Stefani Koorey, have moved out after making improvements and prepping the property. Brimbaugh is building a new home in Westport.
Read Herald News article HERE with photos of interior.
This house was once owned by Lizzie Borden, indirectly. She had
instructed her business manager, Charles Cook, to purchase the home in
his name in 1926 the year before she died. When she passed away in
1927, this house was part of her estate.
“According to Len Rebello, in Lizzie Borden Past & Present (1999), “Charles Cook
sold the Henry property (house and land next to Maplecroft) to Mary K.
Buxton on March 14, 1928, for $10,000 but did not record the sale to
Lizzie’s estate. The property was purchased in December 1926, for
$12,000 with Lizzie’s money. However, the deed was in Mr. Cook’s name.
Lizzie had purchased other property and deeded it with Mr. Cook’s name
as trustee for her. This was a practice to avoid publicity. Lizzie paid the
taxes on the property and all repairs. Mr. Cook claimed it was Lizzie’s
intent that he have the Henry property when she died. Grace Howe and
Helen Leighton contested. They wanted the proceeds back in Lizzie’s
estate. The Probate Court ruled in their favor. The proceeds were placed
in Lizzie’s estate at a 6% interest rate. The decision of Probate Court was
appealed and heard at the state Supreme Court in Boston in 1932. Mr.
Cook claimed that the “Bristol Court had no right, while considering his
accounts as executor, to hear evidence as to the ownership of the
property.” (“Borden Case Before the Full Bench,” Taunton Daily Gazette,
April 8, 1932: 2) The Supreme Court agreed with the ruling of Probate
Court.” from Every House Has a Story
Meanwhile, “Maplecroft” owner, Kristee Bates, still struggles with bringing her property up to compliance with various codes in accordance with permit processing and issuance – a costly endeavor. Also, the once announced Leonard Rebello and Bill Pavao as co-curators have long disappeared from the scene due to differences of opinion in the renovations (more on that later). But at least Kristee will no longer have that invasive “hawkeye” peering from her now vacated neighbor.
Unlike certain TV documentaries, this one has an expanded cast including Uncle John Morse and Nance O’Neil – real life characters. This “Spindle City.…” musical takes into account the mill workers – something most often ignored in prior plays and T.V. documentaries on the case itself. This is the second musical I’ve heard, the first being “LIzzie Borden the Rock Musical” which has enjoyed a good measure of success.
Uncle John Morse
Judging by this casting call, artistic license once again will run rampant. As with so many TV depictions of the case, there are many fictional characters However, I’m looking forward to the singing and dancing. It is, after all, a musical – – not some 10 part PBS Documentary by Ken Burns or a major theatrical release directed by Martin Scorcese. (sigh)
I’ve been to the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood before. Its very small. Can’t imagine the dancing on that small stage but we’ll see. Maybe they go into the audience.
I still maintain that the VERY BEST PLAY on Lizzie Borden is “Lizzie Borden Took An Axe” by Garrett A. Heater, which premiered at the Covey Theate Company in Syracuse, NY, played at BMC Durfee H.S., and continues to be produced in New England. But that was a drama with age appropriate actors.
Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock continues to be the most produced of all Borden-related plays.
I’ll write a review in after seeing Katrina Wood’s production.
Meanwhile, I await Rebecca Pittman’s new book.
Time to revisit Maplecrof – Lizzie Borden’s home for the entire second half of her life. She had great pride in this house which she nurtured, maintained, and coveted as if it were the child she never had.
Former owner, Bob Dube and current owner Kristee Bates – Fall River Herald News photo
House was purchased on November 21, 2014 by Twilight Enterprises (actually Howard and Kristee).
While its been written and often stated that Lizzie and her sister moved into a mansion on The Hill, the Charles M. Allen house was not a mansion. Newport had mansions – Fall River had stately Victorian homes. “Maplecroft” was purchased in November 2014.
The Fall River Herald News ran this article on early discoveries Kristee made of her renovation endeavors.
Last year, Kristee sent me fragments of the original wall paper and drapes from Lizzie’s front bedroom which I framed and show here:
Lizzie seems to have favored the darker colors, unlike her dining room paper shown below.
There are attempts to identify and acquire books Lizzie owned which, when signed by her, can cost several thousand dollars. Copies on display in Maplecroft would most certainly lack the “oooohh” and “aaahhh” factor as only things that really belonged to her will deliver satisfaction to visitors. For example, having a tour guide correctly state: “And this is the bed that Lizzie Borden died in.”
The house – as a tourist attraction – will have to be furnished with exquisite and tasteful furniture, fixtures, and other appointments that Lizzie herself would have purchased. Such acquisitions will be costly and difficult to find or otherwise acquire, however, will grant great credit to the new owners if achieved. I wish them the best of success in these endeavors and look forward to their progress.
All satellites are beginning to orbit around “The Wonderful World of Lizzie.” All is in place for the annual re-enactment at the Lizzie Borden B&B, followed by the obligatory Maplecroft “porch pose” (site inspection done by director of Pear Essential Players today), followed by the laying of flowers at the Borden plot at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Other satellites already beaming GPS coordinates for the dozens of cruise-by vehicles on French Street while the Fall River Herald News photographer will capture exteriors of crowds and interiors of “actors” simulating the morning chaos of August 4, 1892 to appear on the front page of its August 5th edition.
The Fall River Historical Society is battening down the hatchets for one of their biggest days of the year and displaying letters Lizzie wrote while incarcerated as well as prominent selections from their vast repository of Lizzie Borden artifacts and Trial evidence.
Satellite debris fallout in this Wonder World of Lizzie includes the regurgitation of Lizzie documentaries aired on TV, followed by all the blog posts, media mentions and newspaper write-ups commemorating this august day. (See what I just did there?)
Kristee Bates, Maplecroft owner, tells me she will NOT be allowing people inside no matter how loudly they knock, but it might be a tad difficult to turn away Utah license plates with a car full of wide eyed, salivating, and pathetically pleading individuals.
Our dear Lizzie, throughout all this annual hoopla, will remain in repose buried at her father’s feet. Andrew’s bony skeleton arms cross his chest where a singular high school ring (a gift from Lizzie) dangles from his finger. We might consider it a testament to his love for her if it weren’t for that sudden jerk of his foot that kicks Lizzie in the head at the stroke of 11:00 am each and every 4th of August.