RSS

Category Archives: Maplecroft

Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft: To B or Not to B&B

a

Photo by Deborah Allard, Fall River Herald News

It’s been over a month since the Facebook page “Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft” has revealed an update of the renovation progress or information on planned opening date for tours.

It is still most likely the residence where Lizzie lived the entire second half of her life will NOT be operated as a Bed & Breakfast as first indicated by Kristee Bates.   

While curators Rebello and Pavao have been on the hunt for furniture, fixtures and artifacts associated with the home during the period Lizzie lived there (1893-1927), they have yet to discover and acquire items with the “Wow” factor, such as the bed in which Lizzie died. 

Unlike 92 Second Street, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, where the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden took place on August 4, 1892, there is not one fixed date of historical significance at 306 French Street.  Lizzie lived there for 35 years but only 12 with her sister, Emma (1893-1905).  So will the furnishings depict that period or post Emma?  Will it depict furnishings and artifacts of the elderly Lizzie?  Styles in home decor differed greatly from the mid and late 1890’s as cultural shifts in society changed from the Edwardian era to World War I to the Jazz Age.  Definitely a curating – let alone a seek and obtain – challenge.

One of the basic tenants of marketing an event is to build excitement.  If the event is to draw attention and excitement about a future tourist attraction, titillating “teasers”  are essential.  No doubt whenever the opening, there will be significant local interest.  Local media reporting will feed into the regional news, but with ongoing good marketing appeal would extend to national and international interest.   And our treasured Lizzie Borden and her story is not landlocked within our own shores.

Early on in Ms. Bates renovation endeavors she sent me nearly a dozen short videos of her sweat equity.  From the “steeple” room where she plans (planned?) to have “tarot card readings”, to the 3rd floor (attic, i.e., servant’s quarters), to kitchen, to basement, to enclosed porch “where I’ll serve tea and crumpets” these videos show exactly what was being done and explained by Kristee herself.    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THESE VIDEOS, EMAIL ME AND I’LL SEND THEM TO YOU.

There are those who do not think “Maplecroft” will open to the public at all.   Perhaps it will be a seasonal thing and for tours only.   Whatever the use it should be marketed effectively.  The Lizzie Borden B&B Museum is self-marketing – Maplecroft is not.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lizzie Borden’s Impeccable Taste at “Maplecroft”

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.

KB and Dube

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 house even has its own Facebook Page.  (A webpage by the new owner is being developed and you can set up a Google alert to stay current.  It’s aptly named “Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft.”)

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:

12391403_111332412574133_2465302378741867533_n

 

Dscn4679

 

Dscn4680

Dscn4682

 

Dscn4672

 

Dscn4666

Lizzie seems to have favored the darker colors, unlike her dining room paper shown below.

Wallpaper

Front Foyer Nov --2000

EntrytoDining2000

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.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Kind of Party Lizzie Borden Would Have Wanted to Attend as a Teenager

aa

 

NOTE:    I HAD THE ORIGINAL LETTER IMAGED BELOW IN MY ‘LIZZIE BORDEN ” COLLECTION FOR YEARS.  I TOOK IT ON ONE OF MY TRIPS TO FALL RIVER AND HAD THE FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY PHOTOCOPY EACH PAGE FOR THEIR COLLECTION.   EXCERPTS OF THIS LETTER NOW APPEAR IN THE FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S BOOK, PARALLEL LIVES – A SOCIAL HISTORY OF LIZZIE A. BORDEN AND HER FALL RIVER.   

LATER, I SOLD THE ORIGINAL LETTER ON EBAY (AND I’M STILL SMILING).

(THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THIS BLOG PAGE OVER A DECADE AGO BUT WARRANTS A NEW ISSUE).

When Lizzie Borden was in her teens and early 20′s she did attend parties with her contemporaries. She may have attended a party not unlike the one described in the handwritten letter below by Florence Borden, daughter of Spencer Borden. Flushed with the excitement of the evening’s events, the 15 year old Florence wrote “November 30, 1896″ at the top of the letter, but the postmark shows when it was mailed the next day, “December 1, 1895″.

scan0001

Shortly after acquiring this letter for my collection, I took it with me on my next visit to Fall River and left a photocopy for Fall River Historical Society Curator Michael Martins to help me identify those named within the letter. He wrote a 9-page response and I include the first two pages here to save me time (and space) in providing background and identification particulars of a few mentioned:  (Click on all images for larger view)

scan0008

scan0009

Page1 Page2

Page3 Page4

Note:  Parker Hooper (born 1877) was the son of  William S. and Isabella Hooper who resided on French Street, three houses east from Lizzie.

Page5

Page6 Page7

Bertha Borden (born 1882) was the 15 year old daughter of Jerome Cook Borden & Emma Borden.  Jerome was Lizzie’s cousin who supported her during her Trial.

Page8 Page9

Page11 Page12

Young Florence is clearly thrilled with the costumes and those attending.  Her letter reflects an almost giddiness in her descriptions.  She lived in one of the two grandest homes in Fall River:  Interlachen

interlaken

……and she spent that night with Marion Osborne at the other grand house:   the Carr-Osborne House

C-OHouse

One generation behind Lizzie, these young ladies and gentlemen were the sons and daughters of Fall River’s elite society on “The Hill”.  And while they were only around 8-12 years old when the Borden murder case exploded upon the Fall River scene, they would know of Lizzie all their lives.   (Most would live long enough to have read Edmund Pearson, Edward Radin and even a fellow B.M.C. Durfee High School graduate, Victoria Lincoln.)

It would be less than two years after this party that Lizzie would be trumpeted again on the front pages:   the Tilden-Thurber shoplifting incident.   An oh, how these fine, cultured young people must have gossiped about that at other parties.

Note:  Florence doesn’t tell us if any of the ladies came dressed as Lizzie Borden with a hatchet sewed onto their skirt.  That would have been shockingly inappropriate.  Never would have happened.  But today?  Hell yes.

 

The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast – Boston Herald Article

The Borden home on Second Street in Fall River, Mass., where the murders of Lizzie Borden's parents occurred, is now a bed and breakfast. (Donna Hageman/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The Borden home on Second Street in Fall River, Mass., where the murders of Lizzie Borden’s parents occurred, is now a bed and breakfast. (Donna Hageman/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

HERE is a very good article on the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast from the Boston Herald. The lack of current info on Maplecroft is what happens when reporters can’t get in touch with Kristee Bates. I’ve told her she needs to embrace those relationships because their reportings are all free publicity. I’ve had reporters contact me asking for her phone # to do interviews. I pass on the info to Kristee, but she is always too busy. Hope that changes.

The B&B is self-promoting and gets repeat business because of what happened there and the total experience for the guests. Maplecroft’s marketability is more a one time visit without an appeal to see again – because Lizzie only lived there the second half of her life – nothing significant really happened compared to 92 Second Street. Experiences from the two different structures are like going to Disneyland versus going to Walt Disney World.

Anyway, the more references now on the internet about Maplecroft opening up in the near future to the public will pay dividends later.

 

Tags: , , , ,

August 4, 2015 – Lizzie in the Media

shelley
 Here’s the big story in the Fall River Herald News of the 123rd Anniversary of the Borden Murders.
 This article has a photo of two of the re-enactors on Maplecroft’s porch.  CLICK HERE.
 shogi

Findings such as this show us Lizzie Borden as a flesh and blood, three dimensional 19th Century woman with feelings – instead of that iconic caricature of a post-pubescent maniacal sociopath wielding a bloody axe.

http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20150803/NEWS/150809381

A rare collection of Lizzie Borden’s personal correspondence will be exhibited to the public for the

I’ll come up with a better quiz shortly.  This one was too easy.
Tuesday is the 123rd anniversary of the Borden murders. How well do you know your Lizzie Borden facts? Challenge your knowledge with our 10-question quiz.
heraldnews.com|By Herald News staff

As indicated a few days ago – here’s a restoration update. Kudos to Kristee! http://www.heraldnews.com/…/…/NEWS/150726398/0/breaking_ajax

Maplecroft, the mansion where Lizzie Borden lived after she was acquitted of murdering her parents, has been spiffed up just in time for the annual
heraldnews.com|By Deborah Allard

In the original Arrest Warrant for Lizzie Borden, prepared by Marshall Hilliard, she was accused only of the murder of her father. Her Indictment was, of course, for both the murder of her father and stepmother. The interesting thing here is that the “weapon” is named as a HATCHET. A hatchet. Not an axe. Not a sharp instrument. A hatchet.

This is the Arrest Warrant that the Marshall had in his hip pocket when he and Mayor Coughlin went to the Borden house on Saturday

See More

Lizzie Andrew Borden Chat Page's photo.

Stones on Lizzie’s headstone placed today by descendents of Helen Hirsch – of the 6,000 descendents of Schindler’s Jews. Well, I don’t know that, but having seen the film again recently it occurred to me what a quirky and charming thing that would be in the “Wonderful World of Lizzie.” As August 4th comes to a close on the east coast, I bid adieu. Say Goodnight, Gracie. (image swiped from Deborah Allard Dion FB page.

Lizzie Andrew Borden Chat Page's photo.
Once at this page, it’s fun to click on all the blue highlighted names.  Try it.
 

The Wonderful World of Lizzie

Lizzie double shadowImage from Fall River Historical Society

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.

Echos

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.

 

Maplecroft Neighbors: Lizzie on French Street

(Recycled post – originally published in July, 2008) 

Here’s a question I’ve pondered from time to time: Of those French Street and nearby neighbors, who might have visited Lizzie Borden that last year of her life? Weak and not recovered from her gall bladder operation, who went a-calling? No mystery in finding out who lived nearby; more difficult is assessing which neighbors would have visited her. One can only speculate. Here’s a scan from my 1926 and 1927 Fall River City Directories. Let’s take a peek at a sampling of those neighbors

.

Directly across the street from Lizzie at 309 French was Mrs. Emma Lake. Her son, Arthur Lake praised Lizzie in Joyce Williams’ Casebook, but there had been a property dispute between Lizzie and Mrs. Lake after Lizzie acquired half a lot adjacent and wanting it for an open park. It would seem Lizzie and Mrs. Lake ended their friendship on ugly terms. Perhaps Arthur was never made aware of that dispute.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the east would be at 328 French Street, shown above. The 1926 Directory shows this house as apartments with Edwin Belcher a tenant and school teacher Harriet E. Henry (listed in the Directory as “Hervey”). By the time of printing of the 1927 Directory, Edwin Belcher is no longer a tenant. This property was purchased in 1925 by Harriet and then sold to Charles C. Cook, Lizzie’s business manager, in trust for Lizzie about 7 months before Lizzie’s death. That particular transaction would end up being reviewed by the State Supreme Court, but we’ll skip the details for now. This property is alternately referred to as the Henry House or the Davenport House (a previous owner and relation to Harriet). Note: The rod iron spiked fencing separating the properties was installed by Lizzie.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the west, 324 French, would be John T. Swift. Swift was the lawyer Alice Russell, her conscious weighing heavily, first told of the dress burning incident. Had Swift not advised Alice to tell it to District Attorney Hosea Knowlton, we would not even know who Lizzie Borden was 115 years later. Shown here left to right is the Swift house, Maplecroft, and the Henry/Davenport house. Photo taken in 1998.

The next house east is 344 French where the widow Mrs. Isabella Hooper lived. Perhaps she and Lizzie visited? Exterior re-hab has been going on for years with this house and it looks much better in 2007. This photo was taken in 2005. Across the street and slightly east from Maplecroft, this structure existed in 1926 but I’m unable to locate the number from the 1926 or 1927 Directory. It is now a commercial property and often referred to as the “Baker” lot. Lizzie bequeathed to Charles Cook “my so-called Baker lot on French Street across from where I live.” I took this photo in 1999.

At the southeast corner of French and Belmont was John Summerfield Brayton, Jr., a BC&C (Big Cheese & Connected) whose crowing bird annoyed Lizzie and made her nervous over a quarter century before she died. Did John and Mary Brayton visit Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At 257 French was Everett M. Cook, Vice President of BMC Durfee Trust Company. Another BC&C, like so many on French Street. At 243 French was Elizabeth J. McWhirr, widow of Robert A. McWhirr, who may have been related to the great McWhirr department store. Did she go a-calling on Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At the southeast corner of French & June at 421 June was Marion Jennings – the daughter of attorney Andrew Jennings. It’s safe to say she did not call upon Lizzie. It’s further safe to say Marion had no knowledge of what lay inside an old hip bath covered with a tarp up in the attic of this house. Most likely, neither did Lizzie.

ON ROCK STREET:

Carrie L. Borden is listed in 1926 at 492 Rock Street, but in 1927, only her sister Anna H. Borden. These ladies went on the Grand Tour with Lizzie in 1890. It is my educated guess that they were the two sisters that spoke in confidence to author Edmund Pearson when he was writing his long, first essay on the Borden case in Studies in Murder. It’s highly doubtful these ladies went a-calling to Miss Lizbeth of Maplecroft.

At 618 Rock was Jerome C. Borden, son of Cook Borden and Grace Hartley Howe’s uncle, and strong supporter of Lizzie in 1892-93. Jerome succeeded Andrew as President of Union Bank, but it’s doubtful Jerome ever presented his calling card at Maplecroft during Lizzie’s last year. While most genetic threads were woven tightly, some weaves became irreparably tattered.

At 451 Rock Street was the formidable Elizabeth Hitchcock Brayton, whose nephew, having inherited this stately granite beauty, donated it to the Fall River Historical Society in 1935.

Actually, the 400 thru 700 blocks of Rock Street in 1927 reads like a Who’s Who of Fall River. However, after Lizzie died, Fall River had about one good year remaining before its economy and stratified society would fade and dissolve like so much smoke drift from the iconic mill chimineys that marked its once great prominence and vitality.

BACK TO FRENCH STREET

The interesting thing about French Street is that at #96 French Street, just west of Rock Street, we find Gertrude M. Baker, long time English teacher at BMC Durfee High School. ( The 1927 Fall River High School Yearbook, “The Durfee Record”, is dedicated to Gertrude Baker). Gertrude owned a summer house on the beach in Linekin, East Boothbay, Maine. She was a friend of a later friend of Lizzie’s, Miss Helen Leighton (we’ll get to her in a moment) but the important thing is through this thread that bound, Miss Baker was a founder and Treasurer of the Fall River Animal Rescue League from 1914-1930. It seems more a gratuitous gesture for service rendered than one steeped in a personal friendship that Lizzie left Gertrude $1,000 in her Will. Miss Baker never married and when she died she left her money to her close friend, Helen Leighton, along with her beach house in Linekin. Lucky Helen.

Helen Leighton struck half of the mother lode upon Lizzie’s death being one of two primary legatees. Seven years younger than Lizzie, Miss Leighton graduated from nursing school in Fall River a month before Lizzie went to Trial for the double hatchet homicide. Helen had been nurse and companion to Eudora Borden Dean, daughter of that very wealthy Captain of Fall River Industry, Jefferson Borden. Smart Helen. In 1913, she had successfully solicited money from Lizzie to start the Fall River Animal Rescue League of which she became its President. Clever Helen. She moved to Boston in 1919 and Lizzie visited her there, taking in galleries and the theatre. She moved to Brookline, MA. in 1924, and when she died in 1947, newspapers reporting on the Borden case were found stuffed inside the walls of the Linekin beach house.

So there they are: Gertrude, Helen, and Lizzie – they could have all three been sisters judging by how they looked in these photographs. It’s anyone’s guess as to who introduced who to whom in this three-some, a constellation in orbit around Lizzie’s moon. These dames were really out of the same mold. Same hair styles, same glasses, same kind of dresses. I can almost visualize them at the Animal Rescue League Board of Directors meeting or even taking their time walking through some museum in Boston or New York. Not exactly your party-hardy type broads. Uh uh. But oh so very proper, yes indeed. Decorum, decorum, decorum. All were proper spinsters who loved animals. None ever married or had children of their own to enrich their lives, to nurture, to enjoy, to love, and who would return that love.

Grace Hartley Howe hit the other half of the mother lode, inheriting half of Lizzie’s half of Maplecroft, furniture, jewelry, books, carpets, personal effects, etc. Grace’s grandfather was Cook Borden, a brother of Abraham, Andrew’s father. In 1926, Grace and her husband Louis are in the 1926 Directory as having a residence at 636 Rock Street, but in 1927 Grace is living at 464 Locust. Louis McHenry Howe was chief advisor and political strategist to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt but lived in the White House, visiting his family at their Westport residence in Horseneck Beach. (Louis would die in 10 years and be buried at Oak Grove with FDR attending his funeral.) But here we see Grace was literally in walking distance to Lizzie in 1926 and 1927, and surely she must have visited her. I have long believed Grace was called by the Reverend Cleveland of the Church of Ascension and was at Maplecroft when Lizzie died. She would have been, after Emma, the next and, literally, nearest of kin. Ten years after Lizzie’s death, two years after the final probate of Lizzie’s Will, and one year after her husband died, Grace was appointed Postmistress of Fall River by President Roosevelt.

Of these three women, Gertrude, Helen and Grace, two (Helen and Grace) gave newspaper interviews in the week after Lizzie died. One other woman, definitely not neighbor nor friend of Lizzie’s when she died, also gave an interview – Nance O’Neil. Nance met Lizzie in 1904. By 1927, Nance had successfully transitioned from the stage to motion pictures. In the newspaper interview she remarked on Lizzie’s kindness, refinement, and intelligence, downplaying their relationship and characterizing it as “ships passing in the night.” She was not named in Lizzie’s Will. Nance lived long enough to have read several books on Lizzie published prior to 1965. Her ashes are entombed with her husband, Alfred Hickman at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.

I think Lizzie was probably always ladylike and refined and masked her inner angst and depression when in public. We know she let that mask down with Miss Leighton, who, after Lizzie’s death, commented so definitively on Lizzie’s loneliness and depression in her later years. The Roaring Twenties, shorter skirts, bobbed hair, Lindberg racing across the Atlantic through the skies while she, Lizzie never did anything in a hurry. The “Flapper Age” must have come on like gangbusters and not suited her at all, much like the sexual liberation of the 1970’s to the Born Again Christians. No, I don’t think Lizzie liked the changing times. She was nervous and depressed enough and now all this fast living. (Mammy to Scarlett: “It ain’t fittin’, it just ain’t fittin’).

I can envision her, in her last year of life, sitting on her window box seat in her summer bedroom in Maplecroft. More alone and isolated than ever with only a tiny few who ever came a-calling. Dressed in a stylish lounging gown, too weak to go up and down the stairs every day, she would have spent much time wistfully looking at the houses below and at the young people coming and going. Perhaps a young man honking the horn of his tricked out Model T Ford for his girlfriend to come out. Twenty Three Skid-doo. I envision one of Lizzie’s dogs in her lap feeling the gentle strokes of her hand as she remembers a quieter time of proper deportment. The era of when ladies were ladies and conducted themselves accordingly was gone forever. Stroke…….Sigh……Stroke.

No wonder our “Lizbeth of Maplecroft” preferred Dickens and Trollup over F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sources:

1926 & 1927 Fall River City Directory

Unveiled: Miss Helen Leighton by Leonard Rebello, Lizzie Borden Quarterly, October 2000, Vol VII, #4.

1927 BMC Durfee H.S. Yearbook.

Last Will and Testament of Lizzie Andrew Borden.

Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence, Fall River Historical Society.

Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage, vol. 2, by William C. Young, 1975.

Lizzie Borden- Past and Present, Leonard Rebello, Alzack Press, 1999.

Conversations with Robert Dube, owner, at 306 French Street, August 3 & 5, 2007.

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 233 other followers