Category Archives: Time Portals

Transporting Lizzie & the Borden case to another time and/or place; imaginative offerings that juxtapose facts with fiction.

Inside Lizzie Borden’s Renovated Maplecroft

Created by author Rebecca Pittman – The History & Haunting of Lizzie Borden.  Enjoy.

BTW, while I think Kristee Bates has done a very good job in renovating “Maplecroft”, I still do not think this is how Lizzie had it furnished and decorated in her day.  Lizzie selected only the very best of furnishings, fixtures and equipment because she could well afford it.  Her home, which she nurtured and lovingly maintained as if it were her child, had the very best appointments.  She bought only “the very best”.   Kristee worked on a budget and it does not escape the discerning eye.  Nonetheless, it is still beautiful and representative of Victorian homes of the 1890’s.  However, one only has to go to the Fall River Historical Society  or the Easton Tea Room (1870 Alexander Dorrance Easton residence also owned by the FRHS) to see the high quality wallpaper and exceptional quality furniture donated over the years.  The difference is remarkable and unmistakable.  There one will find furniture and fixtures inside these two establishments closer to what “Miss Lizbeth” would have had in her own home.

While the precise decade (1893 to 1927)  Maplecroft’s renovated interior  is reflecting is unclear, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum is furnished exactly as it would have been on August 4, 1892.  Aspiring and inspired detectives can play out what they know or suspect of the crimes with a full and thoroughly captivating  “stage”.   Kudos to the original “set decorators” and Kudos to General Manager Lee-ann Wilber  (since 2004)  and owner, Donald Woods,  who have not altered  its base authenticity.

And a special Kudo to Rebecca Pittman for providing us with the first ever video showing the interiors of both the Second Street and French Street homes in which Lizzie lived the entire first half and entire second half of her life, respectively.   Well done!


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Regarding that Chloe Sivigny-Kristen Stewart Film on Lizzie Borden

Prepare yourself for another grossly fictitious telling of the Lizzie Borden story – this one showing her as having a lesbian affair with the maid, Bridget Sullivan.  Read about it HERE.

Aside from the two female stars, everyone else now attached to the project are pretty much unknowns.  Sadly, the work of the Director tells us a lot about the genre and qualilty of this yet to be produced film.

When, oh, when will we ever have a true depiction of this most compelling case?

Sigh.  And so it goes.

Meanwhile, enjoy this “Then and Now” image depicting the Sitting Room at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum in Fall River.

SOFA LBBphoto credit Joey Razda





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Lizzie Borden in Hawaii

I decided to take Lizzie Borden with me to Hawaii this year.  Aside from bringing the most inappropriate clothing and a few surprising missteps in behavior, she was a most agreeable travel companion.

I usually stay on the more touristy side of the Big Island, Kona, but this year opted for Hilo – the only place in the entire State that is still representative of old time Hawaii.


DSCN6421From the balcony of our hotel room we had a view of the cruise ships harbored in the distance.

Lizzie so enjoyed watching them sailing in and out and told me of her voyage on the Grand Tour in 1890.DSCN6657




DSCN6685  I was surprised at her exploratory nature at my friend’s 5 acre estate just north of Hilo.


“Lizzie get down from there, you’ll hurt yourself.”


“That’s better.”


One day we drove straight across the middle of the island on the new between the two volcanoes.





Lizzie was in awe of its beautiful terrain.


We lunched in Kailua Kona.



We visited the old stone church across from the Queen’s Palace…….


….where Lizzie suddenly became distressed that no one was in the pews.  I had to remind her it was Thursday.


At one point she even climbed aboard the display of the ship on which the missionaries sailed from Boston in the 1870’s.


Lizzie loved the many beaches and when she asked “Will we see more up the roadway?” , I answered “Since we’re on an island, I’d be saying Yes.”





At the famous Rainbow Falls.

LB Rainbow


“Lizzie, you’re too far out…..come in closer to shore.”


“Thank you.”






Always conscious of her deportment, I was surprised on one occasion having to say:  “Lizzie, get up off the table, you’re embarrassing yourself.”



But in all fairness, this is what occurred a little earlier.



Aside from that misstep, the trip was amazing for both Lizzie and myself.   I may even take her next year.


Aloha and Mahalo.




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






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″.


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)



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.


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


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


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.


Time Portal: Agatha & Ditz – The Soorey Spinsters

(Recycled from 2008)

 “Any similarities in the following to real people are purely coincidental.”

Flash Forward – Summer, 2027. Orlando, Florida. Setting: An old 1-story wood frame, weather-beaten house, window screens torn and hanging askew, paint peeling, shrubbery overgrown (think Edie Beale).

Two sisters, one age 65, with dark short hair flattened on one side from a night’s sleeping on a stained uncovered pillow, an elongated face strongly resembling Stan Laurel that shows the stress and disappointment of unfulfilled dreams as represented by her tattered crinkle fabric slacks and frayed t-sheet emblazoned with “”; the other age 70, long gray hair to her ankles distracting from the several pencils protruding from her headr; wearing pinch nez glasses, a long floral gauze-like frock, barefooted she moves at a slow and aged pace, her back hunched as she carries a large 3-ring notebook cradled in her arm. The sun is nearly set and the room is dark and musky, the only light is from the computer screen.

They drink tea from delicate, ornate bone china cups and converse wistfully about never marrying or having children. Alone, save for each other, the conversation turns –

Agatha: She died 100 years ago today.
Ditz: Who died?
Agatha: Why, Lizzie, you old fool.
Ditz: How do you know that? What’s your source? And don’t call me Lizzie.
Agatha: I didn’t mean YOU Lizzie. I meant “our” Lizzie. Oh, nevermind.
Ditz: Well, I only ask for the source so that I can check it, but I may already have that information. Lessee, where did I put those other binders. (She steps over several cats and piles of xerox copies of newspapers going back 150 years, and picks up a stack of papers, dropping the binder from her arms and hitting her toe, causing her to jump awkwardly up and down, her foot landing in a pile of catshit.)
Agatha: I would laugh at you if you weren’t so pathetic.
Ditz: Ha! You haven’t laughed in years.
Agatha: Neither have you.
Ditz: Yes, but I said it first.
Agatha: No, *I* said it first.
Ditz: Said what?
Agatha: Said that you haven’t laughed in years.
Ditz: I thought you meant who said it first.
Agatha: Who said what first?
Ditz: (pulls a pencil out of her hair): I’m going to document that. What time is it?
Agatha: 8:07 pm.
Ditz: (she writes down 8:07 pm): Are you certain? How do you know that. What’s your source?
Agatha: The watch I’m wearing.
Ditz: You don’t have a watch.
Agatha. Well, if I had a watch it would read 8:07 pm.
Ditz: You’re making that up.
Agatha: No I’m not.
Ditz: Are too.
Agatha: Am not.
Ditz: Are! Are! Are!
Agatha: Why do you have 9 pencils poking out of your hair?
Ditz: I’m a researcher, remember? I’m a fact-checker. I need to have pencils with me at all times.
Agatha: What are you researching now?
Ditz: How many times Knowlton used the word “The” in his summation at the Trial.
Agatha: Hey, that’s a good one. I bet nobody’s ever thought of that.
Ditz: Uh huh. And another thing nobody’s thought about: When Lizzie went back up stairs to baste a sleeve….
Agatha: Sew on a button.
Ditz: Baste a sleeve.
Agatha: Baste a hem.
Ditz: Sew on a button.
Agatha: Baste a sleeve without a button.
Ditz: Hem a button.
Agatha: Whatever. What’s the other thing nobody’s thought about?
Ditz: Nobody’s thought about what?
Agatha: What you were going to say?
Ditz: What I was going to say about what?
Agatha: Watch it. You just stepped in cat shit again.
Ditz: Oh, I remember. When Lizzie went back upstairs which foot did she put on the first step. Her right foot or her left foot?
Agatha: I see. Because if she was right handed, her left hand would go on the railing and she would lead with her right foot.
Ditz: I’m checking the Witness Statements. It might be in there.
Agatha: You know who would know?
Ditz: Who?
Agatha: Phoebe Bowen. Or maybe Luranna. One of the two.
Ditz: I think I need to measure the size of Lizzie’s feet first.
Agatha: How can you do that?
Ditz: By taking her body composition times the length of her elbow to tip of her middle finger, dividing by 7 and calculating her height without shoes against the depth of the stairs and factoring the humidity of the air and the number of birds in the pear tree.
Agatha: Sounds plausible. Don’t bother me now, I’ve got to finish working on my presentation.
Ditz: Another one???
Agatha: Yes.
Ditz: But you just gave me one this afternoon.
Agatha: But this one’s different. This one’s in Dutch.
Ditz: Okay. I’ll make us some soup.
Agatha: You’ve got a cat turd stuck to your dress.
Ditz: How do you know? What’s your source?

The End.


Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Just for Laughs, Time Portals


Images of Old Fall River

Here’s more old pictures of Fall River first posted here in 2008 and then Recycled again in August of 2009.  Time to “revisit”.  😉  If you have trouble reading the colored type, just highlight over it and it turns black.  🙂

More images –

Notre Dame Church

Bank Street (north side)

Prospect and Highland

McWhirr’s on South Main

Belmont Street

Belmont looking West

Back of Durfee Mill 1911

1911 Flint Mill

1911 King Mill spinners

1911 Postal Messengers

1916 Chace Mill

1916 King Philip carding room

1916 Merhants Mill

I’ve added more old photos of Fall River. These mostly have to do with the mills and the child labor used to profit the owners…not often addressed but fortunately preserved by noted photographers.

Boys Club on Anawan Street – 1916

I love old photos of Fall River – some found on the internet, some sold on eBay, some from archival institutions and private collections.  Here are some random photos of Fall River and some of its people in the past:

SladeFerryBridge1905 Slade Ferry Bridge 1905

BordenFamCar “Borden” family in 1911 Cotton Centennial Parade

Dr.Dubois office 1908Dr. Dubois office – 1908.

1916millGirlsSewingMaplewood Mills – girls packing – 1916.

O'Neil's SpaO’Neil’s spa

LaFleurs pool room 1910LeFleuers pool room – 1910

Durfee1929-1973Durfee Theatre lobby (1929-1973)

Durfee-StageDurfee Theatre Stage

Library WomenLibrary women at a gathering.

Diving at Globe WharfDiving at Globe Wharf

TemperanceBarTemperance Bar

MainLookingNorthMain Street looking North


PianoTeacherPiano teacher

Azab Grotto Band Azab Grotto Band

buffingtonMayor Buffinton

HouseFireSceneHouse fire scene.

RockStRock Street

Truesdale Hospitl 1905Truesdale Hospital – 1905

130 Rock Street130 Rock Street

1915-EaglePool-318NoMainEagle pool room 318 N. Main – 1915

Alderman-SleighAlderman’s sleigh

Attorney BlinnAttorney Blinn

HorseBuggy1808Horse and buggy – 1908

LincolnAveLincoln Avenue 1900’s

City Hall after fire of 1886City Hall – after fire of 1886

drugstoreDrug Store

MillBoys1912Mill boys – 1910

SteepBrook school 1910Steep Brook school – 1910

clerkClerk – unknown date

Hotel WilburHotel Wilbur

1stCottonMill1st Cotton mill – 1811





The “Welcome” (also called “Victory”) Arch erected on South Main Street between the City Hall and the Granite Block for the July 4th, 1919 celebration welcoming home veterans returning from service during World War 1.


From a real photo post card found in an old Highland Avenue home which, according to the back, shows “The Holmes sisters in their father’s new Reo machine Aug. 1907.” Also written on the back is “Ella- 21 Hanover St. F. R.”


Another real photo post card from an old Highland Avenue estate. Labeled on back- “N.Y. & Boston Express Co. last money wagon in Fall River. 1910 driven by Thomas Fitzpatrick.”  Although likely not armored, the wagon appears to have been made of metal with a rear opening door. It was used to transport currency from the railroad station and steamship wharves to local banks and to provide security for weekly payrolls going to the many city mills.


Durfee Theatre exterior – 1960’s

Ariel view 1960'sAerial view – 1960’s – during construction of Braga Bridge



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Lizzie Borden & Lee Harvey Oswald

Reposted 11/10/2013

The names “Lizzie Borden” and “Lee Harvey Oswald” are known the world over.   Multitudes resolutely believe in their innocence and multitudes resolutely believe in their guilt.

Lizzie and Lee have become icons of unsolved murders.  “Made for t.v.” movies and several documentaries have been filmed about their cases.  Both have been psychologically dissected, studied and debated  in schools, on the web, and at various conference and lecture venues.

Hundreds of books have been written on the JFK assassination and dozens on the Borden murders, often proposing new theories via some newly discovered or suppressed information never before released.

The “sealed” files of certain documents of the House Committee on Assassinations parallels to the yet unrevealed Robinson files.

Looking at their background and character traits, even the most shallow analysis will yield that:

  • Both had a desperate need to be acknowledged, recognized, included.
  • Both hated rejection.
  • Both lacked skill sets in which to support themselves in a secure lifestyle.
  • Both were egocentric.
  • Both were dominant personalities.
  • Both lied when questioned on key points that tied physical evidence to them of their respective crimes.
  • Both had stubborn and obstinate natures.
  • Lizzie was in fear of losing her father’s estate.
  • Lee was in fear of losing his wife.
  • Lizzie loved what money could buy.
  • Lee loved his Marina.
  • Lizzie remained silent about the murders all her life.
  • Lee was silenced by the gun of another.
  • Lizzie vented her hatred with each thwack of the hatchet, over and over again
  • Lee vented his hatred of the establishment and his own inability to conform within it with two lucky hits out of three.
  • Lizzie had an ability to remain stoic and calm in the midst of the discovery of the crime within minutes of her hacking her father to death.
  • Lee displayed the same calm demeanor when first confronted by a police officer in the building from which he had just killed the President.
  • Neither was excited, out of breath, or displayed signs of guilt.

The further we get in time from these two infamous crimes, the more outlandish and implausible are the theories set forth.

Although perhaps not as they intended, Lizzie and Lee did achieve recognition and acceptance:  Recognition by others of who they were, and  Acceptance by others of their place in history.


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