Tag Archives: great fire of 1928

Fall River’s Great Fire of 1928

One of the most historic events of Lizzie Borden’s home town occurred the year after her death.  Fall River has a history of numerous fires but the most devastating was the Great Fire of 1928, as described 50 years later in this Fall River Herald News article.

The clock tower of City Hall is clearly seen in this photo, as well as the Academy Building, only one short block from the Borden house.

Phil Pitzer has posted on his Facebook page film footage of the aftermath of this historic event.  It is a remarkable piece of film and has added value in that we can see people engaged in the clean-up, adults walking in the neighborhoods, and children at play.

I asked Phil how he obtained this film and he wrote (also posted on Facebook):

“It was in a box of 16 mm film that was passed on to me by my grandfather Clarence Patten, a longtime resident of Fall River. I don’t even know if any of the younger people… in it are related to me. It is another reminder to ask these questions when people are still “with us” who can give answers. The other films are cartoons we would watch as children. The projector is a real neat item of course. Wonder if the museum would like it and the films. Projector is probably circa 1930. Still works great as you can see.”

Above seen taken from the silent video of the post fire demolition.

You can view the footage by clicking HERE.

It runs about 8 minutes and worth your patience in viewing all the way through.  It would have been wonderful to have audio with some kind of commentary on what we are viewing but a bit of research makes it easy to identify the buildings shown.  How fortunate Phil has made this footage public and I thank him for allowing me to post it here.

As a side note, it is unlikely that this event will be covered in the Fall River Historical Society’s book, “Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River” as the book covers the period of Lizzie’s life – 1860 to 1927.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Fall River History, Fall River, MA


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