Tag Archives: home ownership of borden house


Here is the history of ownership of the “Lizzie Borden” House in Fall River, Ma. now a famous Bed & Breakfast hosted by Lee-ann Wilber and Donald Woods.

Built in the year Borden & Almy formed their partnership in the furniture business (and just before that year passed Andrew would marry Sarah Anthony Morse) this structure has remained virtually unchanged for 162 years. Borden scholars refer to it as “Mecca”. Standing resolute, almost stoic, this iconic edifice defies the many who have made the pilgrimage to unlock the secrets of what occurred on August 4, 1892.

(Images are progressive representations but not included with all citations.)


Southard Miller builds the house for Charles Trafton in 1845.

1845 to 1872: Charles C. Trafton, the original owner.

April 26, 1872
: Trafton sold the home to Andrew J. Borden. Lizzie was 12pt old & Emma, 20.

1892 to 1918: Emma and Lizzie inherited the property
and through the management of Charles Cook,
derived rental income for over 25 years.



June 15, 1918: Emma and Lizzie sold to John W. Dunn three months previous to the Great 1918 Pandemic.



1918 to 1920: John W. Dunn

February 2, 1920: Dunn sold the Second Street home to Mandel Mark.

Fall River’s population was 127,000

1920 to 1940: Mandel Mark


In 1940, the Leary Press was built on the
south side of
92 Second Street.

March 27, 1940: Mandel sold the property to The Fall River Trust Company.


1940 to 1943: The Fall River Trust Company (TFRTC).

In 1941, Alice Russell died in January;
the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December.

September 3, 1943: TFRTC sells to Wilfred J. and Alice A. Gingras.

Two months previous, William M. Emery’s article appeared in the
New Bedford Sunday Times recalling the Trial reporting of 1893.

1943 to 1948: Wilfred and Alice Gingras

December 7, 1948: Wilfred and Alice Gingras sell to Smart Advertising, Inc. (John McGinn was a partner in this printing business).


1948 to 1995: Smart Advertising, Inc.

1996 – Upon the deaths of John and Josephine McGinn,
Smart Advertising was inherited by grand- daughter Martha McGinn

and long time employee Ron Evans (later his wife, Simone Evans),
converted to the “Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum”,
opening up
to “outsiders” for the first time in almost 105 years.


In September of 1996, President Bill Clinton visited Fall River.

June 18, 2004: Smart Advertising, Inc. (Martha McGinn, President & Treasurer and co-owner Simone Evans) sold the property to Donald Woods of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

2004 – Donald Woods and partner Lee-ann Wilber
continue operating property as Bed & Breakfast.

April 27, 2005, Demolition of abutting structure, Leary Press.

2006 – “Barn” built and house is painted “drab” green

1845 to 2007 = 165 years since it was first built

Residents of 92 Second Street (not all inclusive of renters):
1850 to 1871 Charles Trafton, overseer of carding
1872 to 1893 Andrew J. Borden, businessman; (1892), Emma and Lizzie
1895 to 1897 Asa Gifford, janitor, Music Hall
1899 to 1920 Marcus A. Townsend, carpenter 1916-1917 Hyman Lubinsky
1920 to 1948 Mandel Mark, manufacturing / stationary
1948 to 1995 John R. and Josephine McGinn, Smart Advertising (printing business)
1996 to 2004 Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast / Museum
2004 to —- Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast

Fall River City Directories are helpful in identifying the many tenants that boarded at 92 Second Street, and one in particular will be noted because of his role on August 4, 1892: Hyman Lubinsky, the 19 year old ice cream peddler (also cited in Rebello).


  • Rebello, Leonard, Lizzie Borden Past & Present, 1999. p 24, 34+
  • Land transactions, Registry of Deeds, Fall River, MA.
  • Fall River City Directories

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