The Lizzie Borden House
Inside this ominous and meticulously well-kept house in Fall River Massachusetts, a terrible crime occurred.
On August 4th 1892, 32-year-old Lizzie Borden screamed up to the third floor where the maid was resting: “Maggie, come quick! Father’s dead. Somebody came in and killed him.”
The maid came running down to find the bloody body of Lizzie’s father slumped on a sofa. A short time later the bludgeoned body of Lizzie’s stepmother was found in an upstairs bedroom beside the bed. Police also discovered a hatchet in the basement of the Borden home.
There had been tension in the household between Lizzie and her father over issues of her inheritance and also over Mr. Borden’s new wife. So naturally, Lizzie was a likely suspect.
Lizzie Borden was subsequently tried and acquitted in the gruesome ax murders of her father and stepmother. The murders were never solved and no one else was ever charged.
Lizzie lived in the house at 92 Second Street until shortly after the trial concluded.
Since historic crime-scene photographs are often the best and only preserved images of a house in pre-real estate photo times, I thought I would share these with you…
[I’ve pixelated the corpses because this is not a blog about dead bodies, it’s a blog about houses]
These historic photos are disturbing but they give us an amazing glimpse into the decor of a 1890’s home.
Built in 1845 by Charles C. Trafton as a duplex, the house was later converted into a single family home by Lizzie’s father Andrew J. Borden. He purchased the house in 1872 due to its close proximity to the bank he owned and several other businesses in the downtown area.
Despite being wealthy, Andrew Borden was also known for being stingier than most. For example, even though indoor plumbing was available in the late 19th century, the Borden house did not have plumbing at the time of the murders.
The house has been remarkably well preserved by past and present owners. Today it appears almost identical to how it appeared when it made the news in the 1890’s…
It didn’t always look this way, however. In the recent past the house was painted light pink and mauve and had a commercial building squished up against the front right side of the house:
At some point in the recent past, the storefront building was removed and the paint scheme was changed.
For all the years of its existence, the house at 92 Second Street was used as a private residence – up until the past decade when it was converted to a bed & breakfast.
Now you can spend the night at the Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast “Where everyone is treated like family.” That’s their slogan – no joke.
Have a look inside Lizzie’s former digs…
Below is the sofa room where Mr. Borden’s body was found [not the actual couch – just a replica]
Love the doilies on the arm rests.
The kitchen remains in its Victorian state…
Everything about it is authentic (except for that glaring white plastic garbage bag, of course).
And this is the bedroom where Lizzie’s stepmother was found dead beside the bed…
The period carpeting, wallpaper and furnishings work so well to keep this home frozen in time.
Apparently at her trial, after being acquitted by the jury, Lizzie turned to her sister and said:
“Now take me home. I want to go to the old place and go at once tonight.”
She didn’t stay long at “the old place”, however. With her share of her father’s inheritance Lizzie bought a large Queen Anne style mansion nearby and lived there until her death in 1927. Known as Maplecroft, the 3,697 square foot home is currently listed for sale at $650,000. So now you can own the house where Lizzie lived out her final years, and where her funeral was held after she died…
But it is the original Borden house – the crime scene – that is rumored to be haunted. Guests at the Lizzie Borden B&B frequently report hearing strange voices and being touched by unseen hands.
Some say the spirit is Lizzie trying to proclaim her innocence. Others say it is the victims trying to indicate the guilty party.
Whatever your theory, be sure to book a room early – Lizzie’s house is reserved at least a year in advance!