This is the home where a terrible double murder took place…
On the morning of August 4th 1892, 32-year-old Lizzie Borden screamed up to the third floor where the maid was sleeping: “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 on the floor beside the bed. Police also discovered a hatchet in the basement of the Borden home. Lizzie was suspected and subsequently charged for the murders.
The Lizzie Borden murder house is located on 230 Second Street in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. The house number of 92 Second Street was changed to 230 in the year 1896 to discourage curious lookiloos. That didn’t seem to help.
House Crazy Sarah has already profiled Lizzie’s post-acquittal home where she quietly lived the rest of her life.
But this home, in the same town, is where Lizzie was staying when her father and step-mother were viciously axed to death in 1892.
There had been tensions 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 for the crimes. Unable to account consistently for Lizzie’s movements, the judge, district attorney, and police marshal determined that she was “probably guilty” but there was insufficient evidence to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.
The murders were never solved and no one else was ever charged.
Lizzie lived in this house until shortly after the trial concluded.
Have a look at the fascinating crime-scene photos:
Above we can see Lizzie’s father dead on the sofa in the parlor.
Today, the house is used as a bed and breakfast and is set up just as it was in 1892 when the murders occurred. The furnishings are in the exact same place, the décor has been painstakingly duplicated, and the original hardware and doors are still intact.
Artifacts from the murder case are displayed while memorabilia from the era line shelves and mantel tops. Visitors are literally transported back in time to that fateful summer morning.
Below is the crime scene photo of Lizzie’s step-mother’s body on the floor of the upstairs bedroom:
And here is that actual spot today:
Guests are morbidly encouraged to recreate the crime scene for their own souvenir photos.
This bedroom is actually quite lovely, despite what ghosts may linger here.
The crime scene rooms are fascinating but let’s have a look at the rest of the house…
The tidy home was built in 1845 by Charles C. Trafton as a duplex.
Andrew Borden bought the home in 1872 and immediately had it remodeled from a two-tenant dwelling into a place his family could call home. He chose the house due to its pragmatic location—a short walking distance to his businesses on main street, one block over. Andrew was known to be, well, stingy and he could have afforded something much more opulent in a better part of town. But alas, he was a strict pragmatist – much to his daughters’ chagrin.
Andrew’s new wife kept house and took pride in it, while his two daughters Emma and Lizzie perceived the heavily floral-covered walls as a prison. The young maid, Bridget Sullivan, was the only other inhabitant. Interestingly, there were no hallways in the house, with the exception of an upstairs landing. One had to pass through one room to get to another. As a result, locks were found on almost every door in the home.
Despite his great wealth, Andrew Borden did not believe in indulging in household comforts. 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.
It does now, of course, being a bed & breakfast.
The home is so perfectly decorated in period detail, it’s hard to believe it was used as a private residence and changed many hands over the decades.
The recreation-restoration was only done when the current history-loving owners bought the home in the 2000’s.
Let’s have a look in basement – where the murder weapon was found!
House Crazy Sarah loves old spooky basements!
Below is the original basement wash bin:
When looking at the wall above the wash bin, some say they can see a female face. Can you see it?
Let’s have a look at some of the other bedrooms.
Every detail in this home harkens back to the Lizzie Borden era.
Thanks to the current owners, you can spend the night at the Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast “Where everyone is treated like family.”
That is in fact their slogan – no joke.
If you want to immerse yourself in Lizzie Borden mania, however, be sure to book a room early – Lizzie’s house is reserved at least a year in advance!