"A VISIT TO THE LIZZIE BORDEN HOUSE" AXE NOT INCLUDED
The house located at 92 Second Street has no hallways. It is 20 feet wide, has a basement and attic. The bathrooms were added later on. The kitchen is not in original condition in order to conform to the present day town building codes necessary to run a Bed & Breakfast. The doors and it's hardware are original as well as two pieces of furniture to include Lizzie's sewing machine. Whether she owned it after or before the murders is unknown but you are permitted to touch this object once used by Lizzie herself.
A case study of the facts revealed that since the death of the first wife(Lizzie & sister Emma's biological mother) life had grown unpleasant in the household. The father had remarried. The upstairs floor of the house was subdivided. The front became the territory of Lizzie and her sister while the rear was of Mr. & Mrs. Borden. Meals had not been taken together for some time and the conflict escalated between the two daughters after the father's decision to divide up the property among relatives prior to his death. The house had been turned over to relatives of the stepmother. An uncle, John V.Morse(brother of first wife) had come to visit that same week to facilitate a transfer of farm property which included the summer house of the Borden sisters.
Emma and Lizzie left the house on extended vacations prior to the murders after a heated argument occurred however Lizzie decided to cut her trip short and at one point attempted to purchase cyanide.
Shortly before the murders the entire household became extremely ill including Lizzie herself. Mrs. Borden believed they were being poisoned by the family doctor who happened to live across the street.
Mr. Borden was not a popular man. He was disliked by the community. He kept his family in the dark to conserve on fuel. He even refused to convert to gas as the family continued to use wood and coal for cooking except for the maid, Bridget Sullivan whom he kept a lantern lid at night prior to her return from visiting friends. She was even paid at the time the decent salary of $4 per week and had sundays off as well as a half day on wednesdays. She lived in the 3rd floor attic.
On the day of the murders the only people present at the residence were Lizzie and the maid. The uncle, John V. Morse, was away from the house during the time of the murders as was Lizzie's older sister Emma. Mr. Borden had gone to town. When he returned at about 10:45 am, a half-hour later, Lizzie found his body. According to the maid's testimony, she had been napping on the 2nd floor of the house shortly after 11:00 am when Lizzie called up the stairs to say someone had killed her father. His body was found slumped on a couch in the downstairs sitting room.
Shortly afterwards while Lizzie was being attended to by neighbors and the family doctor, Bridget had discovered the body of Mrs. Borden upstairs(2nd Floor) in the guest bedroom. Mr. & Mrs. Borden had both been killed by blows from a hatchet. Regardless of the jump rope rhyme of "40 whacks" & "41 whacks" Mr. Borden had a total of 11 blows and Mrs. Borden either 18 or 19. Another allure made up by a writer to sell newspapers. It is to be noted by this writer that the house has a 2nd staircase leading from Mr. Borden's bedroom to the side of the house and uncle, John Morse was a butcher by profession who had spent the night before at the Borden's residence next to the maid's room on the 3rd floor.
Lizzie was the prime and only suspect. The heads of the victims were taken without permission and boiled to remove the skin and organs to be shown as evidence during the trail. The jury took less than an hour to find her innocent. They even sent her a group picture of themselves as a token of appreciation. Lizzie and her sister moved out of the house immediately after the trail and brought a mansion at nearby then-fashionable French Street. This house had a gas stove. Lizzie changed her name to Liz Beth and attended plays in Boston and NYC. The house today displays an original dress wore by Lizzie and another on loan from Paramount Films worn by actress Elizabeth Montgomery who played Lizzie in the film "The Legend Of Lizzie Borden" 1975 who happens to be a real life distant relative of the Bordens. There is only one known photo of Lizzie were she actually stares directly into the camera lens. I neglected to photograph that particular print.
The Lizzie Border story to me symbolizes early methods of commercial forensic photography. The maid was the last to die from natural causes in 1948 and whatever she knew of the truth she took to the grave.
It was "DEATH" That Has Kept This House Alive to this very day. Lizzie Borden is buried alongside her family at Oak Grove Cemetery.