2010 Christmas House Tour


Preservation Society releases video

The Preservation Society of Fall River has just released a wonderful seven-minute society mission and projects film to youtube.

Christmas House Tour 2009

The weather cooperated this year, with clear blue skies, lots of sun and just a chill in the air to remind us Christmas is two weeks away.  This year decorated trolleys made the round of houses, which helped speed things along and spare weary feet as they climbed the hills of The Hill section of the city.

Homes on Belmont, Lincoln Ave, Cherry St. and Rock St. threw wide their doors to an appreciative throng of visitors.  Fires crackled merrily, the fragrance of cloves and cinnamon, hot mulled cider and balsam flooded the air as decorations were admired.  Period furnishings, historic photos and mementoes, and homey touches were appreciated by all who were lucky today to enjoy the insides of magnificent homes usually only glimpsed from the street.

18th century tea service and reproduction epergne

The Fall River Historical Society outdid itself this year as well, and all agreed that this was the best year ever for the popular house tour.  At 4:30 footsore house tour guests were treated to a concert of holiday music by the Durfee High School String orchestra.  All in all- a perfect day.  Thanks to families participating this year. It was grand!

Slide Album: House Tour 2009

Signs of Spring

The beautiful Dana Brayton house porch is getting a nip-tuck this week as the Rock Street side porch has supporting pillars replaced.


danabrayton2A little further south on Rock, one of the two “Twin Sisters” on the east side of the street recently received a little paint and powder which she sorely needed. The dove grey clapboard color and the chalky grey-lilac trim are worthy of any Painted Lady.

rock st

Her twin sister next door-


Underwood Street

Although Mapquest does not even show Underwood Street on its map of Fall River- it does exist and is a charming street which begins at the corner of French with the Hooper House, crosses Lincoln and Pearce streets and terminates at the intersection of President’s Avenue.  There are a good many styles of houses, but the gambrel roof or Cape Anne seems to be very popular.  The Hooper House, only a few doors down from Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft begins Underwood in the shadows of the looming Charlton Hospital- and has always been a landmark structure.  Today it is a multi-family home which some have compared to the popular Addams Family home from the old television program. Underwood is tucked away neatly, but for avid admirers of Painted Ladies, it is well worth the effort.  Underwood also offers some fine views of the Simeon Borden/ Sarah Brayton House.


Slide Album: Underwood

Charm on High Street

Tucked away on the east side of High Street are these two delightful capes which face each other like two old friends. Unlike any other architecture to be seen on the street, these two charmers are showing their west side elevations to the street and are easy to miss when driving by.

The unexpected color combinations of sage with violet shutters, surrounded by the white picket fence and exuberant plantings of hot pink cosmos make this gambrel-roofed “Cape Anne”  a Painted Lady of sorts.

The facing sister cape in buttercream paint with chocolate door and shutters boasts a venerable brick chimney and picture book welcome home warmth.

Spring, Third & Fourth Streets

Students of the famous Borden case have studied the properties on Third and Fourth Streets with some interest.  Third Street, directly behind the Borden House once was the address for Crowe’s barn, an orchard and Dr. Chagnon’s house and offices. Men in Crowe’s yard, as well as a young girl named Lucy Collette, watching out for patients on the day of the murder on the porch of Dr. Chagnon, had to give statements to the police.  Today the area is very much changed and Third Street has been cut off to an abrupt end by the large brick Borden Place East building.

There is a particularly fine early example of a Cape style dwelling at the corner of Spring and Third.  In 1892, during the Borden investigations, Spring Street stopped at Second Street.   Another notable Spring Street dwelling, which according to Rebello’s Lizzie Borden : Past and Present, was moved back one lot from Fourth Street, is the Oliver Gray house.  Oliver Gray was the father of Abby Borden, Lizzie’s murdered stepmother.  At the time of the murders, Abby’s half-sister Sarah Whitehead, her family, and her stepmother Jane Gray inhabited the house.  This house is often referred to as the “house which started all the trouble” as Lizzie’s father, Andrew J. Borden purchased and made over the house to his second wife without informing his daughters.  This made for hard feeling in the Borden house, and it is said Lizzie stopped calling her stepmother “Mother” as a result. 

The Cook Borden mansion on Fourth Street also has a Lizzie connection.  Cook Borden was a prosperous lumber yard owner, and a great-uncle to Lizzie.  Today the beautiful mansard-roofed dwelling is a home for single men and contains eight apartments.  The current color scheme of the house is particularly noteworthy, and picks out all of the amazing gingerbread and architectural detailing. It is truly a South End Painted Lady.  The round circle motifs on the porch are especially unique.

.  At the end of Fourth at the north corner of Borden was the one time location of Hiram Harrington’s smithy.  Mr. Harrington was not a champion of Lizzie during her ordeal, and did not speak to her father in his later years. Mr. Harrington was married to Andrew Borden’s sister, Lurana. There’s a lot of history in the two-blocks behind the Borden house, and some wonderful Victorian homes.