Lizzie Borden House: Come for the Ax Murders, Stay for the Cookies
Touring the house where Lizzie Borden is rumored to have murdered her parents, you get a front row seat for the crime but also an intimate look at 19th-century American life.
Visiting the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts, I had only a vague idea of what I was in for. I knew it was the scene of one of the grizzliest double homicides in American history: a man and wife bludgeoned to death, most likely by their own daughter. I knew that the 1892 murders and subsequent trial had spellbound the whole country and gone on to became one of the goriest staples of American folklore. And I knew the famous rhyme: Lizzie Borden took an axe / And gave her mother forty whacks. / When she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one.
I called at noon to make reservations for the last tour of the day.
“No need, honey, just come to the barn behind the house and get a ticket at 3.” The audible boredom in the smoker’s rasp on the other end of the line made me wonder if the house’s heyday might have passed, that Lizzie Borden was no longer much of a draw in the age of O.J. and the Menendez brothers.