Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Fall River Thoughts

Criminal Thoughts

When it was decided to build Fall River's new courthouse on South Main Street there was a lot of outcry by seniors who lived nearby complaining about having to contend with a criminal element in their backyard. Now we find out that this new courthouse will handle all the criminal cases currently handled in New Bedford. The reason given is that the 19th century courthouse in New Bedford doesn't have adequate security measures and the new courthouse will have state of the art stuff.

I somehow doubt that this was a recent decision. Maybe this was the plan right from the get go and was kept quite to prevent further neighborhood opposition? To all the people who live in that area and who were concerned about their safety, this is an injustice.

House 1418, What changed?

Bill #2383 has passed both the House and the Senate and now goes to Governor Patrick's desk for his signature. The bill is designed to provide buffer zones between LNG facilities in heavily populated areas. The bill requires 5,000 ft between and LNG facility and a residential home, hospital, school, or other such structure. LNG tankers would need to have 1,500 ft clearance to the same structures. Representative David Sullivan has worked for over 3 years to get this legislation passed. Sullivan has said that 2383 is really the same bill as 1418, yet 1418 was never able to get passed the house. What's changed? What opposition stood in Sullivan's way the last time that isn't there now? Hmmm.

Want to learn about Lizzie Borden? Go to Salem!

There are plans afoot to open a 'Lizzie Borden Museum' in Salem. What does Lizzie Borden have to do with Salem? Absolutely nothing. Do the letters W, T, F, mean anything? If we were talking about a crime museum that would feature a Borden exhibit, I'd say great. If we were talking about a museum of famous women of Massachusetts, I'd say Okay. It's not that Lizzie Borden belongs to Fall River, but that the history of Lizzie Borden belongs to Fall River and much of it still exists to this day. A Lizzie Borden museum in Salem makes no sense at all. Why not have a museum about the Salem witch trials right here in the Spindle City! Heck, we've been wanting to increase tourism, let's open up one for the battle of Bunker Hill, Paul Revere, JFK, and why confine ourselves to just Massachusetts!

Mr. Pickel's Lizzie Borden Museum strikes me as circus attraction intended not to celebrate history but rather to cash in financially on the mystique of a century old mystery.


FRC said...

1) I don't think the original plans for the downtown courthouse included transferring New Bedford's criminal cases to Fall River, but I think the idea was certainly in place by the time of the groundbreaking.

I hate when things like this happen because it should have been predictable given the difference in facilities between the old court in NB and the new court in FR. Let's face it, the lack of secured facilities in NB was a contributing factor in the escape of Frye in NB several months ago.

2) There's been so many LNG bills that I can't even distinguish between them anymore .. 1418, 5090, 2383. Well, I know DiMasi had a problem with the bill because if it was going to protect FR, then he wanted to protect his district from the dangers of LNG too. Let's just say DiMasi is a bit more distracted now as he struggles to hold on to power. Also, you ask what is not in the State House now... well, Bob Correia is not at the State House!

3) If Mr. Pickel can cash in financially by opening a Lizzie museum in Salem then good for him. The tale of Lizzie Borden is a good tie-in to those who go to Salem for all the witch stuff too. If Mr. Pickel opened the exact same museum in FR, it would not generate as much revenue so good for him. I mean, do we have anything in Fall River that is a mock trial of Lizzie Borden? Also, if we did have a mock trial in FR, would NB get upset because the trial actually took place in NB and now we were stealing some of their history?

It is not so much an issue of what are Lizzie's connections to Salem, but it is rather a marketing tactic to attract an interested audience. In Salem, Mr. Pickel can feed off of the tourist attract of the witch trials and attract more visitors to his museum.

Faye Musselman said...

I was excited when I heard about the “Lizzie Borden Museum” in Salem, and contacted Leonard Pickel on June 24 to offer assistance and perhaps loan some rare items from my collection for his 3,500 sq. ft. facility (3,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space). However, after two weeks of email exchange, learning of current litigation, and doing a little due diligence, I was less encouraged about the prospects of a first class operation. Learning this owner of Haunted Attractions magazine had planning and design exhibit experience solely on “home haunts” and the ghostly/paranormal genre, my enthusiasm waned considerably. When I asked what he had so far, Mr. Pickel informed me he “only 50 hatchets” of varying size and description and that he was looking for good resolution images of the crime scene to make copies. Three weeks before his initial proposed opening (he wanted to open on her birthday, July 19th) he was still busy with contractors remodeling the venue and still looking for items to exhibit. Mr. Pickel had been asked by the FRHS (of which he is a dues paying member) to do a synopsis of his exhibit for submission to the Board for permission to access and obtain items from their collection. Clearly, the FRHS had the same reservations.

Mr. Pickel claims to have been planning this for years, yet his knowledge of the case is weak. One would think he would have been collecting source materials and reading everything possible to ensure accuracy of exhibits and the proposed CSI-type “journey” into the “true story of Lizzie Borden.” His website, ttp:// as of this late date, still lacks a “Schedule” of operating hours, a “History”, or “Gift Shop” info. The website is in an ufinished state. Much as, I suspect, the exhibit/facility itself.

Fall River is home to Lizzie Borden. She remained in Fall River all her life. If she had moved to Boston and lived her remaining post-Trial years there, it would seem very appropriate for some type of Lizzie attraction. But in Salem, not so much. On the other hand, whether Mr. Pickel’s enterprise turns out to be a roaring success or a schlocky endeavor, people that visit it and are heading south, will most likely tour the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast (Mecca), visit the Fall River Historical Society, see the family graves at Oak Grove Cemetery and drive by Robert Dube’s “Maplecroft”. Lizzie brings in tourists. The vast majority of visitors to the FRHS come specifically to view their exhibit regarding the Borden case. And those that stay overnight at 92 Second Street get the best bang for the buck of any B&B in the country. PLUS, there are many Lizzie and case related artifacts on display and available for scrutiny at the B&B, including the most complete and comprehensive library of books, pamphlets, letters and journals easily available for review and research. The B&B is truly, the closest thing to a Museum that Fall River’s got – and almost a “living” museum, IMHO.

Yes, Fall River has repeatedly missed golden opportunities for obvious and new ways to capitalize on its most famous citizen. As descendents of the “founding families” literally die out, the resistance to that capitalizing seems to diminish. And that’s a good thing.

As to the new courthouse across the street, there will be far more security in and around that building because of the nature of its operations than ever existed before in that space. And let us not forget that the Borden case Coroner’s Inquest and Preliminary Hearing were held in Fall River. Who knows, maybe arrangements will be made between the B&B owners and the court to have re-enactments in the future. I’d certainly pay to see it. :)

Faye Musselman

New England Bites said...
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Faye Musselman said...

Oh, contrair, Laura, dahlink. ;)

You'd be surprised at the number of locals that tour the B&B repeatedly and spend the night. And frankly, I don't think the Lizzie story, i.e., the murder case against the backdrop of Fall River's history and it's founding Bordens, Durfees and Braytons is an appropriate fit at all with the witchy exhibits Salem has.

However, the house at 92 Second Street is believed "haunted" by some paranormals, or at least "active" by those that have had experiences, me included. And although the B&B gets an extraordinary number of bookings by people seeking such experiences, they also attract historians, people who just like to stay at B&B's, and all sorts of other people not interested in the paranormal, occult, or witchy things.

IF, Fall River had capitalized on Lizzie the way Salem has capitalized on the Witches, its economic development would have taken a more upwards path than it has.

I'm just sayin'. ;)

Faye Musselman

New England Bites said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
General said...


MMM?? was it just DiMasi being distracted???

Once upon a time there was another Representative from Fall River that was at the state house. He left because he was elected King of F.R.

Let us look at his TRUE record when it came to LNG:

1. He has been receiving donations from Cashman for a long time.

2. He pushed aside Rep Sullivan and made sure he was placed on the LNG Commission. Between the 2, who should have served on the Commission?

3. While on the LNG Commission he did nothing. The final LNG Commission report did not mention Fall River! (as a matter of fact there was a dissenting report and this report states that Fall River is not mentioned. Bob is not one of the co-signers!)

4. Bob gets his bill to the Gov's desk and then claims that Gov Romney vetoed the bill. NOT TRUE! Gov Romnet sent Bob's portion back to the House and even Sen Menard said we can move this through. Bob is not quoted about his own bill and does nothing!!

GEEE. Now do we know why Sullivan's bill passed???

Plus, I have noticed that Sullivan was able to get a lot of earmarks through this seesion. MMM???

It Said said...

General's comments are a nice summation of the facts surrounding Bobby's contributions to the LNG saga..

Since its pretty much a given that Bob will face, at best, token opposition in 2009 for re election, how much sick leave will have have accumulated by 2011 so he can do what the former fire chief did this Spring--take six weeks off and call it quits?

Going to be really interesting to see who is elected Council President in 2011--because he or she will be an Acting Mayor at some point..

I know this is taking things a bit off topic, but its just the mood I'm in this morning..