PS: N. Borden School demolition plans

Nathaniel B. Borden School

The Preservation Society of Fall River objects to the planned demolition of the Second Empire-style Nathaniel B. Borden School, c. 1867, at 45 Morgan Street by its current owner.

Although we understand that there’s no method to stop the demolition besides the city’s six-month demolition delay ordinance, we believe it’s important that city officials, the general public, and the property owner be aware of our stance and why.

The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and meets various criteria for preservation, including its architectural style and importance to the community, having served as Lizzie Borden’s elementary school.

The city sold the historic school for only $5,000 in 2012 and, although it did not carry a preservation restriction on its deed, the initial proposal was for reusing the building. However, decay and the warehousing of trash as seen through its windows suggests that the owner never intended anything other than demolition and an inflated mortgage reveals that the equity in the building was wasted on something other than the property itself.

Nevertheless, the decision to demolish is up to the owner, but we hope that a lesson learned going forward is that the city not engage in sales of historic properties without expecting a preservation restriction and/or reverter clause on the deed.

Jim Soule
The Preservation Society of Fall River, President

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