The Second Street Irregulars began in 1993, one year after the 100th anniversary conference at Bristol Community Conference marking the centennial of the Borden murders. The house on Second Street was not at this time open to the public, but happily Lizzie Borden’s home on the Hill, Maplecroft did open up for the occasion. The conference was brilliant, and many of us who met there hated to have to wait another 100 years to get together again. Ed Thibault (“Mr. Lizzie”), who had spend decades studying the case, offered his home and “Lizzie Room” for our meetings, and thus with Barbara MacDonald (New Bedford), Len Rebello (who would go on to write the Lizzie Bible, Lizzie Borden: Past and Present), Ken Souza (BCC staff and local news paper writer), Debbie Shannon Valentine, and Shelley Dziedzic (Connecticut teacher) were the original core of the Second Street Irregulars.
Outings included trips to Lizzie-related venues around Fall River and Swansea, re-enactments and experiments and even a short film directed by Ken. Friends and family were enlisted for the film and the Pear Essentials Players were born, using Lizzie’s pear-eating alibi in the hayloft as inspiration for the name of the troupe.
The group assisted with all of the Lizzie Expos in Fall River, carriage rides, history tours of Oak Grove, Fall River Celebrates America, and role –playing for the house on Second Street when it opened in 1996. Schools in the area and also in CT enjoyed “Lizzie Borden Day” and field trips to Fall River where students studied the trial and came to the city to view the scene of the crime.
By 2000 the original group had several members working at the house on Second Street, some writing articles and books, and some went off to pursue other pressing obligations. In 2007 the group was revived and the structure for chapters of the Second Street Irregulars was put in place. The Fall River scion group was to be called The Noble Order of Mutton Eaters in homage to the breakfast eaten by the Bordens on the morning of the murder. Loosely based on the Baker Street Irregulars, and with a Sherlockian twist, the new group, which included some of the originals, enjoy a yearly get- together for a weekend of fun and mystery at the Borden House with an annual banquet, awards, presentations and excursions to Borden-related and Victorian sites of interest. The group shows no sign of slowing down in the near future, and plans are underway for 2013 when once again- the game is afoot!