Fall River, Massachusetts
Built in 1881
In the middle of the mouth of the Taunton River in the city of Fall River, just south of I-195's Braga Bridge.
|Latitude: 41° 42' 16" N
||Longitude: 71° 10' 28" W|
The lighthouse was built to guide whaling and shipping traffic into the Taunton River. It was used in warning of the shallow waters surrounding its location.
Borden Flats Lighthouse was named after the Borden family, who were prominent residents of Fall River over generations. The most infamous member was Lizzie Borden, who was charged and acquitted of axing her parents to death in 1893.
With it’s somewhat remote location, mariners would wave and sound the fog bell as they passed by the light as a gesture of saying hello, and the keeper would reply with the same. On September, in 1897, Keeper Herman Georgie was struck by an acute case of appendicitis. His wife rang the fog bell and waved her arms to flag down passing boats for nearly two days while the keeper laid in agony before mariners realized that she was not waving in friendship, but trying to get help.
|During the hurricane of 1938, which hit the New England coastline with a historical ferocity, Keeper Joseph Covo was one of the lucky ones who survived the experience in the tower. The high winds from the storm left the lighthouse intact, but with a distinctive tilt. The government built a wider base around the lighthouse to protect it from future storms.||
Image of Borden Flats light before restoration with red stripe.
Borden Flats lighthouse has been investigated and is considered haunted by Captain John Paul, as visitors and personnel have heard someone whistling, and sounds of classical music have been coming from the lantern room. There have also been documented investigations where a young boy and girl, probably siblings, have been heard giggling, there have been thumping sounds in the upper floor, and the sounds of people coming into the lighthouse have been heard by workers at the light over the years, only to find no one was there.
Places to Visit Nearby:
|Along with plenty of shopping outlet malls and stores, Fall River contains an interesting array of museums to visit, including Battleship Cove, the world’s largest naval ship exhibit with at least five ships visitors can tour aboard. These vessels include the mighty battleship USS Massachusetts, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and PT boats used in the South Pacific during World War II.|
The Marine Museum at Fall River, part of Batlleship Cove is also nearby to Borden Flats Lighthouse and features an exhibit honoring the Titanic. Nearly across the street, visitors will find the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Museum. Visitors can also get a distant view of Borden Flats Lighthouse from the area. To enjoy walking along the shores of the Taunton River, the Fall River Heritage State Park is a history-oriented, public recreation area that covers 14 acres along the river.
Visitors can explore the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast/ Museum to grab a glimpse of one of the most controversial events of the day, or learn more including Fall River’s rich heritage from the Fall River Historical Society.
Although the beacon is considered to be haunted, visitors can stay overnight in this "sparkplug" style offshore lighthouse from April to October. Transportation to and from the light station is provided. It has been reconstructed with most amenities, has indoor propane heat and flat-screen TV, and linens are provided. Two guests allowed per night. Check out the website at bordenflats.com. Tours of the lighthouse tower are also provided from May into October.
- South on US Route I-95 take exit 5 (Taunton - North Tiverton) to Fall River onto Route 138 (Broadway)
- Turn onto Bradford Ave then right at Almond Street.
- At the Bradford Ave dead end on Park Street turn left onto Borden Light Marina.
- From US Route I-195 on the eastern side of the Taunton River, go south on Route 138 to William Street.
- Turn right onto William Street, and then right onto Almond Street after three blocks.
- Follow Almond Street until it ends and turn left into Borden Light Marina to view the lighthouse.
Fall River Historical Society
451 Rock Street
Fall River, MA 02720
Phone: (508) 679-1071
My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours you can explore. You'll find information for lighthouses you can stay overnight, and there are also stories of haunted lighthouses in lower New England as well.