The most comprehensive assemblage of views of Fall River and its people, our photograph collection documents the changing landscape of the city’s public and private spaces, its cultural development, and the faces of its inhabitants.
Included are thousands of images in various formats dating from the dawn of photography to the late-20th century.
Mrs. Eber Wilbur
Mrs. Eber Caswell Wilbur (Betsy Bradford Staples 1821-1867) with her daughter, Abbie Topham Wilbur (1843-1895), c.1849. Sixth plate Daguerreotype, cased; unidentified photographer.
The brooch Mrs. Wilbur is wearing in the photograph, which contains a portrait miniature of her son George Wilbur (1844-1848), is preserved in the Costumes and Accessories Collection of the FRHS.
“Barnard’s Folly,” the residence of Louis Laurent Barnard, 139 North Main Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, c. 1870. Albumen print, unidentified photographer.
Deemed “an eccentric outburst of extravagance,” this double mansion had twenty-two rooms on its first and second floors; its elaborate furnishings included a pipe organ. The building was divided in two in 1906 and renovated as multi-family units. It still stands at 547-549 and 551-555 North Main Street, sans the grandeur of another age.
Elm Street, 1896
Elm Street, west of North Main Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, looking North, April 9, 1896. Cyanotype; George Pitman Brown, Fall River, Massachusetts.
The ruins depicted in the front of this image evidence the structures razed for the construction of the Bank Street Armory and the Fall River Public Library. The large domed roof visible in the background is that of The Casino, 162 North Main Street, “between Elm and Pine.” The popular “first class” entertainment venue was billed as “The Largest Place of the Kind in New England.” None of the buildings depicted in this image survive today.
Pharmacia Portugueza, Braz Cetano Francisco de Souza (1872-1916), proprietor, Columbia Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, 1910. Mr. de Souza can be seen behind the counter, wearing a cap. Albumen print, Eagle Photo Company, Fall River, Massachusetts.
Criminal Card, Fall River Police Department, Fall River, Massachusetts, 1923, depicting Mary McCue. Gelatin silver print, unidentified photographer; mount published by Yawman & Erbe Manufacturing Company, Rochester, New York.
McCue was arrested on October 27, 1923, and charged with “Larceny 2 counts.” A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the forty-year-old prisoner carried 220 pounds on her “5′-7 ¼” frame; she was employed as a “Sales Lady” and a “Demonstrator for Ponds Digestans,” a then-popular remedy for indigestion.
South Main Street, 1961
South Main Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, looking North, November 1961. Kodachrome Slide, Eastman Kodak Company; unidentified photographer.