If you aren't buried under a ridiculous, attention-getting headstone, did you even live?

F.H. Stafford understood the assignment of life so well that 132 years after his death, his final resting place still stands out. A humble marker simply wouldn't do for the Fall River mill owner who died in 1891. Instead, he took the mill with him.

On a hill overlooking the city where cotton mills were plentiful in Stafford's day, you'll find a miniature replica of one such mill. It's among the most interesting sights in sprawling Oak Grove Cemetery, right up there with Lizzie Borden's grave.

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It's proof, as the Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery note, that sometimes you can take it with you.

Phil Devitt/Townsquare Media
Phil Devitt/Townsquare Media

Foster H. Stafford was the first president of the Stafford Mills complex starting in the 1870s when Fall River was a textile powerhouse. While many of the city's former mills are long gone, Stafford's buildings remain prominent fixtures at the intersection of Pleasant, County and Quarry streets, across from Flint Village Plaza.

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Stafford's monument bears a striking resemblance to the repurposed buildings thousands drive by daily, down to the windows, doorways and roof. It's a remarkable statement about a city leader beyond his name, and birth and death dates.

Stafford must have been proud of his prominent role in the city. "It was the wish of Mr. Stafford to erect this lasting tribute to his life’s work," the Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery said.

Phil Devitt/Townsquare Media
Phil Devitt/Townsquare Media

The monument was so unusual that it attracted the attention of the New York Times. In 1897, the paper shared this headline:


A Miniature Mill Over the Grave of F.H. Stafford, Who Was a Mill Owner

Established in 1855, Oak Grove is where some of the most noteworthy people in Fall River history are buried. Many visit to see Lizzie Borden's grave and those of the two people she was accused of killing with a hatchet, her father and stepmother. That family plot is so popular that the cemetery offers directions to it via white arrows on the ground.

The cemetery, with entrances off of Prospect Street and Oak Grove Avenue, is still active with new burials.

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UPDATE: Maplecroft's new owners moved in on July 19, 2022 – Lizzie Borden's 162nd birthday. This is now a private residence, please do not trespass on their property.

While the house where Lizzie Borden's father and stepmother were brutally murdered on August 4, 1892 may have recently been purchased, the home where she moved after being acquitted for those same murders is on the market for anyone looking to own a piece of Fall River history.

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