FALL RIVER — “Wow, look at that beautiful old bureau,” a woman said as she passed the 19th century piece of solid wood on the lawn of the Adams House, now closed after 127 years.
A tent had been erected for an auction where furniture, paintings, lamps, desks and other vintage embellishments from the Adams house were sold to the highest bidder.
Two grandfather clocks stood side by side. Some cardboard boxes held china tea cups. Paintings depicting landscapes, portraits and still life stood against furniture and bushes.
“It’s a shame this building is gone,” said James Kay, chairman of the Adams House Board of Directors. “It’s a one-of-a-kind.”
Opened since 1891, the last of the residents left the nursing home — more like a quaint Victorian rest home — on July 18. “It’s all for sale.”
Owned by the Home for Aged People, the organization also ran Bayview Apartments, which was sold last year. The fate of the historic Adams House building, 1168 Highland Ave., is not yet known.
Kay said it was the organization’s last property. He said the Adams House closed because of current and very stringent regulations that make it “hard to operate a 52-bed” home. “Hopefully, we’ll raise some money and pay off some bills.”
People milled around looking at the many historic pieces for sale. Most of the items had been brought from people’s homes when they entered care at the Adams House, giving it a very home-like environment.
“That desk is from 1860,” said Bob Sowersby of Sowersby Auction, as he waited for people to get seated for the 4 p.m. auction.
Bob and Fran DiCorpo took a look around for “nothing in particular. There are a few pieces that look interesting,” he said.
Zelma Braga had also come out to see the auction. She said she was saddened by the Adams House’s closure.
“It’s part of Fall River history. It’s a sad day, really,” Braga said. “There’s so much history. All these items have a story to tell.”
Eileen Entwistle said she attended out of “curiosity. I’d be interested to see who bids on what.”
Deb Trinidad was hoping to get inside and take some photos for her mom, who retired in 2017 after 47 years as a certified nursing assistant at the Adams House. Trinidad remembers visiting her mother at work over the years.
“This is very sad,” Trinidad said. “I kind of feel like I grew up here.”
Michael Martins, curator of the Fall River Historical Society, had his eye on a grandfather clock that dated back to the 1890s. “There are some beautiful things here,” he said.