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Monday, August 26, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe's Grave and Other Poe Sites

During recent travels through Maryland and Virginia, we happened upon several sites historically pertinent to the author known as Edgar Allan Poe, including one of his homes, the Poe Museum and BOTH of his graves.  Yep, he has two-- in the same graveyard.    

The 1972 painting above by Bob Harper resides in Richmond, Virginia's Poe Museum and is appropriately titled simply 'Poe.'   I think Harper really captured a dark sadness about Poe, and accurately depicts the man described by Vincent Price as 'profoundly neurotic.' 

Our first run-in with Poe was while touring Ft. Monroe near Norfolk, Virginia.  It seems Poe, using a different name and in the Army, was posted there in the late 1820's.  Known for his short stories (much to his chagrin as he considered himself more a poet and less an author),  it seems he also attained the rank of Sergeant Major of the First Artillery shortly before being discharged in March of 1829.  He would later be kicked out of the US Military Academy.

After visiting Ft. Monroe, we made our way to Baltimore where we checked out Poe's grave.  I found it to be a very fitting final resting place for someone so adept at describing, in great detail, the macabre, eerie and spooky. 

Poe's grave is in the burial grounds of the Westminister Hall (formerly a church) and can be seen at the bottom right of the photo above. The original church was completed in 1852, which was more than 60 years after the burial grounds were established. To avoid disturbing the existing graves, the original church building was constructed on brick piers above some of the tombs, creating catacombs, which can still be toured.

Poe's current resting place is in the southeast corner of the graveyard at Fayette and Greene Streets in West Baltimore. Joining him in burial are his wife/cousin and mother in law/aunt. I've nothing else to say on that subject!

Inscription on the back of Poe's grave marker.

The plaque behind the marker mentions Poe's Baltimore house which is still standing.  That ended up being our next stop. 

In 1875, Poe's remains were moved from this spot to their current location.

For more information on Poe and his grave(s), I found this site to be useful: 

203 Amity St., where the Poe family resided in the mid 1930's.  The house still looks to be in great shape, although it now stands in a declining neighborhood. 

Two days after leaving Baltimore, while in Richmond, Virginia,  Poe found us again.  This time in the form of a monument on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol.  It seems both Virginia and Maryland claim Poe as a favorite son (although he was reportedly born in Boston.) 


Our last encounter with Edgar Allan Poe was at the Poe Museum in Richmond. 

The Poe museum resides in the oldest standing house in Richmond, known as 'The Stone House'  which was built around 1737.  Think about that for a second.  This house is almost 300 years old!  It was given to the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine in 1924. 

Stairs and furniture from one of Poe's homes and a few pieces of his clothing. 

I found it pretty fascinating the way the museum related specific items to certain stories.

Bust of Poe in the garden behind the house.

Here's a link to the museum's website.  I recommend it to any student/fan of Poe and his works:

 'Edgar Allan Poe' by Ferdinand Horvath, 1930.  Interestingly, Horvath was a Disney artist! 

Just imagine the writings which took place at this desk. 

“Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.” 
― Edgar Allan PoeThe Raven