The Fall of the House of Poe

The turn of phrase of this post’s title has been used elsewhere, but it is more than a play on words. It could very well become true.

Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, located at 203 Amity Street, might be forced to close. City officials have ordered the Committee for Historic and Architectural Preservation to come up with a plan to operate the facility without public funds by July 2012. Funding was already cut last summer.

Although Poe was born in Boston while his parents were traveling there, his roots were set in Baltimore when his great-grandfather established the Poe family in that city in 1755. Poe lived at the house on Amity Street from 1832 or 1833 until 1835, moving there at the age of 23. It was most likely in Baltimore that Poe began to move from poetry to short stories.

He died in Baltimore in 1849. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the family lot at Westminster Burying Ground at Fayette and Greene streets. A movement began in 1865 to provide for a monument to Poe at the grounds. In 1875, Poe’s remains were moved to the location of the monument, which was dedicated on Nov. 17 of that year in a ceremony attended by Walt Whitman and several others.

Read the Baltimore Sun article here. Read the Edgar Allan Poe Society’s statement of the case here.

These things usually work out … with a little hope. Patrons come forth. Minds are changed. Senses are come to. There is a petition. The monument was partially paid for with pennies collected by students, after all. We can hope.

It’s just sad. And very Baltimorean. How we love our “almosts.”

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