PA -- Philadelphia -- Edgar Allan Poe NHS:
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- Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
- POE_031227_07.JPG: I loved this raven and his shadow! It stands outside of the visitor center for the home.
- POE_031227_10.JPG: This gives you an early idea of how they decided to handle the house. They decided to basically strip it and leave it unfinished. The justification for this was they have no idea what the house looked like while Poe lived here so they had nothing to make it look like.
- POE_031227_15.JPG: This is one of the main rooms in the place. Very different!
- POE_031227_23.JPG: The place on the left is the actual house. The place with the raven statue in front of it is the visitor center.
- POE_031227_42.JPG: Edgar Allan Poe mural @ the Poe Historic Site
- POE_031227_45.JPG: The tour guide said admitted this false fireplace was a fairly common thing in architecture at the time but thought it might have helped inspire some of Poe's more macabre stories with dead things hidden it.
- Wikipedia Description: Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a preserved home once rented by American author Edgar Allan Poe, located in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though Poe lived in many houses over several years in Philadelphia (1837 to 1844), it is the only which still survives.
Poe's time in Philadelphia:
Poe lived in several homes in Philadelphia, including homes on Arch Street, on Sixteenth Street near Locust, and on Coates Street near Twenty-Fifth Street. While living in Philadelphia, Poe published some of his most well-known works, including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Gold-Bug". In all, Poe published 31 stories during his time in Philadelphia. His five years in the city have been described as the happiest of his life.
History of the home:
The Historic Site is the only of Poe's Philadelphia homes which still stands and is located in the now defunct Spring Garden district on the northern edge of Philadelphia. Poe rented the house early in 1843 and is believed to have lived there for about a year or less along with his wife Virginia and his aunt/mother-in-law Maria Clemm. It is uncertain when the family moved into the home, which was then at the corner of Seventh Street and Brandywine Alley (no longer extant) though believed to be some time before June. In a letter to James Russell Lowell dated June 20, 1843, Poe invites Lowell to visit him: "My address is 234 North Seventh St., above Spring Garden, West Side."
The neighborhood was then predominantly made up of Quakers. The family's decision to move may have been prompted by Virginia's health. The home was maintained by Maria Clemm. A neighbor later recalled: "Mrs. Clemm was always busy. I have seen her mornings clearing the front yard, washing the windows and the stoop, and even white-washing the palings. You would notice how clean and orderly everything looks." A visitor referred to the home as little more than a lean-to. Poe occasionally had difficulty paying rent, though the landlord, a plumber, was tolerant of this. The family moved out the first week in April 1844 and made their way to New York.
Several families lived in the home after Poe until it was purchased by Richard Gimbel, son of the founder of Gimbels department store, in 1933. An avid fan of Poe, he refurbished the home and opened it as a museum. In his will, he left the property to the city of Philadelphia. The National Park Service began overseeing the property in 1978, reopening the museum in 1980.
The site combines both Poe's former residence and two adjoining houses which were not built until after Poe left Philadelphia. The rooms of the house are left in arrested decay and are not furnished to look like they did during Poe's time. The neighboring residences include a welcome area, gift shop, a film screening room, and some minor exhibits. The site also includes a reading room decorated based on Poe's theories in "The Philosophy of Furniture." This, the only room on the site furnished to look like the 19th century, is not part of Poe's original home and is not meant to suggest Poe had a similarly decorated room. The collection includes a collection of Poe's criticism, "autography" series, and audio interpretations of his work. A statue outside of the home depicts a large raven, representative of one of Poe's most famous poems, "The Raven". The cellar in the house resembles one described in "The Black Cat," also written while Poe lived in Philadelphia.
The site is affiliated with the Independence National Historical Park. The home is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Paid membership in the Friends of Poe society aids in the upkeep of the home.
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