The last thing we did while we were in Philadelphia was visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. Although Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston and raised in Virginia, he lived in six different houses in Philadelphia over various times. The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is housed in the only house in Philadelphia that is still standing.
Tom and I had to walk about a mile north of the Independence National Historical Park to reach Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. We walked through Franklin Park and enjoyed seeing the families and children out on a beautiful fall day. Then we had to walk through a very run-down, industrialized part of Philadelphia. The Edgar Allan Poe house sits in a mixed use neighborhood with some old houses, some factories, and some warehouses. Not the best part of town.
We checked out the tiny bookstore and museum and watched the movie. Then we went into the house where Edgar Allan Poe lived. The house is devoid of furniture and in tattered condition. When we asked about it, the ranger said they were never able to raise the funds to restore the house. And, after a while, everyone decided it was more effective to use your imagination than it was to fill the house with antiques unrelated to Poe. So each room has one artistic drawing of something from Poe’s stories.
Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1809 through 1849. He was orphaned at a young age and raised by some family friends. Although best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe really wanted to be a serious literary editor. He went bankrupt several times trying and failing to start literary magazines or journals.
Poe’s personal life was full of tragedy. He married his 13 year old cousin in 1836 and she died of tuberculosis in 1847. The couple did not have any children, but his mother-in-law remained with him for the rest of his life. After finally securing funding for another try at a literary magazine, Poe vanished mysteriously as he traveled from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. He was found in Baltimore, delirious and incoherent, and taken to a hospital where he died in 1849.
Visiting the house was interesting but it didn’t take us long to see it. I was surprised by how young he died. Although Edgar Allan Poe died young, his stories have scared generations.