By Gina Gallucci-White
Several cities like to lay claim to Edgar Allan Poe, one of the country’s most famous multi-genre writers. This tug of war can actually make for quite a fun road trip.
Though he was born in Boston, Mass., to traveling actors, Poe often told people he was a Virginian. After his father left the family and mother died a year later, Poe was adopted by the Allan family who lived in Richmond. Folks can make their way to The Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., which houses the largest collection of the macabre writer’s possessions and artifacts, including his childhood bed, an engraved walking stick, trunk, a lock of his hair and writings.
Poe was a cat lover and apparently even had one, Catterina, that sat on his shoulder as he wrote. To honor this passion, the museum has two black cats that live onsite that visitors may interact with and pet.
For six years, the poet lived in Philadelphia, Pa., and these were some of his most productive years, yet still were filled with personal struggles. Visitors can see where Poe called home in the City of Brotherly Love at The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site — a National Park Service destination about a mile from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. As of mid-July 2021, access to the interior of the site was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but folks can still see the home’s exterior.
Baltimore, Md., served as bookends for Poe’s life and the city loves the writer so much it named the city’s National Football League team’s mascot after his poem, “The Raven.” Poe’s grandfather first brought his family to the Baltimore area in 1755. Folks can visit The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a small Baltimore row house where the writer lived with an aunt from around 1832 to 1835 on the top floor. Charm City is credited as being the place where Poe’s literary career took off.
Poe died at the age of 40 due to reasons that remain unknown. A charming dive bar in nearby Fells Point that remains open today, The Horse You Came In On Saloon, is believed to be one of the last places he visited before his untimely death. If you visit, be sure to have a drink in his honor.
Poe’s remains are interred at Westminster Hall and Burying Grounds in Baltimore. Initially, he was buried there in 1849 at the back of the cemetery near family in an unmarked grave. About 25 years later, school children raised money for a monument to be placed at the front of the cemetery as a part of a “Pennies For Poe” campaign.
The grounds are also the final resting place for more than 300 veterans of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Self-guided tours are free; guided tours have been suspended due to the pandemic.