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Updated on Dec 6, 2019. Posted on Oct 28, 2019

9 Edgar Allan Poe Sites You'd Be Remiss To Miss

Drop by during spooky szn... or any szn. They're worth your macabre-loving time.

If you know anything about Edgar Allan Poe (and I hope you do if you're reading this!) you'll know that he lived in several places where he left his mark.

LoC "Famous People" collection, Library of Congress / Via commons.wikimedia.org

And we're not even going to get into the impact he left on American literature and beyond!

Now, I won't highlight every place that has a Poe tie, but here are some must-see spots around the U.S. you can visit to show your appreciation for the literary legend:

1. Edgar Allan Poe's (Approximate) Birthplace (Boston, Massachusetts)

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How it's connected to Poe: Edgar Allan Poe was born in January 19, 1809, in a house in Boston that is no longer standing. *And* in a turn of events that feels eerily appropriate for the writer of many eerie things, the street where it stood also no longer exists. But you can still visit the area while in town to pay your respects.

What you'll see: This plaque is attached to the side of a building that houses a Mexican restaurant named Boloco at 176 Bolyston Street. Plus, the plaza at the same location is dedicated to him. In 2014 the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston revealed a quite dashing statue of the author that's also primed for photo ops (more on that here).

2. The Poe Museum (Richmond, Virginia)

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How it's connected to Poe: In 1906 a group of folks started the Poe Memorial Association in his hometown of Richmond, and a decade later tried to use the Southern Literary Messenger building (where Poe was a magazine editor) as a monument to him. It was a no-go, per a building inspector who decided the building would be demolished to make room for a widened street. (BTW, they widened another street.)

The fans salvaged building materials and used it to build a Poe Shrine (see below) in the backyard of the Old Stone House, which was the city's oldest house and was being used as a colonial museum at the time. The Shrine opened in 1922. Since its opening, many famous names have dropped by like Salvador Dalí, Gertrude Stein, H.P. Lovecraft, and Henry Miller. Today the museum includes the house, the garden with the shrine, and three adjoining structures.

What you'll see: This museum has the largest public collection of Poe memorabilia and artifacts in the world, including his boyhood bed, a lock of his hair, and first-edition manuscripts and letters!

And here's a closer look at the Poe Shrine in The Enchanted Garden, which is based on his poem "To One in Paradise."

scooterhigher / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

The garden is gorgeous and worth a pause... trust me, I've been! Check out more history on the garden here.

3. St. John's Episcopal Church (Richmond, Virginia)

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How it's connected to Poe: Before or after your visit to the nearby Poe Museum (really, it's quite close!) you'll need to drop by the oldest church in Richmond where his birth mother Elizabeth Arnold Poe is buried. She died from tuberculosis in 1811 while on tour in Richmond as a traveling actor, leaving him and his sister parent-less. Edgar was only 2, and he and his two siblings Henry and Rosalie, were separated afterward. (You can read more about Mrs. Poe here.)

What you'll see: This marker was placed here in 1929 by the University of Virginia's Raven Society. There's a quote on the back of the monument (seen below) that he wrote about his mother.

While you're there, it's well worth taking a daily guided tour, as this is the church where Patrick Henry delivered his "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" speech to the second Virginia Revolutionary Convention meeting at on March 23, 1775. But keep in mind that because this is an active church, regular church services may affect tour times. So plan accordingly, y'all!

Detail of Elizabeth Arnold Poe's memorial:

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

The inscription on the back of the monument. It includes a sweet quote about the mother whom he barely knew.

If you're a fan of graveyards, cemeteries, and just history in general, you'll enjoy visiting this site beyond the Poe ties. The church started a project in 2018 to figure out what lies below the ground besides the approximately 400 grave markers. Read more on that here.

4. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

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How it's connected to Poe: He moved to Philadelphia in 1838 and lived there for six years (thanks in part to the 1837 depression the country felt that made work difficult for him to find in New York City). While living in Philadelphia, he worked as an editor for Graham’s Magazine and wrote “Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mask of the Red Death,” and “Ligeia.”

What you'll see: Take a self-led or ranger-led tour through the sparsely furnished home with many surfaces that have not been restored. And don't forget to walk into the creepy basement!! You can also time your visit to listen to a dramatic reading of Poe's work in the reading room that's furnished in period style.

And, because why not, here's that creepy basement!

Smallbones / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Do it, go down into the basement! I did when I visited.

5. Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum (Baltimore, Maryland)

1Veertje / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

How it's connected to Poe: He lived here with his aunt Mrs. Maria Clemm, grandmother, and two cousins (including Virginia, before they married) from 1832-1835 before moving to Richmond to edit the Southern Literary Messenger magazine. He wrote some of his earliest short stories here, including “MS. Found in a Bottle” and “Berenice.” It's now a national historic landmark.

What you'll see: The five-room brick building has the original plaster walls and woodwork. You can marvel at artifacts including his portable writing desk and chair, in addition to a telescope, china, and glassware he used while he lived with the Allan family in Virginia. Note that the museum is only open Thursdays-Sundays so keep that in mind when planning your visit!

6. Edgar Allan Poe Street, Upper West Side (New York, New York)

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How it's connected to Poe: If you find yourself in the area, you can wait to cross the street in the Upper West Side near where the farmhouse stood where Poe wrote "The Raven" in 1844. (Check out an 1879 pic of the house here.) Yep, you read that correctly. Farmhouse.

What you'll see: If you make the trip to West End Avenue and West 84th Street you'll see lots of apartment buildings and typical New York City things, so it's pretty wild that this wasn't considered the city back then, which, isn't really *that* long ago in relation to other points in history. Nothing else besides this street sign would hint at the area's relation to an important piece of American literature, but hey, at least there's the sign!

Stroll over to 84th street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue to see a commemorative plaque on the side of an apartment building that has some very creepy bird statues out front. Check out a pic here. (FYI, I've been inside the apartment building because I once dated someone who lived in it [a happy coincidence!] and I'm sad to report that it's just a regular modern apartment building.)

7. Edgar Allan Poe Cottage (The Bronx, New York)

Zoirusha at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

How it's connected to Poe: The circa 1812 cottage is on the national register of historical places and was his final home. He moved there in 1846 and with his wife Virginia and her mother Mrs. Maria Clemm. (Back then it was still the village of Fordham, not the Bronx.) Virginia had consumption and died here. After he died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, his mother-in-law moved out. Afterward it went through many renters and even served as a dentist office, as it became a tourist spot and that wasn't too appealing for possible rental residents! The city bought the house in 1913, moved it across the street to Poe Park, and opened it as a museum.

While living here, he wrote "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," "The Cask of Amontadillo," and "Eureka."

What you'll see: The bed Virginia died in is still there, and according to Curbed, so are a mirror and rocking chair of his.

8. Edgar Allan Poe's Original Burial Site, Westminster Hall Burying Grounds (Baltimore, Maryland)

CommonismNow / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

How it's connected to Poe: This is where he was originally interred after his death.

What you'll see: There's now a lovely marker here primed for photo ops and paying respect.

9. Edgar Allan Poe's Memorial Grave Site, Westminster Hall Burying Grounds (Baltimore, Maryland)

AndrewHorne at the Wikipedia project / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

How it's connected to Poe: And then *this* is where he was moved in November 17, 1875, as his final resting place. (Or at least for now until someone eventually creates an even grander monument?!)

Going back to the 1940s, a "toaster" would slip into the burying grounds on Poe's birthday and leave three roses and a bottle of French cognac at the grave. Check out a Washington Post story documenting the attempts to track down the toaster, to no avail. Though, it has since stopped! And according to the Smithsonian in 2017, the toaster's identity is still a mystery. (I couldn't find any evidence of the tradition picking back up since then before publishing this story.)

What you'll see: A fenced-off memorial to the author with this detailed marker. Westminster Hall itself is an architectural landmark, so it's worth your time while you're there paying your respects!

Have you been to any of these sites? Did I miss any essential spot? LMK in the comments below!

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