Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site
The house where Poe wrote and published some of his greatest tales
Poe (1809-1849), one of America’s most original writers, lived in this red brick home with his wife, Virginia, and his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, for about a year. During that time, he penned The Black Cat, which describes a basement eerily similar to the one here.
Visitors can tour the stark rooms and cellar of the three-story home where Poe’s imagination ran seductively wild. Rangers recount how Poe dealt with family poverty, Virginia’s grave illness and his own personal demons. In the buildings are exhibits on Poe’s family and his literary contemporaries, plus a theater that shows an informative eight-minute film.
Administered by the National Park Service, this was Poe’s residence in 1843 before he moved to New York City. Of his several Philadelphia homes, only this one survives. It serves as a tangible link to Poe at the height of his literary achievements. Although best known for his Gothic horror tales, Poe also created beautiful poetry, was a pioneer science fiction writer, and is credited with inventing the modern detective story with Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Although the house lacks furniture, possibly due to Poe selling it to finance his move to New York, the film, lecture and tour make the trip very worthwhile.
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is open Friday-Sunday.
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