Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site
An exhibit within the Historic Site.
A view of the Historic Site.
Backstory and Context
From 1837 to 1844, Edgar Allan Poe lived in the city of Philadelphia. During his time in the city, Poe lived in a number of different houses, moving for one reason or another. The specific house that the National Historic Site is housed in is merely one of the last of these homes left standing. In his coming to Philadelphia, Poe had hoped to land a job with a magazine that would allow him to continue his literary writing. However, he ended up mainly taking numerous freelancing jobs in the city, selling stories when he could. As his fame grew, however, he was given an editorial position in Graham’s Magazine, and it was in this Pennsylvania magazine that Poe published “The Murders in Rue Morgue” and started the detective story genre. Although Poe wrote numerous works during his time in Philadelphia, such as “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” it is unclear which stories Poe actually wrote while living in that house.
After being occupied by numerous
other families, the House was eventually purchased by Richard Gimbel, who was a
fan of Poe, in 1933. In memory of his beloved author, Gimbel had the home
refurbished and made it into a museum. Today, the historic site is managed by
the National Park Service, and it includes the home where Poe lived and two other
houses. The rooms of the house are left alone 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 is 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 room includes a complete collection of
Poe's works, including criticism, and audio interpretations of his work. A
statue outside of the home depicts a large raven, representative of Poe's poem,
“The Raven,” and the cellar in the house resembles one described in “The Black