Nevermore: Baltimore Cash-Strapped Edgar Allan Poe Museum Closing

Creepy author lived in city and is buried there

By Greg Wilson
|  Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:15 AM CDT
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Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe Museum Closing

Edgar Allan Poe home in Baltimore is a museum - for now.

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Creepy literary great Edgar Allan Poe's old home in Baltimore has long been a macabre tourist attraction, but the museum is about to go dark because of budget problems.

Poe, who died in 1849, lived in the home at 203 North Amity Street with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins, one of whom, Virginia, would later become his wife. The museum is located in a public housing complex miles away from the city's main tourism district. Still, about 5,000 people per year visit.

The city stopped funding the museum two years ago, and the private donations that kept it running are drying up. A feasibility study, to be completed by December, will explore ways to make the museum self-sustaining. More likely than not, the museum will close at the end of June 2012.

"It would be an embarrassment to the city to have thousands of people come to the city to see a boarded-up house," museum curator Jeff Jerome told Reuters.

Poe lived in Baltimore from 1832 to 1835 before his writing career took off. The museum features his tiny attic bedroom with only enough room for a bed, a chair and a wash table.

Poe lived in several cities, including Richmond, Philadelphia and the Bronx, but Baltimore has always proudly touted its bond to the author. Even 150 years ago, a "Pennies for Poe" campaign was held to pay for Poe's burial.

For decades, a mysterious visitor left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of his birth. But the tradition seems to have ended in recent years.

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