Today was the first day of a much anticipated American Literary Tour through New England. My friends Jen and Ann and I kicked off an eight-day blitz through some of the famous sites of American Literature.
We began by stopping in Richmond, home of the Edgar Allen Poe Museum. Although Poe never lived here, it is the oldest building in Richmond, constructed entirely of stone. He spent some of the happiest years of his life in Richmond and considered himself more of a Southerner than a Bostonian, although he was born there.
The museum featured personal possessions of Poe, including one of the few extant handwritten poems to a childhood girlfriend, “To Helen”; a trinket box owned by his wife, Virginia; his trunk; and even a lock of his hair. None of the houses where he lived while in Richmond still exist, but the museum features several pieces of furniture, including his boyhood bed, pictured below.
Next, we went to Potters Mill, Pennsylvania, the location of Eutaw House, a tavern built in 1794 and reputedly the site where Poe penned his most famous work, The Raven. Today Eutaw House is home to a used car lot and has been made into apartments. We feared it was inaccessible but the adventurous Ann (at her most brazen) charged through the lawn, unlatched the gate, and climbed up the steps to the third floor. The picture below shows the room where he allegedly wrote this poem. Inside you could sense the ambience that inspired his poem.