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Poe Money, Poe Problems — The Edgar Allen Poe House in Baltimore


Written on November 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm, by Amelia

Many moons ago (mid-September to be exact), Lain and I traveled to Baltimore to be overzealous about The Wire, visit the Edgar Allen Poe House, and see friends, in that order.

Due to, ahem, technical difficulties, we didn’t have the pictures from our visit until now.

The Edgar Allen Poe House in Baltimore, MD

So first, let’s talk about The Wire, shall we?  Because everyone loves it, I won’t take up space here telling you that it was quite possibly the best show on television and that your career as a television viewer is incomplete without it.  That would be silly.

I will tell you this–The Wire focuses on the drug trade in Baltimore, and the set is Baltimore itself.  The projects, to be exact.

Baltimore's not so beautiful streets

Which is exactly where the Poe House is!

This leads to the Poe House’s voicemail being both helpful and unintentionally hilarious.  Like, amazing.  Here, I’ll sum it up for you:

Do not, by absolutely any means, walk to the Poe House!  No, seriously, don’t.  We know you think you can, but you cannot.  Stop it.

It’s important to note the message is about 4 (wonderful) minutes long.

The Poe House is the very small home where Edgar Allen Poe lived the last years of his life, when he was ill, broke, and generally considered a wack-job.  Very few original artifacts remain in the home.

The Director of the Poe House has a fierce loyalty to “Eddie,” but a possibly broken spirit as a result.  The phone message isn’t the only evidence.  Here, look at the Caution sign.

The Poe House's Passive Aggressive Caution Sign

We too wish we could tell some people to control their durn kids, but to print and frame it?  Incredible.

Secrets of the Poe House Guide

This sheet is your guide as you tour the house.  I suspect it exists because the Director would have punched the next person who asked a dumb question.

There’s plenty of evidence of how he got to be this way, conveniently put into a video montage for visitors!

Poe House Director's varied TV appearances

I’ve truly never seen someone taunted on television so many times, over so many years.  If ever there was a good sport, it’s this Director.

This relief of Edgar Allen Poe is a good visual for the museum, I think.

Why Poe's Carving is no longer outside

Like the Wren’s Nest, the Poe House has seen good times and some really not so good times.  This bad boy was originally put outside, after a couple other reliefs were stolen.  Then it was damaged by environmental factors like acid rain.

Poe's The Raven illustrated by Gustav Dore

Here are some framed copies of Gustave Doré’s famous illustrations of Poe’s The Raven.  The Wren’s Nest also has a copy, since Joel Chandler Harris himself owned the very same version!

My favorite part of the house was the stairway to the third floor.  It is so narrow, steep, and angled that it was truly difficult to turn around.

Amelia on her way to the third floor of the Poe House

Here’s what it looks like upstairs.

Poe House Third Floor mini room

Though it’s hard to tell in this picture, the ceiling is about 4 feet tall and the room is about 7 feet wide.  If I could have stooped in there for a visual, I would have, but you weren’t allowed in the room.

So!  There ends our tour of the Poe House, which was really a discussion of its war-weary Director and where The Wire was possibly filmed.  Journalism at its finest.

Next time you’re in Baltimore, visit the Poe House.  But listen to the voicemail first.  It’s worth it.

10 Comments to Poe Money, Poe Problems — The Edgar Allen Poe House in Baltimore

  1. catherine says:

    I’m embarrassed to say that during the 18 years I lived in Maryland I never once visited the Poe House. I did see a play of his performed in Spain. It was very confusing…mostly because it was performed in Spanish.

  2. [...] What does the Edgar Allen Poe House museum in Baltimore have in common with the TV show The Wire?  The Wren’s Nest blog reports from the mean streets in a scary/hilarious post.   [...]

  3. LaWren says:

    So, you guys walked, right?

  4. David Rogers says:

    Well, they are pretty hardcore, I could see them walking. Plus, they didn’t have Brer Buick back then either.

  5. Amelia says:

    Happily, we were chauffeured. Feel free to picture us in a cozy stretch limo instead of our friend’s car.

  6. Josh says:

    This article was in the Boston Globe a week before your post:
    “The pendulum swings: Boston urged to reclaim Poe”
    http://boston.com/lifestyle/articles/2008/11/14/the_pendulum_swings_boston_urged_to_reclaim_poe

  7. lain says:

    That’s pretty cool, Josh. I like how Boston College’s appeal is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I would vote for Edgar Allen Poe Month.

    Somewhat related, tomorrow is Joel Chandler Harris Day in Georgia. It used to be a big deal. Maybe if the BC folks succeed, we’ll ask ‘em for lobbying tips.

  8. [...] fellow Wire devotee/Poe seeker reports on the House’s message machine, which strenuously declares, “Do not, by absolutely any means, walk to the Poe House!  No, [...]

  9. Nancy Faye Roach says:

    I am building a 1:12 scale dollhouse version of the Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore. However, I have never actually visited it. I am very confused about the location of the two stairs, from first floor to second and from second to third. I do wish I could find a floor plan/room layout of the house. I would like to be as accurate as I can with the dollhouse.

  10. [...] made famous by HBO’s The Wire, so be careful!  If you can’t make it to Baltimore soon, The Wren’s Nest gang offers an excellent guided tour of the experience. Share [...]

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