Tag: poe house

    Baltimore Fishbowl Weekend



    Get Up & Go! The City Celebrates Day of the Dead and the World’s Greatest Female Barbershop Singers!

    Whether you’re waking up this morning with a zombie-blood hangover, or you simply ate too much of your kids’ Halloween loot last night, you can still enjoy the rest of the weekend. We promise. Take it easy with an evening at the Theatre Project where you can still catch Cabaret Macabre tonight. This weekend also happens to mark the beginning of the Charm City Fringe Festival, which has a number of unusual theater offerings all week long.

    If you’re looking to keep the party going, you can celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) at the Poe House on either Saturday or Sunday. Or leave the kids at home and treat yourself to the Cider and Mead Scavenger Hunt at Great Shoals Winery.

    And finally, don’t miss the week’s big highlight: The 68th Annual Sweet Adelines International Convention and Competition, celebrating women barbershop singers from around the world. It’s on from November 3-8, with events (and gorgeous harmonies) galore.










    Poe Museum Will Open by Halloween, New Operators Vow



    Perhaps it’s fitting that the Baltimore home of Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who had a rough time in life, has had to struggle for survival. Vandalism, low attendance, and good old fashion lack of funds have plagued the house in recent years, despite the hullabaloo surrounding the 200th anniversary of the writer’s birth. In 2011, the city decided to pull its annual funding ($85,000) from Baltimore’s Poe house, and the Internet buzzed with rumors that the house would be lost to history.

    Poe House to Reopen, Become Self-Sufficient


    Operation of the Edgar Allan Poe House in west Baltimore has been taken over by the B&O Railroad Museum. The hypercelebrated writer’s brief local residence lost its funding from the city in 2010 and was recently closed.

    Gorgeous Former Home of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Blood” Relative in Ruxton


    HOT HOUSE: 1818 Ruxton Road, Ruxton,  21204

    Circa 1875, cream color stucco mansion in the southern style, once home to the cousin of Edgar Allan Poe.  Eight bedrooms, five baths, seven working fireplaces, 7,100 sq. ft., on 1.85 acres with pond: $1,950,000

    How I Almost Burned Down the Poe House


    Film crews can be pretty careless about others’ personal property when working on location.  For them, it’s here today and gone tomorrow, and if they leave a place a little worse for the wear, well they paid a fee, and that’s how it goes.  But as experts in illusion, they can usually cover their whoopsies pretty well.

    Around 1980, I worked on a film about Baltimore’s celebrated 18th century African-American astronomer, Benjamin Banneker.  One of the locations, in an old section of Baltimore, was the Poe House, where the hapless poet had lived for several years as he bounced between Richmond, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore.  His grave was less than a mile away.

    The curator was rightly very nervous about our using the historic and invaluable site, but they needed the hefty location fee to keep the doors open (the Poe house is in one of Baltimore’s bleakest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods, and people were afraid to go there).  He laid down specific ground rules of no food, no drinks, no smoking, which we absolutely swore we would follow.  Around noon the curator left to go to lunch, and said if we went to lunch, leave someone there to guard the place.

    After finishing our shots, we went out to lunch, figuring we’d wrap up when we returned.  We forgot to leave a guard, but at least locked the door behind us.  A half-hour later, we returned, opened the door, and found the house full of smoke.  In a panic, we ran upstairs which was even thicker with smoke, and saw one of the hot movie lights had been left on under the lintel of a doorway.  It was smoking the paint off and charring the wood black.

    No water was upstairs, but we had brought back bottles of soda.  We shook them up, and sprayed  about a gallon on the red-glowing, smoking wood, like fire extinguishers, soaking it and half the room creating billowing clouds of Pepsi steam to add to the smoke.

    The art crew quickly started mopping up the mess, and brought a can of white paint to “dress” the still-steaming lintel.  Through the window, I saw the curator walking up the sidewalk.  I pulled out my pack of cigarettes, gave one to each crew member, then told them to sit at the bottom of the stairs, smoke up a storm, and sip their sodas— but whatever, don’t let the curator upstairs.

    The curator opened the door and shrieked as the smoke hit him in the face.  Enraged, he pulled the lounging crew out of the house and dressed them down on the sidewalk.  Hadn’t he expressly told them no smoking and no drinking in the house?  Were they morons?  Idiots?  Had they no respect for anything?  Everyone apologized profusely, and we opened the windows to air the house out.  By the time the curator had calmed, the art department had finished their clean-up, including freshly painting the lintel, still quite warm to the touch.  We quickly packed and left.

    We never ever heard back from the curator.  In the dim upstairs light, I guess he didn’t notice the damage, though at least an inch of the doorway had been charred or chipped away.  In the end, I suppose it looked like any other well-used 150 year-old Baltimore row house.  We had only added to Poe’s many mysteries.  Archeologists a hundred years from now, scratching away at the old house will perhaps wonder why a doorway, of all things, would suddenly catch fire.  Ghosts? Poe himself, in a moment of madness?  Perhaps.

    Robert Maier lives in Davidson, N.C.. and is the author of “Low Budget Hell: Making Underground Movies with John Waters”. You can read more of his stories on his blog. The Poe House has faced serious budget cuts recently and its fate is still questionable. Several fund raisers are underway to help keep the historic house open.   

    There Is Hope for the Poe House!


    The Poe House woes have come to an end!

    The city Board of Estimates has chosen Maryland firm Cultural Resources Management Group (CRMG) to draft a plan to make the historic house self-sufficient by July 2012.  CRMG was chosen among four similar firms, each of which specializes in managing historic properties. 

    The winning firm will be given $45,000 to draft their plan, the aim of which will be to keep the museum solvent permanently.  Until this year, the city had spent $85,000 annually on the house since it gained ownership of the property in 1979.  

    A spokesperson for CRMG said the firm expects to have their plan finalized by late 2011 or early 2012.  Good luck to them in finding a solution!

    Poe House Schmoe House: Lit Prof Says Let Doors Lock


    Baltimore Fishbowl readers may recently have learned that the Poe House at 203 Amity Street can expect no further financial support from the city. In certain quarters, this revelation will no doubt cause much brow-beating and hand-wringing, but I have always seen the Poe House as something of a “purloined letter”—that uncanny object which, as Poe aficionados well know, cannot be properly seen because it is lying right in plain view.

    Poe is often seen as Baltimore’s native son; what better evidence for his local importance than the name of our football team: The Ravens. Poe’s 200th birthday in 2009 was commemorated by a number of local activities, including an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art called “Edgar Allan Poe: A Baltimore Icon.” Yet, as some might be surprised to discover, there were four other cities also celebrating Poe’s 200th birthday in 2009: Boston, Charlottesville, Richmond, and New York, all of which have at least as strong a claim on Poe as Baltimore (and in some cases, I would argue, their claim is stronger).

    A quick reminder: Poe was born in Boston in 1809, and moved to Richmond the following year. As a child, he spent five years at school in the London suburb of Stoke Newington. He went to college in Richmond, and when in the army, he was stationed in Charlottesville, Virginia. He moved to Baltimore in 1833 and lived at the “Poe House” on Amity Street until some time in 1835, when he moved back to Richmond with his young cousin-bride, Virginia. He spent the rest of his life moving between Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York, and it was in New York, where he lived at nine different addresses, that he wrote most of his best-known works. In short, less than three of Poe’s 40 years on earth were spent in Baltimore. Even his death here seems to have been a mistake—the consensus historical view is that he was trying to get to New York from Philadelphia, but took the wrong train by mistake.

    Let me hasten to add that I consider myself a Poe devotee. I subscribe to Poe Studies, I teach a course on Poe at MICA, and I have published articles on Poe’s philosophy (and Poe is definitely underrated as a philosopher). His work, I believe, speaks for itself. There is no need to make a fetish of the house he lived in, the room he slept in, the desk he might or might not have used. To the author, the material of everyday existence was nothing; what mattered was thought, language, and the infinite world of the imagination. So let the Poe House split to fragments like the House of Usher. As long as Poe’s works remain, very little, I would argue, has been lost.

    Donate Your Pennies: Poe House in Poorhouse


    The historic Poe House at 203 Amity Street lost $85,000 in city funding last year–they’ve been told to expect no further support–and is temporarily closed while EAP-loving local volunteers scramble to assemble funds to reopen the museum building to the public.

    Enthusiastic Poe-studying students in Mr. Zimmerman’s history class at the Crossroads School in Fells Point have raised about $500 to save the house from closure. Local writer Rafael Alvarez, a former Sun reporter, now president of the Poe Society of Baltimore, encouraged the middle schoolers to take up a down-home drive, Pennies for Poe, inspired by historic events.

    More than 150 years ago, local schoolchildren began collecting pennies to purchase a marker for Poe’s grave–you may recall, the author died scary broke and alone in 1849, at (gasp) 40. Finally, back then, a few businessmen got word and pitched in, bringing the grand tombstone total to $1200 and ensuring that the author’s grave would include a legit headstone to praise his name.

    Alvarez has extended “Pennies” by enlisting several local establishments to feature a Poe House donation fishbowl or coffee can (see bar/restaurant list below). He’ll visit more city schools this fall to talk Poe facts and invite kids to fund-raise.

    “Not everyone who comes to Baltimore confines their adventures to the Inner Harbor. Many tourists–along with locals–wander to see the more obscure gems of Crabtown, like the house on Amity Street where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a time with his wife and mother-in-law and is said to have written the ever-fabulous ‘MS. Found in a Bottle,’” Alvarez says. “We are collecting so many pennies that a search is on for a well-hidden, secure and empty swimming pool to fill with pennies. Pennies will save the Poe House as sure as William Donald Schaefer still knows where an abandoned and burned out car waits to be towed away by the Department of Public Works.”

    A sizable swimming pool of change might just do it. There’s still a long way to go to reach the foundation’s $85,000-deep goal, so dig beneath your sofa cushions, pat under your car floor mats, and break the piggy bank. Help keep the horror master’s doors from creaking creepily shut for evermore.

    Make checks payable to:
    DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, City of Baltimore
    put the words POE HOUSE in memo line.

    Mail donations to:
    Jeff Jerome (Poe House curator)
    c/o Baltimore City Department of Planning, 8th Floor
    417 East Fayette Street Baltimore, MD 21202

    Or drop your spare change in collection jars at:

    G&A Hot Dogs at 3802 Eastern Avenue

    The Laughing Pint at 3531 Gough

    Pub 1919 at 1919 Fleet Street