Poe Cottage, Poe Park
2460 Grand Concourse & East Kingsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10458
|Subway: D or #4 to Kingsbridge Road Bus: Bx12 to Grand Concourse; Bx35 or Bx28 to 194th Street Liberty Lines Express Bus 4A, 4B
The tiny Poe cottage in the Bronx was the last home of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), the great American poet and author of early mystery stories. Set in a small park on the Grand Concourse, it is the only house left from the old village of Fordham. In 1812, John Wheeler built the one-and-a-half-story cottage, typical of the workmen’s houses that once dotted the Bronx.
Thirty-four years later, Poe and his wife Virginia leased the house for $100 a year from John Valentine. Virginia, who was 13 when she married her first cousin in 1836, had tuberculosis and was in failing health when Poe decided that the Bronx country air might revive her.
Poe was penniless despite his literary success, having lost his savings in a magazine venture that went bankrupt. Virginia’s mother, who lived with them, had to forage in neighboring fields to feed the family. During these troubled times, Poe wrote many poems in Fordham, including “The Bells,” “Eureka” and “Annabel Lee.” Virginia finally died in 1847; and her husband, one of this country’s most gifted writers, died two years later during a trip to Baltimore. Their cottage, saved from destruction in the 1890s by the Shakespeare Society and moved from its original location on the other side of Kingsbridge Road in 1913, preserves a precious chapter of New York’s literary heritage.
Poe Cottage, painted white with green trim, is one of four Poe house museums in America (the others are in Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia). The main floor is sparsely furnished with, among other items, a 19th-century cast-iron stove, a desk, and a rocking chair, straw bed and mirror that may have been used by Poe. A narrow staircase winds up to the couple’s attic bedroom, whose ceiling is barely six feet high.
Painted and sculpted portraits of the author, as well as early photographs and drawings of the cottage, are displayed. An audiovisual show created by The Bronx County Historical Society, which operates the house, details Poe’s life in Fordham and his creative genius.
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