Edgar Allen Poe is one of America’s most celebrated writers and while he didn’t spend his whole life in NYC he wrote some of his best known works here and he is irrevocably linked to the City because of Poe Cottage. It is the only remaining house where Poe lived and it’s where his wife died of tuberculosis in 1847. It’s situated in the Bronx at 2460 Grand Concourse and at the time he lived in the cottage, the area all around it was still mainly rural. Most of New York’s oldest houses are now preserved as historic reminders of how people once lived their lives. Poe Cottage is the simplest and plainest of them all but a very touching and personal reminder of a famous man’s lifestyle
He was the first well known American writer to try and make a living from writing and to some extent he succeeded but his income was mostly irregular and never enough. He died young, at 40, from numerous ailments and poverty stricken. He was best known in his lifetime as a critic but he is now regarded as the inventor of detective fiction and he also influenced the development of science fictio writing..
He often wrote Gothic tales such as “The Fall Of The House Of Usher’, such tales being very popular at the time but he definitely had a preoccuaption with death in his writing. Certainly his life was filled with death. His own mother died when he was very young and then his adopted mother died when he was 20. He married his 13 year old cousin not long after her death but she too died 11 years later when she was 24 in Poe Cottage. The video of Poe Cottage shows the bed she died in and it is touching in it’s simplicity.
When you go and see it you will find Poe Cottage is very small by modern standards. It has only survived because of Poe’s fame, but it’s lucky for us that it has because it is the only surviving example of such a simple residence from the mid 19th Century in NYC. As you can see in the video not only is it small but it’s furnishings are few. Poe and his wife were not well off and the furnishings are what people with a low income would have had at the time. It is now surrounded by streets and tall buildings but this humble Cottage is the last remaining link to the time when Bronx was still a farming community. Poe lived a mostly troubled life but when you stand in the cottage it’s tempting to hope that his time here gave him peace and quiet.