Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Poe...

POE COTTAGE, Poe Park
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This small cottage in the Bronx was the last home of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). It is set in a small park in an area now known as the Grand Concourse, and is the only house left from the old village of Fordham. Built in 1812, it is typical of workmen's cottages. I was brought up a bus ride away from this landmark, and the very crowded and commercially busy Fordham Road.
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Poe and his wife Virginia leased the house for $100. a year. Virginia was 13 years old when she married her first cousin in 1836. She was ill with tuberculosis when Poe decided that the country air of the Bronx would be healthy for her.
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Troubled times followed. They were penniless despite literary success. Virginia's mother came to live with them, and sadly had to forage in neighbors fields to feed themselves. Poe wrote many of his outstanding poems in Fordham, including, "The Bells", "Annabel Lee", and "Eureka". Virginia died in 1847, and Poe died two years later in Baltimore. You can refer to the previous post about Poe for more details.
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The cottage was saved from destruction in the 1890's by the Shakespeare Society, and moved to another not too distant location on Kingsbridge Road in 1913. Poe Cottage is one of four Poe house museums in America. The others are in Baltimore, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Items in the cottage include a cast iron stove, a desk, a rocking chair, straw bed and mirror. A narrow staircase leads to the couple's attic bedroom, the ceiling being barely six feet high.
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When I was a very young teenager, we, my girlfriends and I would go to Poe Park in the summertime, on Wednesday evenings, to hang out and maybe even dance to the live band that played on the bandstand. We flirted a lot, and probably giggled, and every once in a while some very brave boy would approach one of us. We danced without touching, asked "where are you from"? That was probably the extent of the conversation. Oh yes, what school? When the music ended, we took a bus home. No boys. This was really the Bronx. Yankee stadium was in the other direction. Go Yanks!!

22 comments:

willow said...

Glad to hear this lovely historic landmark was saved from destruction.

Sad, that one of our literary giants had to live in destitution.

Interesting post, Lyn.

Lyn said...

Hi Willow-
Thank you..perhaps there would be no poetry from Poe ..if he'd had a fat and sassy life...
And you can still visit the cottage..let me know!!

Gaston Studio said...

Agree with Willow about the saving of this one house where Poe lived. And I agree with you, Lyn, that perhaps he wouldn't have been so prolific had he not been destitute.

One side of my family is supposed to be distantly related to Poe; I always thought it to be my ex-MIL.

Lyn said...

Hi Jane-
I too feel close to Poe (no DNA) because of where "we" lived. Took a course a couple of years ago on the poet himself..lots of arcane info..

Suzyhayze said...

I love this post! I can't believe I lived in the Bronx for two years and didn't visit this! OH MY!

Poetikat said...

Did I read that right? She was 13 years of age? Wow!
If my husband ever loses his job, I suspect we will end up foraging in neighbour's backyards to fee OURselves since, my writing doesn't earn a pittance either!

POEtikat

Lyn said...

Hi Suzyhayze-
Thank you..well you must come back..where did you live? Riverdale?

Lyn said...

Hi Kat-
I think that's all a girl was destined to do..although Virginia certainly didn't raise her status..
I'm praying that you sell a Haiku!

Derrick said...

Hi Lyn,

I know zilch about Poe, so enjoyed reading your two posts. Artists of whatever discipline always seemed to struggle somehow or other. I still do!!!

Poe said...

You are cordially invited to a free exhibition
at the Boston Public Library

The Raven in the Frog Pond:
Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston

December 17, 2009 - March 31, 2010

For details about Opening Events and other information, visit our Web site
http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/english/poebostonexhibit/index.html
or email poeboston@yahoo.com

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
Suffering seems to be necessary, to tap into the "soul"..
So sorry about your struggles...poor baby!

Lyn said...

Hi Poe-
Thanks for the invite..everyone's invited!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Interesting post. You have to wonder if Poe's ghost still wanders around there.

Jeane said...

wonderful post Lyn - enjoyed every minute of it :)

Lyn said...

Hi Trish and Rob-
I have a feeling that his ghost travels from NY to Baltimore!

Alaine said...

Thank goodness it was saved and thanks for the post; most interesting.

Love the snippet from your teen years; the days of innocence.

A Cuban In London said...

Yes, go Yanks! I loved this post. I had never seen Poe's residence before so thanks for the tour and that snippet of your younger years.

Greetings from London.

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
Thanks..I did enjoy doing this one..

Lyn said...

Hi Alaine-
Sometimes it does seem iffy as to whether something will appear! Thanks..
In those "olden" days, we all felt safe..even in NYC!

Lyn said...

Greetings to a Cuban-
Yes..Yanks, after the dreary performance Mon. nite..tonight's gotta be IT!
So many people here have no idea of the richness of their environment..next time, I think you'll go!

Suzyhayze said...

Hi! No, I lived off Fordham Road when I was getting my graduate degree. Lorillard Place. But still, I did a lot of exploring. I must come back. You are right!

Lyn said...

Hi Suzyhayze-
I took the bus to Fordham Rd. everyday, then the N train to
138th St., high school (M&A).
So you attended Fordham univ?

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