Historic Poe Cottage to receive $450K structural upgrades

Historic Poe Cottage to receive $450K structural upgrades|Historic Poe Cottage to receive $450K structural upgrades
Poe Cottage is receiving renovations thanks to funding from Diaz and the City Council.
Photo courtesy of Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s Office

The Father of Horror and Mystery’s final home will live ‘forevermore.’

On Wednesday, August 14, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced he will provide the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage with $450,000 through his FY2020 capital budget.

The allocation funds roof and exterior woodwork installations and exterior masonry to the 207-year-old cottage.

Located at 2640 Grand Concourse, the 1.5 story white wood-frame farmhouse is receiving an accessible entrance, plantings, pavements and fencing via $744,000 in City Council funding.

NYC Parks is currently reviewing the elected officials’ FY2020 capital allocations to confirm all proposed projects’ funding status and timeline.

The Parks-owned cottage, which is a Historic House Trust member, remains open during renovations.

“In the constantly changing landscape of our city, Poe Cottage is an anchor to another time and a tribute to one of the most consequential writers who ever lived,” Diaz expressed.

According to Parks and Bronx County Historical Society, John Wheeler constructed Poe Cottage in 1812 as a laborer’s dwelling at Kingsbridge Road.

Poe, the legendary poet and creator of the American Gothic tale and detective story, rented the five room cottage owned by John Valentine for $100 a year in the spring of 1846.

The Bostonian moved in with his wife Virginia and his mother-in-law Maria Clemm hoping Fordham Village’s fresh country air would cure Virginia’s tuberculosis.

Its ground floor featured a parlor, a kitchen and Virginia’s bedroom and the attic housed a bedroom and Poe’s study.

While residing there, Poe penned his short story ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ and his poems ‘The Bells,’ ‘Eureka,’ ‘Ulalume’ and ‘Annabel Lee.’

His final prose ‘Landor’s Cottage,’ published in 1849, was inspired by his own cottage.

Legends suggest Poe drew inspiration from the Bronx River and the bells of St. John’s College (now Fordham University) and would frequent Highbridge Park.

Virginia, 24, lost her five-year battle on January 30, 1847, passing away in her bed.

Poe and Clemm resided there until Poe’s mysterious death while visiting Baltimore on October 7, 1849. He was 40-years-old.

Clemm moved to Brooklyn and the cottage changed owners until the city purchased it in 1913.

When Fordham’s redevelopment and Kingsbridge Road’s widening threatened the cottage, the Shakespeare Society lobbied the NYS Legislature to relocate it into Poe Park.

Poe Cottage resides on 2.33 acres approximately 450 feet north of its original site.

It was dedicated as a museum on November 15, 1913.

BCHS became its permanent custodian in 1975.

Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan noted the tiny home’s minimal furnishings convey how impoverished people like Poe lived in the late-1840s.

He confirmed the NYC and NYS landmark houses Virginia’s bed and Poe’s rocking chair. Additional furnishings are period items based on published descriptions from Poe’s visitors.

“It’s important that the cottage be preserved because it’s the only home that Poe lived in that’s still standing,” Ultan explained.

Poe and his family previously rented a double room on the Brennen Farmhouse’s second floor from March 1844 to August 1845, formerly located at West 84th Street.

The farmhouse where Poe wrote his iconic poem, ‘The Raven,’ was demolished in 1888 when Manhattan’s grid street pattern was extended northward on the Upper West Side.

Edgar Allan Poe.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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