popturf

city: baltimore

gunner’s hall

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

On September 27, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe left Richmond, Virgina to travel to New York City. He stopped in Philadelphia to stay with a friend, James P. Moss. On September 30, Poe departed for New York, but it is unknown if he ever arrived there.

The generally accepted story is that he must have taken the wrong train and ended up in Baltimore. On October 3rd, a disoriented Poe was found drifting in and out of consciousness on the street outside Gunner's Hall, a public house on East Lombard St.

It was election day in Baltimore, and the public house was a polling place for Cornelius Ryan's 4th Ward Polls. A man named Joseph Walker found Poe and was able to extract enough information from him to get the name of an acquaintance, Dr. Joseph Evans Snodgrass. Walker sent the following note to Snodgrass:

Dear Sir, – There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance, Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker

Snodgrass arrived with Poe's uncle, Henry Herring. Snodgrass commented that Poe's appearance was "repulsive" with unkempt hair, a haggard, unwashed face and "lusterless and vacant" eyes.

Poe was usually a snappy dresser, but was wearing "a stained faded, old bombazine coat, pantaloons of a similar character, a pair of worn-out shoes run down at the heels, and an old straw hat." The ill-fitting clothes led his attending physician to remark that they were not Poe's, as such attire was out of his character.

Believed to be drunk, he was sent to Washington University Hospital where he died (under mysterious circumstances) on October 7, 1849.

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the horse you came in on saloon

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

Everybody likes a good story, and this Fells Point institution has a number of them.

The oldest continually operating saloon in the United States (since 1775), the bar has changed names many times, but is now a live music venue known as The Horse You Came In On Saloon.

Local legend says that Edgar Allan Poe used to enjoy imbibing at this location, and that he was potentially knocking them down here the day he was found incoherent on the street before he died- October 3, 1849.

Although this story is completely unverified, so are equally fun ghost stories from the bar's employees. Apparently, a ghost nicknamed "Edgar" continually swings the chandelier, opens cash register doors, pulls out stools, and knocks over beer bottles. Maybe the ghost is drunk too...

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edgar allan poe’s grave

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

From 1949 to 2009, a mysterious figure nicknamed "The Poe Toaster" would visit Poe's grave annually on January 19 (E.A. Poe's birthday).

The figure would slink into the graveyard under the cover of dark, dressed in black with a wide-brimmed hat and white scarf. He would pour himself a glass of cognac and raise a toast to Poe's memory, then vanish, leaving three roses in a distinctive arrangement and the unfinished bottle of cognac.

The tradition lasted for sixty years. Nobody knows who the Toaster was, but there is evidence that it was a father who passed the bizarre ritual to his son. The year 2009 marked the bicentennial of Poe's birth, and since then there has not been an appearance of The Poe Toaster (or the signature opened bottle of booze with roses).

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edgar allan poe’s grave

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

In 1875, Poe was disinterred from the original burial location and moved to his present location. A larger, more ornate monument had been erected for the popular writer through donations, gifts, and fund-raising.

Among the dignitaries to attend the dedication of the monument on November 17, 1875 was Walt Whitman.

The monument is still within the Westminster Burying Grounds; the move placed Poe next to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Maria Clemm (on his right), and his wife, Virginia Poe (who had been originally buried in New York in 1847).

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edgar allan poe’s grave

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

After Poe's death in 1849, he was laid to rest in his family's plot in the Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore. E.A. Poe was originally placed in Lot 27, next to his grandfather David Poe, Sr. (from Londonderry, Ireland) and his older brother, William Henry Leonard Poe.

The day he was buried, an obituary appeared in the New York Tribune that depicted Poe as a deranged drunk and a drug-addled misanthrope. Signed by "Ludwig," the piece was actually written by one of Poe's chief literary rivals, Rufus Wilmot Griswold.

Not only did Wilmot's piece get reprinted in several national publications, it was contained in Poe's posthumous writing anthologies (oddly, Griswold had weaseled his way into the position of Poe's literary executor).

While many of Griswold's anonymous character assassinations have proven to be lies, forgeries, or half-truths- the damage had been done. For years, Poe was (and in many ways, is still) depicted as a mad genius.

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