Visiting Poe’s Bronx house


On Saturday I dragged Max and some friends to Edgar Allan Poe’s cottage in the Bronx. No sooner did we enter Poe Park than Kevin and I were drawn to this bulbous, warty tree (at right of photo), which looks even more diseased up-close. We moved toward it simultaneously and started fondling its lumps.

“It looks like someone stuck a leg in there,” Kevin said.

“Hey, who knows?” I said. “Maybe somebody did. Maybe somebody’s sister was buried alive in this thing.”

We’d hardly gotten started concocting Fall-of-the-House-of-Usher stories about the tree and cottage when the tour guide came out and pointed to the house’s original location, across the street. “So this tree wasn’t even in front of it, then,” Kevin said. We walked away from the diseased trunk sadly, worrying that the rest of the tour would be something of a let-down.

But we did see the bed where Virginia Poe breathed her last breath, and a rendering of Poe’s ideal room. And someone had converted a jittery old projector film about the house onto VHS, so some of our party amused themselves by making beeping sounds every time the picture changed. You can see more photos here.

After our trip, Erin wrote to say:

my mom surprised me with her vast knowledge of the Poe House … apparently there’s a pulp-ish mystery novel by the former Manhattan Sex Crimes DA that centers around Poe Park. (Amazon’s “statistically improbable phrases”: “brick coffin,” “snuff mill,” “premature burial.”)

She wonders how many visitors the cottage gets from fans of the “necrotainment genre.” I wonder if Kevin and I qualify.


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