Edgar Allan Poe, one of America’s greatest writers, spent the last years of his life in this modest cottage in The Bronx.
Built in 1812, this cottage was typical of the working-class houses that filled the old village of Fordham. It has only five rooms: a kitchen, parlor, and bedchamber on the main floor, and two small rooms in the attic.
In 1844, Poe moved in with his wife, Virginia, accompanied by Virginia’s mother, Maria Clemm. Poe hoped that the quiet cottage, surrounded by fields and orchards and far from the noisy and polluted city, would help Virginia recover from tuberculosis. Poe wrote some of his most famous works in the cottage, including “Annabel Lee,” “Eureka,” and “The Bells.”
Virginia died in the cottage in 1847. Poe died two years later, during a trip to Baltimore. Soon after, Mrs. Clemm sold her household possessions and moved away.
Poe’s genius was widely recognized during his life. After his death the cottage, as his last home, became something of a literary landmark. In 1913, the house was saved from demolition by the New York Shakespeare Society, which raised funds to move it across the street to a public park so that it could be preserved in perpetuity.
Today, the cottage's rooms have been restored with furnishings appropriate to Poe’s residency in the 1840s, including a desk, rope bed, and wicker rocking chair thought to have belonged to the family.
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by The Bronx County Historical Society, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.