Edgar Allan Poe, that master of the macabre and inventor of the detective-fiction genre, has a birthday coming up on Monday. It’s his 200th and many organizations are celebrating the Poe bicentennial. The International Edgar Allan Poe Society is building a community centered around the Edgar Allan Poe 200 site. Boston College is sponsoring “The Raven Returns to Boston“- a series of events celebrating Poe in the city of his birth. A $250,000 renovation is planned for Poe’s cottage in the Bronx. The two cities in which he spent most of his life have a yearlong set of events planned- Baltimore is sponsoring Nevermore 2009, while Richmond, Virginia hosts Poe Revealed 2009. You can also visit the recently reopened Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site at Poe’s home in Philadelphia.
I was surprised to see the Edgar Allan Poe House in North Carolina up for sale for just $250,000. Amid all of this Poe mania, it seems quite a timely offering. Unfortunately for the seller, it is not the Edgar Allan Poe, but rather an Edgar Allan Poe who built and owned this 1905 Dutch Colonial in Lenoir, North Carolina. By all accounts, this Edgar led a pretty interesting life as well- a builder and carpenter who may have helped work on building the famous Biltmore estate, he had graduated from law school and practiced in Asheville for a time before moving to Lenoir to start a family. He lived there in this house until 1949.
The seller has the house featured in a nice website www.EdgarAllanPoeHouse.com, complete with floor plans and photo galleries, and the complete history of Poe and his house. The seller describes the home as “a 14 room house characterized by massive, carved staircase, curved wainscoting crown moulding, raised oak paneling, 12 foot ceilings, wormy heart-pine floors, and long spanned porch. Terraced, large backyard with stream and wooded area.” It sounds nicer than anything the talented, but perpetually impoverished, original Edgar Allan ever had the chance to live in. Ironic, too, that the house is located in Lenoir- suspiciously similar to “Lenore”- the lost love Poe laments in his most famous poem “The Raven.” Just a coincidence tap, tap, tapping at the door ? Merely that and nothing more….. quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”