Nestled among the bustling Fordham streets teeming with students, shoppers and traffic, sits the once placid cottage where one of America’s most notoriously tormented and eminent writers plied his craft.
Edgar Allan Poe, who is often credited with developing the modern short story and mystery, lived with his wife and aunt between 1846 and 1849 in the house after it was converted from a farmhouse to a cottage on a bucolic estate.
Today the house is situated at 2460 Grand Concourse after city officials relocated it a century earlier just steps across the street from its original location near the corner of 192nd Street and East Kingsbridge Road.
“I always tell people, if there are any ghosts, they’re across the street looking for the house,” said Angel Hernandez, an educator for the Bronx Historical Society.
The biggest room in the house is a parlor where Poe possibly wrote “The Cask of Amontillado,” the short story about a man who seeks and seemingly achieves retribution with impunity.
The chiming bells from the church at Fordham University, then
known as St. John’s College, purportedly inspired Poe to write the hypnotic lines about their tintinnabulation in the appropriately titled poem The Bells: “How they clang, and clash, and roar! What a horror they outpour.”
While the Bronx Historical Society has strived to recreate the 19th century ambience of Poe’s house for visitors today, a 2010 renovation stripped and repainted the cottage’s white exterior while workers made structural repairs to the 1812 building.
Still, the Poe Cottage maintains traces of the melancholy narrative of its former inhabitants.
Poe and his family retreated to the area hoping the fresh air would provide a cure for his wife, Virginia, who suffered from tuberculosis.
Virginia was only 13 when she married Poe, who was 27-years-old at the time. She was also his cousin. However, some scholars suggest the two may have lived as siblings and the marriage was never consummated.