Edgar Allan Poe house closes

The Edgar Allan Poe house closed it doors today, which could be an ominous sign or a new beginning for the small home where the great American author spent part of his youth.

The Baltimore Sun's Chris Kaltenbach writes that the house and museum is supposed to reopen, perhaps as early as next spring, under the management of a new nonprofit called Poe Baltimore.

Baltimore officials announced two years ago that they were no longer interested in operating the house, and cut its $85,000 annual operating budget from the city's spending plan, the story notes. Last April, a consultant hired by the city recommended the formation of Poe Baltimore, and that the house be operated under an agreement with the nearby B&O; Railroad Museum.

According to the Poe Society of Baltimore, late in 1832 or early in 1833, Maria Clemm moved from East Baltimore to the countryside, and her household included her mother, daughter Virginia Eliza Clemm and nephew Edgar Allan Poe. In late 1835, he moved to Richmond to edit the Southern Literary Messenger.

I hope this works out better than the shutdown of the charming H.L. Mencken house, which has been off-limits to visitors since the City Life museums closed in 1997. Volunteers are raising funds to give the rowhouse in West Baltimore new life, but so far, it has opened only for special events.

It would be a shame if Baltimore and its residents can't figure out a way to honor Poe, who lived in the city when he was young and died here.

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