Edgar Allan Poe's Gravesite, Baltimore
American writer, poet, editor and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe's memorial grave can be found in the graveyard in Westminster Hall and Burying Ground on the corner of Fayette and Greene Streets in Baltimore, Maryland. He was originally buried (without a headstone) towards the rear corner of the churchyard near the grave of his grandfather, David Poe Sr.
He died at Washington College Hospital on Sunday, 7th October 1849, at 5:00 in the morning after being found on Baltimore streets in a delirious state; his death remains a mystery.
This converted Gothic church was built over a burial ground, one of the city's oldest. Part of the cemetery is open to the public. Here are interred some of Baltimore's most renowned citizens--heroes of the Revolution and the War of 1812 (including Francis Scott Key), some of the city's early mayors, and Edgar Allan Poe. The writer's grave is just inside the gate.
The church is managed by a private non-profit called the Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc.
By default, Edgar Allan Poe was my favourite writer as a teen. "Default", because I really hadn't read any of the classics and I thought that knowing a small handful of Poe's stories and declaring him as my favourite would add an air of "Gothic mystery" to me. In later years, after I had read the classics, I quickly changed my position on declaring him my "favourite".
For people not in the know, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was a writer of poems and short stories. He wrote tales about mostly macabre and morbid themes and helped develop the genre that would eventually become known as "horror". He was born in Boston and through his adult years he suffered depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, madness, and suicide attempts before moving to Baltimore where he died at the age of 40 from unknown causes. His most famous work is a poem entitled "The Raven", and you'd better hit the books if you don't know the line "Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'"
"Westminster Hall and Burying Ground" is almost an appropriate gravesite for the writer. It's a very solemn, small, and quiet site of crypts located in downtown Baltimore. His stone monument is within several steps through the front wrought iron gate. I'd always imagined it would be covered in vines, vermin, leaves, and decay (as the writer himself probably imagined his own resting place), but found a clean white marker instead. Several slowly decomposing red roses and a carnation had been left for him--appropriately fitting. Poe is buried alongside his wife and sister. Other members of his family are buried elsewhere in the graveyard.
"And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!"
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) is best known as a writer of macabre short stories so it just seemed that visiting his grave in Baltimore was something we just HAD to do. Befitting a writer of bizarre tales, the cause of Poe's death at age 40 is likely to always remain a mystery. He was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, some accounts say he was found in the gutter, wearing someone else's clothes. His death is most frequently attributed to alcoholism but other sources claim rabies, cholera and a host of other ailments.
In addition to curious tourists that come to visit, a mystery man draped in black known as the Poe Toaster visits the grave in the wee hours of Poe's birthday, January 19th, toasts Poe with Martel Cognac and leaves the bottle and three red roses.
We walked to the graveyard from the Lexington Market just a few blocks away. Poe's grave is right at the entrance, he is buried there with his mother in law Maria Poe Clemm and his wife Virginia Clemm Poe. Imagine spending eternity with your mother in law ;-)
You can also visit the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum while in Baltimore at 203 Amity Street. I think it might be in a slightly rough neighborhood so take a cab if you are going here.
Westminster Hall and Burying Ground
Mystery and macabre writer Edgar Allan Poe died and is buried in Baltimore 1849, just west of the downtown area. It’s easy to miss, don’t look for green grass and wide open spaces like I did—you’ll miss it and keep walking crossing a highway and into an area you shouldn’t be walking in. Even this area, at night, isn’t probably the best from what I’ve heard.
On the corner of Fayette St & Greene St is Westminster Hall. There is a tiny cemetery there. There can’t be more than 20 graves there, and Poe’s is practically on the corner. As you are walking down Fayette St on the left side, you’ll see the big white headstone on your left as you walk by just before you approach the intersection. Walk thru the gate and there you are.
Open 8am until dusk.
From St Charles St it should take about 10-15 minutes to get there.
The grave of Baltimore's most famous son isn't really open to the public per se, but you can visit it. Located in a churchyard beside a bustling intersection is the grave of Edgar Poe. For those of you who don't know who Edgar Poe was, he is one of the two truly great American authors, discovered, naturally, by the French (in the person of Charles Baudelaire). The other great author is Mark Twain. (Visit my Hannibal pages if you would like to know more about mark Twain.)
Edgar Poe is most widely known for his horror fiction, like The Cask of Amontillado, or his poem The Raven. My favorite poem is For Annie. He is also known as the inventor of the mystery novel. He had a penchant for not naming the settings in which his stories took place but presumably, Baltimore is the scene of many of his finer works.
As a writer, and a lover of writing, coming here was something of a pilgrimage. When I decided to visit Baltimore, this was the one thing I was absolutely bound to do.
Many people don't realize that Edgar Allen Poe, one of America's first great writers, died in Baltimore. He spent the last years of his career here, apparently drinking heavily and not writing a whole lot, eventually dying in 1849 at the age of 40. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the courtyard of the Westminster Church on Green Street (now located across from the VA Hospital). Eventually, his grave gained a marker and then was relocated to a more accessible corner of the graveyard as his fame grew. Although he wrote most of his better-known works in New York, Baltimore has adopted him so much so that its football team is named after one of his poems (the Ravens).
The city even has its own Poe grave tradition. Every year on Edgar's birthday since 1949, a secret visitor has left a glass of cognac and three roses on his grave. No one really knows why. You will also see pennies left on his gravestone -- again, the reason is unknown to us. However, we felt compelled to leave a few pennies of our own (and take one that I could give to my mother as a penny from EA Poe's grave).
Among those resting here are Edgar Allan Poe and members of his family. The cemetery is well worth a peak. For more information, check out the websight.