Click to See More Photos of This Site GIVING POE A NEW HOME
The Old Stone House, Richmond's oldest still-standing house, now houses a museum honoring Edgar Allan Poe, who spent much of his life in Richmond. The tiny house contains the museum shop complete with Poe shot glasses and books and the hilarious Poe doll, which features a raven and black cat accompanying the pen-wielding author. Tours of the museum begin in a small room with several portraits of important familial figures in Poe's life. Tour guides offer some detail on Poe's troubled upbringing, from his orphanage at the age of three to his being taken in by the Allan family and his eventually financial strife with John Allan, who Poe resented for not providing him with more money while attending U.Va. (He had to leave the school after acquiring gambling debts.)

The museum is also contained in surrounding structures on the property, featuring exhibits on Poe's writing history (complete with many first editions), an intriguing room with an interactive display examining the bizarre circumstances of his death. The museum also maintains a pleasant inner courtyard with a shrine that contains a bust of the writer with copies of his works for visitors' perusal. One display includes a panoramic recreation of the city of Richmond in Poe's time with buildings important to the author highlighted. It is backdropped by a timeline of important events in his life. Fascinating detail peppers the laid back tour, like the assertion that Poe's most famous photograph was taken a few days after he attempted suicide.

Museum officials claim that although Poe may not have ever set foot in the house, there is documentation suggesting that he escorted Gen. Lafayette to the property as a youth. The double use of the property as an example of simple colonial architecture and a museum for the substantial short story writer and poet seems awkward at first, but actually functions relatively well, giving good context to the sites Poe would have seen while living in the city.

SITE NAME
Old Stone House (Poe Musuem)

COMMEMORATED BY
Virginia Landmarks Register
127-100
October 16, 1973

National Register of Historic Places
November 14, 1973

LOCATION
1916 East Main Street
City of Richmond

Ellen Glasgow House Sherwood Anderson

 


This site was created by Emily Kane as part of the University of Virginia's American Studies program.
For more information about AS@UVA, click below.

American Studies at U.Va.