Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia

View the most complete collection of artifacts from this famous author’s life at the oldest house in Richmond.

Click to expand photos.

Though nineteenth-century author Edgar Allan Poe never lived here, this small museum complex in downtown Richmond, Virginia has become more than a record of his life and writing—it is a tribute to both the man and his fans. There is even a garden shrine to the Dark Romantic poet.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is best known for poems like “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” and short stories like “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”. His birth parents were actors who died when he was a child. He was raised by foster parents in Richmond before moving to Baltimore as a young man, where he met his future wife, the young Virginia Eliza Clemm. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.

The newlyweds returned to Richmond, where Poe got a job at the Southern Literary Messenger. His tragic life has been recounted elsewhere, but to make a long story short, he died nearly penniless in a delirium at the age of 40. In 1906, Poe fans formed the Poe Memorial Association. They salvaged bricks from the demolished Southern Literary Messenger building to erect a shrine to Poe behind Richmond’s oldest house, which was then a museum dedicated to colonial history. The shrine opened in 1922.

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“Traitors and Secessionists”

How Republican reaction to wartime dissent stoked tensions and almost led to violent revolution in Illinois.

During the American Civil War, intense disagreement over the conduct of the war erupted in Illinois. Republicans, members of the party that elected President Abraham Lincoln, supported the war, while members of the Democratic Party split between pro-war and pro-peace factions. In 1862, two issues inflamed the peace faction: the military draft and emancipation of slaves. Republicans conflated opposition to these issues with disloyalty and sympathy for the Southern Confederacy.

Though Illinois was a free state, many Illinoisans opposed political equality for African Americans and didn’t want freed black slaves moving north. After President Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, Illinoisans let their opposition known when they returned a Democratic dominated legislature in the midterm elections that November.

Republicans in Illinois did not lie prostrate as the Democratic-controlled legislature attempted to pass resolutions calling for an armistice, legislation that hindered use of the state militia, and obstructed the draft. On the last day the legislature sat in session before its spring recess, in February 1863, a Senator and farmer from McLean County in central Illinois, Isaac Funk, delivered a widely published speech condemning the Democrats for their obstructionism.

“I say that there are traitors and secessionists at heart in this Senate!” he shouted. “Their actions prove it. Their speeches prove it… I can sit here no longer and not tell these traitors what I think of them… I am willing to pay my whole fortune, and then give my life, to save my country from these traitors that are seeking to destroy it.”

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Jamestown Settlement in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Experience England’s first permanent colony in North America come to life at this living history museum.

It’s a place of legend. John Smith and Pocahontas are household names, and they lived and walked near this ground. Jamestown Settlement is an attempt to reconstruct these historic places just over a mile from their actual location. (To see the archeological remains of the original site, you’ll have to visit nearby Historic Jamestowne.)

In 1607, the Virginia Company of London established a settlement in swampy tidewater along the James River. The colony quickly ran into trouble, and a majority of colonists died of sickness and starvation within the first few years. Relations with the indigenous population were troubled, and in 1622, the Powhatan Indians massacred a quarter of the colonists. More misfortune followed when Jamestown was burned during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676.

Jamestown Settlement got its start in 1957 and is run by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, it consists of the re-created James Fort and Powhatan town, replicas of the settlers’ original wooden sailing ships the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, and a large visitor center and museum. The Visitor Center was built for a cost of $7.4 million and opened in 2006.

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Neglected in Napanoch

Neglected in Napanoch
Napanoch is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York along Rondout Creek. It straddles the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. The nearby Eastern Correctional Facility is one of the only sources of employment, and there are many abandoned buildings throughout town. The Hoornbeek Store Complex, at Main and Church streets, was built in stages from 1810 to 1841. At various times it was home to a hotel, shops, and a tavern. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is currently abandoned.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, at 34A Bedford Street in Concord, Massachusetts, is the final resting place of New England literary giants and prominent transcendentalists like Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. The architecture firm of Cleveland and Copeland designed Sleepy Hollow in the rural style in 1855, with winding paths and a natural, wooded setting. Thousands make a pilgrimage here looking for inspiration, and many leave behind pencils, notes, and other tokens of appreciation.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a writer and transcendentalist philosopher known for his book Walden and essay “Civil Disobedience.” In these works, he outlined his philosophy of simple living, pacifism, and the abolition of slavery. Some have described him as an anarchist for his conclusion, “That government is best which governs not at all.”

Photo by Michael Kleen

In contrast to the transcendentalists also buried on “Author’s Ridge”, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a dark romantic writer known for The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Dark romantics believed humans are naturally prone to sin and self destruction. Hawthorne is considered one of America’s greatest novelists.

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White Lake Mansion House

White Lake Mansion House
White Lake, New York, is just a few miles from the farm where the famous Woodstock Music Festival was held in 1969. Visitors would have driven past this grand 1848 Greek Revival hotel, one of the oldest in Sullivan County. Today it sits abandoned, another landmark from a time when the Catskills served as a popular vacation spot for wealthy residents of New York City. As recently as 2015, a developer wanted to demolish the storied structure, but it remains.

Further Reading:
The Opulent White Lake Mansion House
White Lake Mansion House – My View
White Lake Mansion House Ruins