From Poe House to Poor House?

Baltimore's Poe House.

Facing a huge budget deficit the city of Baltimore is cutting many expenses. One of the things to go is funding for the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. Poe House had been funded at $80,000 a year, which included the curator’s salary. The museum is open three days a week and gets over 3,000 visitors a year.

Four bidders responded to the city’s request last fall for a plan to make the museum self-sustaining. The goal is to hire the winning bidder to implement its plan so the city can turn the Poe House over to new operators before funding runs out in June 2012. Unless the museum house becomes self-sustaining by then it will close say city officials.

Poe is one of Baltimore’s cultural icons – he lived and wrote there for three years, died there, his grave is there – and even the name of the local pro football team, the Ravens, was inspired by one of his poems.  

In Philadelphia, which also has historic claims on the writer, another house where Poe lived is managed by the National Park Service. I wonder what is keeping Baltimore from making the same arrangement?

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Poe House in Philadelphia.

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