Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was too valuable to lose. The historic Edgar Allan Poe House was in danger of closing for good.
But as Gigi Barnett reports, the landmark has a revival plan in the works and it comes on the anniversary of the writer’s death.
Edgar Allan Poe was a master of the macabre and his work is undeniably linked to Baltimore. The city’s football team is named after his famous poem “The Raven.” Last year, Hollywood turned the title into a movie, setting Baltimore at the center of a dark detective story. So when the financial future of Poe’s historic house on Amity became a mystery, city leaders and supporters scrambled to save it.
“He lived there, he wrote there and it is a destination for many tourists who come to Baltimore,” said Dave Shackelford, B&O Museum chief curator.
Now, one of the city’s most successful museums is stepping up to spearhead the restoration of the house. The B&O Railroad Museum has a $180,000, one-year contract with Baltimore to turn the ailing museum around.
“We’ve got the track record,” Shackelford said.
Shackelford is the B&O’s chief curator. He says his team will restore some of the home’s exhibits and create a long-term business plan to make the Poe Museum sustainable.
“We’re jazzed about it because Poe has such a legacy for Baltimore. I mean, you can’t drive into this town without passing Raven Stadium and to have that connection with Poe–such a literary giant and his connections to Baltimore–it’s really cool,” Shackelford said.
Ultimately, the plan is to make the Poe House a destination for horror enthusiasts by pumping up to $300,000 a year into it. The city has previously contributed $85,000.
Part of the plan includes forming a nonprofit board that would oversee fundraising for the museum. Meanwhile, Sunday marks the 163rd anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s death.