Edgar Allan Poe – Evermore

I was sent to cover a story  for WTOP that I was more than happy to take on, a remembrance of Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe died on October 7th, 1849, so this was the 165th anniversary of his death.

He was buried at what is now the Westminster Hall and Burial Grounds (it used to be the Westminster Presbyterian Church)

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Originally, Poe was buried at the back of the cemetery. You have walk to all the way down this path and weave through some other graves to find it.

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There is a marker in the original burial place.

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But over the years, fundraising was done for a larger memorial to him, which was placed near the front of the property, and his remains were moved to that location.

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Another really unique side story about this property, is that it has a very interesting set of catacombs.

Before the church was built, this whole area was a burial ground.  Once they decided they wanted to build a church here, they had to figure out what to do with all the graves. So, they built over them.

They put pillars in between the graves and built the church on top of those pillars, then closed that lower level in with a wall and some windows.

So, there is a dirt floor catacomb area underneath the church where I was allowed to wander alone and take a few pictures. It was quite the fantastic experience, perfect for Halloween Month!

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Back outside, more people were gathering for the Poe event.

It was about an hour long presentation and involved three actors. They began by reading a number of letters….

 

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One was written by Poe, to his mother. It was a fun, upbeat, Poe writing about being in love, among other things.  It was a very different side to Poe than most of us imagine, very enjoyable to hear. There were letters read of his mother learning of his death, the medical report that was sent to her relating to his death, the slanderous obituary that was written by one of his rivals, and letters from friends and colleagues remembering Poe as a kind and gentle, albiet a bit odd, man.

And eventually there were reading of some of Poe’s work, including this reading of Annabel Lee, which was beautifully done, and you can see, he became quite emotional reading it.

The evening was a fitting tribute to the literary giant and a nice way to remember him, evermore…