7. The Poe House Portrait

Edgar-Allen-Poe-Philadelphia-Untapped-Cities-Alexandra-Harbet

Nestled above the entrance to the cellar is a painting by Richard Hood that represents what the house may have looked like in its former glory. At the time, the house was located in a suburban neighborhood called The Spring Garden District which didn’t merge with Philadelphia until 1854. When the three-story roadhouse was built in 1840, the builder had high hopes that the new builders in the area would match the design. At first, the neighborhood fit into the builder’s tract housing aesthetic but once homeowners began putting additions on their houses, the neighborhood lost its cookie cutter look.

Poe’s Spring Garden District was a middle-class suburban neighborhood that was home to two other editors. Houses in the area were equipped with gas, and neighborhood amenities included a railway station, paved streets, running water, and a town watch. Architectural historians removed portions of plaster, mantlepieces, and wallpaper in various places of Poe’s former home to determine what the house looked like when Poe resided there. Rangers will pull out the 1849 maps of the area for interested guests.

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