The Poe Museum began over a century ago when an Edgar Allan Poe collector and researcher named James Howard Whitty and a group of literary enthusiasts met in Poe’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia to create the state’s first monument to a writer.
Established in 1906 as the Poe Memorial Association, this organization failed to generate enough public support for the monument. Ten years later the members regrouped to save the Southern Literary Messenger building and create the National Poe Museum inside. The building was the birthplace of Poe’s career in journalism. The city’s building inspector decided to have the building demolished as part of a plan to widen Fifteenth Street (the city eventually widened Fourteenth Street instead.) Undeterred, Whitty salvaged the building materials to use elsewhere. He met historic preservationists Archer and Annie Jones who were renting Richmond’s famous Old Stone House. Mrs. Jones decided the empty lot behind the house would be a fitting location for a Poe memorial garden, and Whitty allowed her to use the bricks and granite from the Southern Literary Messenger building to pave the garden paths and to build a shrine to Poe.
Illuminating Poe for everyone, evermore.