Many cities claim a connection to the roving poet, Edgar Allan Poe, but it is in Baltimore that the iconic horror writer met his mysterious end. Legend holds that Poe disappeared for five days in 1849 while traveling from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. He was found unconscious outside of what is now The Horse You Came In On Saloon in Fells Point, Baltimore. The writer was sent to Washington College Hospital where he passed away of unknown causes. Before his death, Poe had deep connections to Baltimore. His great-grandfather and father lived in the city. He met his wife and published his second volume of poetry there, and it was Baltimore’s Sunday Visiter that launched his literary career when he won its short story contest. Baltimore has embraced the literary legend as their own, memorializing his grandfather’s house as a National Historic Landmark and keeping a lock of his hair at the Enoch Free Library. His gravesite is a regular stop on literary and ghost tours and even has its own legend (the Poe Toaster leaves three roses and a bottle of Cognac before dawn on the poet’s birthday). Perhaps most recognizably, Baltimore’s NFL team, The Ravens, takes its name from Poe’s most famous poem.
In 1907, the Women’s Literary Club established the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Association, which later commissioned renowned American sculptor, Moses Jacob Ezekiel, to create a monument honoring the poet. A series of mishaps delayed the statue’s arrival in Baltimore. The first model was completed in 1913, but a fire destroyed it when it was en route. The second model was completed in 1915, but an earthquake ruined the sculpture. Ezekiel completed the final model in 1916, but delivery was delayed by World War I, and the piece wouldn’t arrive in America for another five years. The statue finally arrived in Baltimore’s Wyman Park in 1921. Some typos were found on the base of the memorial that incensed Poe fanatic, Edmond Fontaine, to chisel away at the incorrect type in 1930, ending in his arrest for vigilantism. In 1983, the monument was moved to the University of Baltimore where it still stands today. Students embrace the statue as a sort of school mascot. On occasion, a flower may be found in the statue’s lapel and a few rare sightings report seeing the statue holding a helium balloon.
The Poe Statue is located in front of the Law School at The University of Baltimore. Take I-83 (Jones Fall Expressway) to exit 5. Turn left at the first traffic light and continue south on Maryland Avenue for one block. The Law Plaza and statue are visible on the left. Turn right on Mount Royal at the traffic signal to pass in front of the statue. There is metered, on-street parking on Maryland Avenue.