The Poe Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia, interprets the life and influence of Edgar Allan Poe for the education and enjoyment of a global audience.
When Poe was a child, this block was a garden belonging to Charles Ellis, the business partner of Poe’s foster father, John Allan. It was once known for its linden trees, hence the name Linden Row. When Poe was 11, he lived for a year with the Allans in Mr. Ellis’s house across Franklin Street from the garden, where the public library now stands.
Poe played in this garden as a child and developed a love of landscape gardens. He even wrote a story called “The Landscape Garden.” As a teen, Poe and his first fiancée, Elmira Royster, secretly met in this garden to avoid her disapproving father. Since a row of houses was built on the lot during the 1840s and 50s, only a small part of the Ellis garden remains. The row houses have since been converted into the Linden Row Inn, so guests can stay in rooms overlooking the garden that served as a source of inspiration for Poe.
As mentioned above, Poe wrote a short story called "The Landscape Garden". Published in 1850, it was no doubt influenced by his stay at the Ellis'. The protagonist is a young man named Ellison. In addition to the name similarity, the story tells of great material fortune, and both the Ellis family and the Allans were wealthy. Poe was known to have many a row with his foster father regarding money, and spent most of his adult life surviving on meager means. Poe shares his love and appreciation of the planned landscape, and the story reveals what Poe loved so much about the land where the Inn now stands.
The area was known for its Linden trees and was doubtless one of the main reasons Poe developed such a love of the landscape. Linden trees produce fragrant flowers and grow in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. They are deciduous, contributing to the colorful fall landscape and have vibrant green leaves during the warm season.
Cover Credit: U.S. Library of Congress via Wikimedia