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Bronx Back in Time: A Field Trip to Poe Cottage

Katie Rainey

Katie Rainey, STAFF

On November 17th, 2017, the 5th grade class of PS 279 Captain Manuel Rivera, Jr. could be found poking about a Bronx landmark: Edgar Allan Poe's Cottage

Teaching Artists T. Scott Lilly and Katie Rainey began their residency with the students by visiting the site. Accompanied by the wonderful 5th classroom teachers as well as a few parents and para-professional teachers, the students learned about Poe's time in New York City, living in the remote (at the time) Bronx area with his wife - Virginia - who passed away too early. 

Edgar Allan Poe spent the last years of his life, from 1846 to 1849, in the Bronx at Poe Cottage, now located at Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse. A small wooden farmhouse built about 1812, the cottage once commanded unobstructed vistas over the rolling Bronx hills to the shores of Long Island. It was a bucolic setting in which the great writer penned many of his most enduring poetical works, including “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells” and “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Administered by The Bronx County Historical Society since 1975, the cottage is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is located in Poe Park in Fordham.

The students marveled at the fact that this area of the Bronx was once covered with acres of forest and wildlife, and that Poe and Virigina lived in relative isolation. They asked numerous questions about Poe's life, work, his famous "Raven," his mysterious death, and more. And the Bronx County Historical Society was all too eager to tell them!

On Monday, November 20th, the students began their residency with Scott and Katie, who gave them an introduction to Poe's work through a dramatic reading of "The Raven". The students were each given their very own journal that they will write in for the next fifteen weeks, creating epic poems in the style of Poe and gothic short stories in the style of numerous writers, including R. L. Stine, Poppy Z. Brite, and more. 

We can't wait to see what gothic, Poe-inspired works these students create!

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