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The 1897 Poe House

11/01/2006 11:19AM ● Published by Jennifer Gonzalez

The 1897 Poe House is a typical example of a late nineteenth century middle class American home and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The land upon which it stands was once part of the U.S. Arsenal destroyed by General Sherman during his infamous march through the South at the end of the Civil War.

It was built in 1897 by Ruffin Vaughn, a noted architect at the time for Edgar Allen Poe. Not to be confused with the famous writer and poet, Mr. Poe was a prominent Fayetteville businessman. He owned a brickyard which supplied the bricks for a number of buildings in town, some of which are still standing today. And even though Mr. Poe made his living from bricks, you’ll note his home is made of wood.

The family moved into the house in 1897. One daughter, Lillie Poe, continued to live in it until 1988.

In addition to the two-story frame house, the site also includes a barn, woodhouse, smokehouse and well house. The house exhibits rare Eastlake detailing as well as an entrance bay, a wrap-around porch, exterior sawnwork, tounge-and-groove wainscoting and bulls eye molding throughout the interior.

There are some original Poe family pieces in the house like the piano in the parlor and the dining room furniture. Most of the home’s décor and fixtures are representative of the years 1897 to 1917, a period of tremendous change in America. For example, the combination gas/electric light fixtures found throughout the home. Electricity had not come to Fayetteville when the house was built so the Poe’s lit their house with gas. When electricity finally arrived a few years later, the Poe’s did not give up their gas service. In the beginning electricity was not as reliable a source of energy.

In the kitchen there is an early 1900 wood/coal burning stove. It includes a water reservoir and a warming oven.

Guided tours of the E.A. Poe House illustrate, in detail, the sweeping changes in technology, attitudes and customs ending America’s Victorian era. The Poe House is part of the Museum of the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex located on Arsenal Avenue. Hours are 10 am - 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1pm - 5 pm on Sunday. The last Poe House tour is at 4 pm each day.

From Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day, the Poe House is decked out in its holiday dress, including an old-time Victorian Christmas tree. On December 3rd, as part of the Complex’s Holiday Jubilee, visitors see cooking demonstrations in the kitchen. For more information, contact the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex at 486-1330.

Text and illustratiion were generously provided by Melody Foote, the Communication Manager for the FAyetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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