As I am a lover of poetry and have learned about the dark poet Edgar Allan Poe, a true story sparked my interest in Poe’s grave site. I don’t recall exactly where I first heard about it, but I learned that starting in 1949, an unknown person who was later referred to as the “Poe Toaster” would show up at Poe’s grave every January 19th (his birthday) leaving three roses and a bottle of cognac. The roses were said to represent Poe, his wife, and his mother-in-law who were all buried together. This mysterious ‘toaster’ went on with the tradition until 1993 when two younger versions, said to most likely be children of the original toaster, took over the tradition.
The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore explained that there were two notes left for Jeff Jerome, a keeper at the Baltimore Poe House and Museum. One note was left in 1993 stating, “the torch will be passed,” and the second note left in 1999 stated that the original ‘toaster’ had died (“Edgar Allan Poe Society Of Baltimore – Baltimore – Poe’s Memorial Grave”). The younger ‘toasters’ continued the tradition up to the two-hundredth anniversary of Poe’s birth. Ever since, there have only been various ‘toasters’ trying to continue the tradition.
I enjoy Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry, and this story of toasting him has inspired me to put Baltimore on my travel bucket list. When I go, I will be sure to be there on January 19th.