Edgar Allan Poe's Time In Charleston | South Carolina Focus


Whether you're walking down Raven Avenue or biting into a Gold Bug Burger at Poe's Tavern, you are certain to find plenty of Edgar Allan Poe treasure on Sullivan's Island.  The elusive 19th Century writer has direct ties to the island.  But they weren't discovered until decades after his death, even though there are clues in his writings. "In his own time, Poe essentially covered up the fact that he had been an enlisted man in the Army," said College of Charleston American literature professor Scott 

Poe wasn't a writer who was easily pinned down.  The author of both poems and prose could comfortably slip into the mind of a conniving killer as in his short story "A Tell Tale Heart".  He's considered the father of the modern day mystery.  Yet, he also wrote "The Angel of the Odd," a comedy about being drunk.  Poe was even a literary critic, as well as a writer and editor in the era of emerging magazines.

While he may have shunned Sullivan's Island as part of his personal history, it stayed with him as a setting for stories.  Peeples says he used the Island as the landing point for a balloon that had supposedly crossed the Atlantic in an 1844 article for the New York Sun.  The story was fake.  But the place was very real and had already been a launching point for a tale a year earlier.

"I like to think of him walking the streets of Charleston as I walk them and it pleases me to think the city watched him, felt the shimmer of his madness and genius in his slouching promenades along Meeting Street."