Street Smarts: Teller of creepy tales the inspiration for Tucson street name

2013-09-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T15:33:58Z Street Smarts: Teller of creepy tales the inspiration for Tucson street nameBy David Leighton For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A midtown street gets its name from a writer of scary stories who had no apparent ties to Tucson.

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston. His father, David Poe, and mother, Elizabeth Poe, were stage actors. After the death of his parents, Edgar was adopted by John Allan, a tobacco merchant, and his wife. The couple had no other children.

In 1820, the family traveled to Richmond, Va. Poe graduated from the University of Virginia in 1826.

In 1829, Poe published a book of poetry titled “Al Aaraaf, Tamberline and Minor Poems.” He later attended West Point, but he neglected his studies and was expelled.

Left to survive on his own, he devoted himself to the written word as a profession. In 1833, he won a contest for best story and finest poem put on by a Baltimore magazine. As a result, he became friends with John P. Kennedy, one of the committee members, who got Poe a job with the Southern Literary Messenger.

In 1835, Poe wed his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who was 14. She died after a long decline in 1847.

After moving to New York in 1837, Poe wrote for the New York Quarterly Review and other periodicals. In 1838 the Review published a collection of his best stories, titled “Tales of the Arabesque and Grotesque.”

Seven years later, Poe’s most famous literary work, “The Raven,” told the story of a lover’s slow and painful drift into insanity. The poem inspired the name of the Baltimore Ravens football team and also their mascot, Poe.

On Oct. 4, 1849, he disembarked a train at Baltimore; some hours later he was found unconscious in the streets. He was taken to a hospital, where he died on Oct. 7.

Poe was honored with a street name when John and Margaret Roberts subdivided a portion of their land in the 1920s, and named the streets after their favorite poets and authors. It is in the Poets Square neighborhood.


Special thanks to Chris Starks of Pac-Promotions, 4500 E. Speedway, Suite 60.

William H. De Puy (editor), “The Peoples Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge,” Eaton & Mains Publishing, 1900

Hugh Chisholm (editor), “The Encyclopedia Britannica,” The Encyclopedia Britannica Co., 1911

Web page on The Raven:

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