In the latest literary casualty to the ongoing economic crisis, the Poe house has been denied City of Baltimore funding for the second year in a row. Currently operating on reserve funds, the house is likely to close in 2012 when it runs out of money. To be fair, the Poe house is struggling anyway: it's located in the midst of a housing project and has trouble luring tourists away from Baltimore's other tourist sites, which are concentrated closer to Baltimore's core. But it does raise an important question about the value of literary monuments in a time of economic belt-tightening. What do you think? Should Baltimore continue siphoning $85,000 of its annual budget to keep the house operating? Or is the money better spent elsewhere?
The house, at 203 North Amity Street, is protected by Baltimore as a designated landmark. As such, it's not in any danger of deconstruction. The museum, however, may be forced to close in the near future unless a benefactor steps to the plate, or the City of Baltimore has a change of heart.
While the fate of the Poe house is up in the air, it's important to stay vigilant for similar situations around the country. The Poe house is unlikely to be the last literary closure as government funds dry up everywhere.