Poe's Baltimore: Poe-Era Sites
Ryan’s 4th Ward Polls
In Gunners Hall, located on the north side of Lombard St. between High St. and Exeter St.


The last days of Poe's life remain a mystery. What we know picks up at Cornelius Ryan's 4th Ward Polls on October 3, 1849. Around this time in Baltimore, voting could take place in a variety of places, including bars. October 3rd happened to be Election Day in Baltimore, so we assume the bar/voting poll inside a building called Gunner's Hall was a busy place.

A man named Joseph Walker found Poe lying on the street outside the polls. Even though he was in bad shape, Poe was coherent enough to tell him whom to contact. We know this because Walker wrote this hasty note to Dr. Joseph Evans Snodgrass, a friend of the poet:

Dear Sir, – There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance, Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker

Dr. Snodgrass and Poe's uncle, Henry Herring came to Gunner's Hall. They found Poe wearing shabby clothes and presumed he was drunk. The men arranged for a carriage to take Poe to Washington College Hospital, a few blocks to the east.

Unfortunately, that's about all historians and biographers know. How did Poe end up outside 4th Ward Polls? He had left from Richmond several days earlier, which means he could have been in Baltimore for days before he mysteriously showed up on the ground. To explore this mystery further, be sure to check out It'll be the death of me when you're finished exploring the map.

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