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Real estate and love. What can go wrong?

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Real estate and love. What can go wrong?

All homes contain love stories (some with extra-marital sensual stories, too, but we won’t get into that; it’s nearly Valentine’s Day!). And, lucky, some love stories have stood the test of time, thanks to careful preservation by the biggest romantics of us all: writers/ poets. (Not real estate blog writers, well some.)

If you fancy a tale of unrequited love, here’s your House Lust:

Reynolds House, 88 Benefit St., Providence

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They didn’t get their happily ever after, but it’s probably better that way. When  author Edgar Allen Poe visited Providence for a lecture in July of 1845, he passed by this Benefit Street home of poet and widow Sarah Helen Whitman, who was outside tending to her roses. Poe’s friend offered to introduce him, but Poe declined. 

The pair, both intellectuals with common interests, secretly admired one another for years and in 1848, Whitman wrote a poem about Poe for a friend’s Valentine’s Day party. Poe then wrote Whitman twice — with an old poem titled “To Helen” then, after she didn’t respond, a new one of the same name — and their courtship began.

Poe was a notorious drinker and philanderer, and Whitman’s family did not approve of the match. So they met in public places, and eventually they were formally engaged in December of 1848 — as long as Poe could stay sober and stay away from cheating, (so the pressure was on. Unfortunately, he relapsed within days of proposing, so Whitman broke off the engagement.

Poe died ten months later, while Whitman continued to write poetry and defended Poe’s legacy until her death at age seventy-five. The home is now owned by the Rhode Island Diocese.

Source: Rhode Island Monthly


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