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Poe-inspired gravestone.

Poe-Inspired Tombstone

Field review by the editors.

Trenton, New Jersey

Dr. Truman F. Betts was only 28 years old when he killed himself in 1872 -- possibly because he was deathly ill, or possibly because a woman had spurned his offer of marriage. Whether by his own wishes or the wishes of those who survived him, his tombstone is a tribute to the Edgar Allan Poe poem, "The Raven." It's in the shape of a door, with the word "Lenore" carved into its nameplate and "Nevermore" in the upper door frame. Originally it had a marble doorknob and a raven sitting on a sculpted bust of Pallas, but these details have been lost over time. The inscriptions themselves are now only barely visible.

As to why the tombstone was made, the most popular theory is that Betts knew that Poe had visited graveyards for their atmosphere, so he hoped that his macabre literary tribute would inspire future generations of poets.

Despite the obvious interactive appeal of such a tombstone, it doesn't appear as if many Poe-minded visitors have rapped upon this chamber door.

Poe-Inspired Tombstone

Riverview Cemetery

Centre St., Trenton, NJ
Riverview Cemetery. From downtown, drive west on Hwy 650/Lalor St. After you cross the train tracks and Hwy 129, makes the second left onto Centre St. Drive until the street ends at the cemetery. Continue into the cemetery. The road divides; bear left, then make the first right. You'll see the towering tombstone of General George McClellan on the left; the Poe grave is next to it.
Gates open M-F 8-4:30 Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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