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Charlottesville, Virginia

The Raven Room

Edgar Allan Poe's old dorm is now a shrine to the author's legacy. 

Edgar Allan Poe only studied at the University of Virginia for one year in 1826, but his dorm room has been preserved by an elite group of students who still hold midnight initiations in the cramped quarters.

The ominously numbered dorm 13 West Range is now more commonly known as The Raven Room. The small room was first restored to its Poe-era condition in 1924 by an architecture professor who was a part of the exclusive Raven Society. The society was started in 1904 as a means to honor scholarly pursuits and exceptional students and faculty, and they maintain the Raven Room to this day. The furnishings in the room include a settee from one of Poe’s actual homes, a writing desk complete with black feather quill, and of course, a stuffed raven on the window sill, accompanied by a bust of Pallas. Visitors can view the room through a glass door and listen to the accompanying audio display about Poe’s life.

The Raven Society still uses The Raven Room to initiate new members in secretive midnight ceremonies, and while their pursuits are strictly academic, Poe would likely have approved of their dramatic use of his old college haunt.