Poe Park/Curtis Bay Park
Poe Park/Curtis Bay Park – 1630 Filbert Street (Curtis Bay)
By Dorothy Stachowiak (spring 2014)
Poe Park (also known as Curtis Bay Park) boasts jungle gyms and plenty of open-area space for picnicking, roaming, and pickup games. In the twenty-first century a skate park was added through the efforts of the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay Coalition.
Poe Park has been located at 1630 Filbert Street between Curtis and Pennington Avenue since the late 1920s, when it was known as Curtis Bay Playground. It is conveniently two blocks down from the Filbert Street Community Garden and numerous local schools. The park is also home to the Curtis Bay Recreation Center, where the Community of Curtis Bay Association (CCBA), the Curtis Bay Seniors, and numerous other local groups hold community meetings.
The origin of Poe Park’s moniker is something of a mystery. Based on the Baltimore location, one could easily be forgiven for assuming that it was named for poet Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), the city’s favorite deceased author of acclaim. Perhaps some might expect some connection to local early twentieth century philanthropist Philip Livingston Poe, one of the contributors to the creation of Gwynns Falls-Leakin Park. In this case it seems most likely that the truth lies closer to home—and to the local community. Poe Park may take its name from a local civic leader, Benjamin Franklin Poe.
This Poe, who in a 1978 Evening Sun article was called the unofficial “mayor of Curtis Bay,” was a lifelong area resident with deep ties to the people of the community. The founder in 1964 of the Curtis Bay Improvement Association, Poe remained an active CBIA member throughout the latter half of the twentieth century up until his death in 1984 at age 82.
For nearly a century, Poe/Curtis Bay Park has brought community members together for community festivals, outdoor movie screenings, and a host of other recreational activities.