At Levow Law, we have a few literary buffs among our Camden DWI lawyers. The South Jersey and Philadelphia regions are rich with literary history, and in our opinion, the Walt Whitman house is the crown jewel of this scene. With a bridge connecting Philadelphia and South Jersey named after him, Whitman spent the last 8 years of his life in this Camden rowhome - the only house he ever owned. 125 years after his death, students throughout the area's numerous colleges and universities still study his groundbreaking works of poetry, essays, and journalism. We decided to take a trip here on a recent weekend day off to learn more about one of the founding fathers of free verse poetry.
Unlike most other museums, the hours at the Walt Whitman House are pretty irregular. We advise calling ahead to make an appointment with a tour guide, rather than just dropping in unannounced. Our tour guide was waiting for us when we got there, extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and helped us learn a great deal about one of the greatest American writers during our hour-long guided tour.
You don't feel like you're at a museum when you visit the Walt Whitman House - you feel like you've stepped back into time and are witnessing the writer's true way of life. Curators have used old photographs of the home from when Whitman was still alive to recreate the same aesthetic - including realistic and authentic-looking wallpaper, fixtures, and furniture. The home is also filled with several original items, including paintings, some of the furniture, a pair of his boots, and bathtubs. Curators have also made copies of Whitman's archived papers and scattered them throughout the room, so you can pick up a copy and channel the expert wordsmith as you read his words in the place they were originally written.
If you still haven't had your fill of literary history at the Whitman House, take a quick drive to the nearby Harleigh Cemetary and check out Whitman's Tomb. Harleigh Cemetary is generally a beautiful and historic cemetery, and the tomb is a popular second attraction for literary buffs who have made the Whitman pilgrimage. The cemetery is in a classic Victorian style, and Whitman's vault is the crown jewel, set among several old and gnarly trees. It makes a perfect spot to sit, relax, and read or write poetry when the weather is nice. You'll likely run into at least one other Whitman fan during your visit, which is always interesting.