We previously covered Pearl Street, where George Washington gave his farewell address in 1783, in our roundup of Presidential Haunts in New York City. But did you know Fraunces Tavern is also home to one of George Washington’s teeth and a lock of his hair? Washington had one tooth left when he was sworn in as the first President of the United States, and this solitary tooth was holding together a set of dentures made of cow’s tooth, gold, Washington’s teeth and ivory of a hippopotamus. (Contrary to a popular misconception that he had wooden dentures).
The first floor of Fraunces Tavern remains a tavern and restaurant, and the second floor is a museum full of Revolutionary War relics including a lock of George Washington’s hair and a piece of his coffin! The building also served as an office for the ministers of war, finance and foreign affairs when New York became the capital of the new United States. While the tavern is often claimed as the oldest building in Manhattan, it is unclear if any of the building is actually original. Incredibly, in 1907, the owners wanted to destroy the place and build a parking lot instead.
For another quirky story on famous people’s body parts, check out where Napoleon’s penis is now (you’d be surprised!).
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. Have a quirky find you want us to get to the bottom of in the Daily What?!? Contact us at [email protected] or submit to us on Twitter with the hashtag #DailyWhat.
Michelle is the founder of Untapped New York. She is the author of Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants, and Broadway. She is a graduate of Harvard College in the History of Art and Architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture.