History buffs have a lot to love in New Jersey. One of the thirteen original colonies, the state’s reputation as the “Crossroads of the American Revolution” is founded on battlefields, historical houses, and other sites that preserve and recreate our nation’s past.
But it’s also home to some slightly weirder historical preservations. If you’ve seen the battlefields and can’t stand the thought of one more day at a museum, try checking out these offbeat historical finds:
1. Alexander Hamilton’s Death Rock
Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father whose face graces the $10 bill, is buried in Trinity Churchyard on Broadway in Manhattan. But the rock onto which he collapsed after being mortally wounded in his famous duel with Aaron Burr is still located in Weehawken, New Jersey. Currently, it sits at the end of Hamilton Avenue, after train tracks were run through the original dueling grounds in 1870.
2. Grover Cleveland’s Wedding Cake
Grover Cleveland is the only U.S. president ever to have served two non-consecutive terms in office (he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison in 1888 but returned in 1892). Visitors to his birthplace can see all the usual things preserved in past President’s childhood homes, like his cradle and his marriage certificate. But they can also see something a little weirder: a preserved piece of the 22nd and 24th President’s wedding cake. According to curators at the birthplace, the cake has survived because it’s a fruitcake – so packed with sugar that its other ingredients have, so far, been protected from the ravages of time.
3. Adolf Hitler’s Toilet
Hitler memorabilia isn’t exactly popular, and for good reason. But New Jersey visitors who are intrigued by the Second World War might want to take a pit stop at Greg Kohfeldt’s auto repair shop in Florence, where the toilet from Hitler’s yacht, the Aviso Grille, has been in service since 1952.
4. Frank Sinatra’s Towel (Used)
The White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City has walls full of memorabilia, including framed photos of celebrities who have stopped by and headlines from major news events. But one of the weirder historical pieces on display is a towel. But not just any towel: this towel is claimed to have been once used by Frank Sinatra during his Rat Pack Days. Bonus: it’s pink.