O. Henry’s final home was at the Caledonia at 28 West Twenty-sixth Street in New York City.
Nestled away on 18th St. near Gramercy Park, just a couple blocks from the bustling Union Square holiday markets, Pete’s Tavern welcomes tipplers with an awning reading “The Tavern O. Henry Made Famous.” The writer lived across the street at 55 Irving Place in a first floor apartment featuring three large windows where he could look out at his second home across the street, which was then named Healy’s Cafe. (First opened in 1864, the bar would be renamed Pete’s in 1922 after Peter Belles purchased the establishment, which today claims itself as the longest continuous tavern in New York City. During Prohibition, the flower shop in front led to the booze in the back, likely protected from police raids by its nearby proximity to Tammany Hall.)
The hard-drinking Henry became a regular at Healy’s and was said to consider it an extension of his office at the New York World, who hired him for $100 a week for a single story. Now called Pete’s Tavern, it is probably most famous for its significance in literary history, though. Not only did legendary author O. Henry set his short story “The Lost Blend” at the bar, which he called “Kenealy’s” in the tale, but in 1904 he wrote the “The Gift of the Magi” while sitting in one of the eatery’s booths. That very booth is still in existence to this day and even boasts a plaque commemorating the occasion.
Final Resting Place:
53 Birch Street
Ashville, North Carolina, 28801
Grave Location:Section B, Plot 5, Grave 2
Grave Location Description
As you enter the cemetery keep to the right and make your way to the office which will be on your right. Section A is directly across from the office so continue straight to Section B. Drive around the perimeter of Section B until you see the stone staircase and the sign that points the way to the grave of William “O. Henry” Porter. It’s just a couple spaces to the right of the staircase and 30 feet off the narrow road.
Grave Location GPS35.6006300, -82.5700200
Read More About O. Henry:
- Wikipedia Entry
- American Literature - O. Henry
- O. Henry - North Carolina History Project
- An Afternoon With O. Henry's Widow
- O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas
- 10 of the Best O. Henry Short Stories Everyone Should Read
- I AM NOT A STALKER features Pete's Tavern - O. Henry watering hole
- Humanities Texas - William Sydney Porter (O. Henry)
- Pete's Tavern in New York City
- The Urban Lens: Visiting Gramercy’s Pete’s Tavern, where O. Henry penned ‘The Gift of the Magi’