Somers in Westchester County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
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Of Historic Places
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Has been designated a
National Historic Landmark
This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.
Built 1825 by entrepreneur Hachaliah Bailey, owner of the elephant, "Old Bet". This site was the symbolic center for the emerging traveling menagerie and circus industry. The building also served as an important stagecoach hostelry, banking and social center.
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
Location. 41° 19.698′ N, 73° 41.144′ W. Marker is in Somers, New York, in Westchester County. Marker is at the intersection of Somerstown Turnpike (U.S. 202) and Somers Road, on the right when traveling west on Somerstown Turnpike. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Somers NY 10589, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow Somers World War I Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Somers Veterans Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Somers Soldiers Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); North Salem World War II Memorial (approx. 1˝ miles away); Reis Park (approx. 2.3 miles away); Mt. Zion Church (approx. 2.4 miles away); Thompson House (approx. 3.7 miles away); Knickerbocker Ice (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Somers.
Regarding Elephant Hotel. Around 1805 Hachaliah Bailey, a Somers farmer and cattle merchant, acquired an Indian elephant, which he began exhibiting locally, then further afield. Hachaliah’s success in showing “Old Bet”, as she was known, attracted numerous partners and competitors from local families, who joined in the business of importing and exhibiting exotic animals. The resulting thriving menagerie business paralleled the development of the small performing circus troupes, which were first seen in Philadelphia in 1793. By 1828 these two forms of popular entertainment merged to form the basis of the modern American Circus. The majority of early 19th century circus and menagerie proprietors came from Somers and neighboring towns in northern Westchester and Putnam counties. This resulted in Somers’ claim as “Cradle of the American Circus”.
The Elephant Hotel was purchased by the Town of Somers in 1927 and presently houses the Town Offices and the Somers Historical Society and museum. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005.
Also see . . .
1. Welcome to Somers, NY. (Submitted on October 29, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. Somers, New York on Wikipedia. (Submitted on October 29, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Categories. • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 29, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 475 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 29, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.