About Us

Somers Historical Society, founded in 1956, is an all volunteer,  501(c)(3) educational corporation which holds an
Absolute Charter from the New York Department of Education.  Its mission is to care and advocate for local historical
resources and its world-class collections of early 19th century travelling menagerie and circus epherma and local
history, as well as to educate others about these resources and local history.

The Society offers free cultural and educational programs, as well as guided tours of the historic properties in the
Town of Somers

  • The Wright Reis Homestead
  • Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery, a National Register Site
  • Tomahawk,Chapel, a National Register Site
  • Elephant Hotel, a National Historic Landmark.

Its’ offices and archives are on the third floor of the Elephant Hotel, along with the office of Somers Town Historian,
Doris Jane Smith;, the Alice Minnerly Runyon Reference Library for early 19th century American circus, genealogy,
local history and theatre; exhibition galleries and a small shop featuring Somers-related merchandise.

The galleries and  library are open to the public on Thursdays from 2pm – 4pm, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and
during special events and holiday celebrations in the Town of Somers Business Historic Preservation District or by
appointment.  ; somershistoricalsoc@yahoo.com.

The Landmarks Committee of Somers Historical Society serves in an advisory capacity to the Town of Somers’
Planning and Architectural Review Boards on developmental issues within Somers Business Historic Preservation
District.   Likewise, with a seat on the Town’s Historic Properties Board, the Society provides input on the care and
maintenance of the Town’s historic properties..

Somers Historical Society is a member of
Circus Historical Society
Greater Hudson Heritage Network
Hudson River Valley Heritage Area
Somers Chamber of Commerce.

Corporate sponsors are Billingsley Realty and The Mexican Shack.

Supporters include the Koegel Foundation, Somers LIons Club,
Somers Newcomers and Neighbors Club,  Somers Volunteer Fire Dept.

Somers Historical Society was selected as one of five participants in a prototype digital oral history program funded
by the Institute of Museum and Library Services   –
Voices of the Hudson Valley: Bringing New Technology to Old
Stories for 21st Century Audiences.   Other participants are Hudson River Maritime Museum, New Rochelle Public
Library, Nyack Library and Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites.  

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