Elephant Hotel

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Elephant Hotel
Elephant Hotel 2007.jpg
Elephant Hotel in 2007
Location 335 Route 202, Somers, NY
Nearest city Peekskill
Coordinates 41°19′41″N 73°41′8″W / 41.32806°N 73.68556°W / 41.32806; -73.68556Coordinates: 41°19′41″N 73°41′8″W / 41.32806°N 73.68556°W / 41.32806; -73.68556
Area 1.67 acres (0.68 ha)[2]
Built 1820-1825
Architect Hachaliah Bailey
Part of Somers Hamlet Historic District (#04000349)
NRHP reference # 74001323 and 05000462[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 7, 1974[1]
Designated NHL April 5, 2005[3]

The Elephant Hotel is an historic former hotel which today serves as the town hall in Somers, in Westchester County, New York, United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on August 7, 1974 as Somers Town House and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005 as Elephant Hotel.[1] It is also a contributing property in the NRHP-listed Somers Hamlet Historic District.


The Elephant Hotel photographed for the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s.

Hachaliah Bailey (known as the creator of Bailey Circus)[citation needed] built the Elephant Hotel in Somers, NY, after buying an African Elephant, which he named "Old Bet". Bailey intended to use the elephant for farm work, but the number of people it attracted caused Bailey to tour her throughout the northeast. Bailey's success inspired numerous others to tour with exotic animals, and during the 1830s the old style circus and Bailey's attractions merged to form the modern circus. Due to this, Somers is known as the "Cradle of the American Circus".[citation needed]

Old Bet was killed on tour in 1827, when she was shot by a local farmer.[citation needed] Bailey later erected the Elephant Hotel in Somers, in honor of Old Bet[citation needed]. It is said[who?] Old Bet was buried in front of the building.[which?]

In 1835, the hotel was incorporated by the Zoological Institute.[4]

The Elephant Hotel was purchased by the town of Somers in 1927. It is a town landmark and was dedicated a National Historic Landmark in 2005.[2][3]

The Elephant Hotel is currently the Somers Town Hall. It is located at 335 US 202, across from the northern end of NY 100.

The NRHP listing is described in its NRHP nomination document.[5]

Museum of the Early American Circus[edit]

The Somers Historical Society occupies the third floor of the building. The Society operates the Museum of the Early American Circus, which is open on Thursday afternoons and for special holidays.

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Neil Larsen (2005). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Elephant Hotel" (pdf). National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b "Elephant Hotel". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  4. ^ a b History of the Elephant Hotel, Somershitoricalsoc.org
  5. ^ Lynn Beebe Weaver (December 1973). "NRHP Inventory-Nomination: Somers Town House / Elephant Hotel". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  and Accompanying photo, exterior

External links[edit]