|Location||335 Route 202, Somers, NY|
|Area||1.67 acres (0.68 ha)|
|Part of||Somers Hamlet Historic District (ID04000349)|
|NRHP reference No.||74001323 and 05000462|
|Added to NRHP||August 7, 1974|
|Designated NHL||April 5, 2005|
The Elephant Hotel is a 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. It is also a contributing property in the NRHP-listed Somers Hamlet Historic District. It is located at 335 US 202, across from the northern end of NY 100.
Hachaliah Bailey (known as the creator of Bailey Circus) 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. Old Bet was killed on tour in 1816, when she was shot by a local farmer. Bailey's tours were the first of their type in the nation, and 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".
Bailey had purchased this land in 1805, and began construction of the hotel in 1821, as a memorial to the animals he displayed. It is said[who?] Old Bet was buried in front of the building.[which?] The monument to Old Bet that stands in front of the hotel was placed in 1827. In 1835, the hotel was incorporated by the Zoological Institute.
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.
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.
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