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Somers 189 Years Later: The Elephant Endures

SOMERS, N. Y. January 1927 - A special election, the first in 10 years, gave citizens the opportunity to vote on whether or not the town should issue $20,000 in bonds to purchase The Elephant Hotel. The New York Times reported that the proposition passed, 82 in favor, 43 opposed.

For some time, town officials had been convening in an old structure in Lincolndale. When the hotel came on the market, it seemed to be a good building in a good spot at good value. 

The century-old three-story structure was erected in 1822 by Zachariah Bailey. He named it after the elephant kept in the barn adjoining the property. The animal was said to be the first ever brought to America and it hung out in Somers until P. T. Barnum took it on the road.

During coaching days, The Elephant Hotel provided a genial setting for local society and a popular overnight stop for travelers.

The Times noted, “The monument erected in front by its builder to commemorate the arrival of the first elephant in America will also be preserved. It is a 30-foot shaft with a metal elephant on top.”

As Town Historian Doris Jane Smith recently commented in The Daily Somers, “Other towns have a statue of a war hero -- we have an elephant.” 

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