White Plains Rural Cemetery Office, White Plains

Photograph by Gray Williams

Historic Properties Listing

PropertyGerald Crane House
MunicipalitySomers
Community
Street Number
Street AddressU.S. Route 202/NY Route 100 @ Old Croton Falls Road

Historic District Name
Local Landmark Status?Yes  01/05/88
Local Landmark District Status?   
National Register District Status?   
County Register Status?   
National Register Status? Yes  09/05/85
National Historic Landmark Status?   
National Historic Landmark District Status?   
State Register Status? Yes  07/18/85
Eligible for National Register?

OwnerRobert P. and Christine Beshar
Institutional Owner
Tax Map Available?
Tax Map Image Available?
Tax Section       Tax Block       Tax Lot

Architect
BuilderJ.W. Dickenson (Carpenter), W.R. Waters (Mason)
Building TypeSingle Family Dwelling
Building Type, Details
Architectural StyleGreek Revival
Architectural Style, Details
Current UseSingle Family Dwelling
Current Use, Details
Original UseSingle Family Dwelling
Original Use, Details
Structural ConditionExcellent
NeighborhoodResidential
Threats to Building
Site IntegrityOriginal Site
Date Moved
Year Built1849
Structural SystemMasonry Load-Bearing
Structural System, Details
Photograph Available?Yes
AlterationsA modern kitchen was installed in the former music room in the 1980s.
Date of Alterations1980s

SignificanceThe Gerard Crane House is architecturally significant as an outstanding and unusually sophisticated example of Greek Revival style architecture in the hamlet of Somers. Built in 1849, the imposing dwelling is unusual for its stone construction with its elaborate interior details including English Renaissance plasterwork and European marble mantelpieces. The structure is historically significant for its association with Gerard Crane, a prominent Somers citizen and a member of a group of area men who formed lucrative circus and menagerie businesses. Somers was a center of the circus industry throughout the nineteenth century. Substantial in dimension and sophisticated in design, the Gerard Crane House architecturally testifies to the economic vitality of nineteenth century Somers and the wealth and taste of its building, Gerard Crane. With its five intact outbuildings and 30-acre well-landscaped site, the Gerard Crane House retains its rural character and mid-nineteenth century ambience as a "gentleman’s estate."
DescriptionThe Gerard Crane House is located on the west side of U.S. Route 202 (New York State Route 100) on the outskirts of the hamlet of Somers. The thirty-acre nominated property is bounded by stonewalls on all sides and contains eleven contributing features. The front of the dwelling is distinguished by a wrought-iron paling fence with granite pillars. Built in 1849, the house is a two-and-one-half story, rectangular stone Greek Revival style dwelling with a shallow hip roof. An unusually vibrant variety of local marbleized granite was used as a material for the walls, quarried and executed in masonry of exceptional craftsmanship. The residence has a raised basement. The five-bay symmetrical façade is composed of smooth-faced random ashlar with quoins. The body of the house features six-over-six double-hung sash windows with louvered shutters. The interior of the dwelling features a central hall plan. The rooms, which feature high ceilings, as distinguished by exceptionally ornate classically inspired plaster moldings. For more details on the Gerard Crane House refer to the files maintained by the Westchester County Historical Society.


PropertyMount Zion Church and Cemetery
MunicipalitySomers
Community
Street Number
Street AddressPrimrose Street (Route 139)

Historic District Name
Local Landmark Status?Yes  08/02/88
Local Landmark District Status?   
National Register District Status?   
County Register Status?   
National Register Status? Yes  05/10/90
National Historic Landmark Status?   
National Historic Landmark District Status?   
State Register Status? Yes  03/15/90
Eligible for National Register?

Owner
Institutional OwnerTown of Somers
Tax Map Available?
Tax Map Image Available?
Tax Section       Tax Block       Tax Lot

Architect
BuilderMicajah Wright
Building TypeReligious
Building Type, Details
Architectural StyleFederal, Greek Revival
Architectural Style, Details
Current UseOther (describe)
Current Use, DetailsMuseum
Original UseReligious
Original Use, Details
Structural ConditionFair
NeighborhoodResidential
Threats to Building
Site IntegrityOriginal Site
Date Moved
Year Built1794
Structural SystemPost-and-Beam
Structural System, Details
Photograph Available?
AlterationsThere was an alteration in 1860. Two-panel louvered shutters were replaced with two-panel solid wood shutters after 1951. Vandalism in 1970 destroyed the original mahogany pump organ formerly located in the front of the pulpit, as well as almost all of the original glass windowpanes and the communion rail balusters.
Date of AlterationsVarious

SignificanceMt. Zion Church in the town of Somers is an outstanding example of early vernacular church architecture and is a significant landmark in the history of Methodism in New York State. The building was erected in 1794 by Micajah Wright, a carpenter and farmer whose lands extended along the highway opposite the church property. The church is one of the oldest surviving Methodist meetinghouses in Westchester County, and historically was one of the most important centers within the "Cortlandt Circuit" through which itinerant clergy traversed the area preaching Methodism. The massing, layout, and architectural features of Mt. Zion church are remarkably similar to many of the six other churches that composed the earlier "New Rochelle Circuit." The building is an exceptional embodiment of the dictates of early Protestant church design and, with its early vernacular Federal simplicity later overlaid with nineteenth century Greek Revival detailing, reflects the evolution in the Methodist philosophy of church design in the United States. The site, with sweeping views to the south and east, remains indicative of the early pastoral farming period of the township, which evolved after the American Revolution.
DescriptionMt. Zion Church is located on a quadrilateral lot of 1.43 acres adjoining Primrose Street directly south of Reis Park in the Town of Somers. The church is a two-and-one-half story rectangular post-and-beam building, forty feet long by thirty feet wide, sheathed in wood shingles, with a gabled roof and full attic. The style is simple Federal vernacular with an overlay of mid-nineteenth-century Greek Revival when the building was probably raised from one to two-and-a-half stories (c. 1860). The south façade on the first floor contains the main entrance in the center consisting of a pair of four-panel doors with a shouldered architrave surround. The building has a white painted shingled exterior with corner-boards, plain frieze boards, projecting molded eaves and a black asphalt shingle roof. There is a small brick chimney near the north end of the roof. The foundation is of random fieldstone. The interior of the church consists of the first floor of a narrow entry vestibule along the south end, and the main hall occupying the remainder of the floor. Walls and ceilings of the church are white painted plaster with a vertical beaded tongue-and-groove wood wainscot on the walls of the first story. Materials throughout the church have largely retained their historic integrity. The cemetery contains closely spaced gravestones in relatively good condition. The gravestones date from 1793 to 1959, covering a range of materials and styles. For more details on Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery refer to the files maintained by the Westchester County Historical Society.


PropertySomers Hamlet Historic District
MunicipalitySomers
Community
Street Number
Street AddressUS 202 and Side Roads

Historic District NameSomers Hamlet Historic District
Local Landmark Status?Yes  03/03/04
Local Landmark District Status?   
National Register District Status? Yes  06/04/04
County Register Status?   
National Register Status?   
National Historic Landmark Status?   
National Historic Landmark District Status?   
State Register Status? Yes  03/03/04
Eligible for National Register?

OwnerVarious
Institutional Owner
Tax Map Available?
Tax Map Image Available?
Tax Section       Tax Block       Tax Lot

Architect
Builder
Building TypeMixed Use
Building Type, Details
Architectural StyleVarious
Architectural Style, Details
Current UseMixed Use
Current Use, Details
Original UseMixed Use
Original Use, Details
Structural ConditionGood
NeighborhoodMixed Use
Threats to Building
Site IntegrityOriginal Site
Date Moved
Year BuiltVarious
Structural System
Structural System, Details
Photograph Available?
Alterations
Date of Alterations

SignificanceThe Somers Hamlet Historic District is significant in local historic and architectural contexts as a distinctive surviving example of a rural crossroads community associated with providing transportation service along a major regional turnpike. The hamlet developed immediately after the Revolutionary War along the Danbury and Peekskill Turnpike that connected a major New England highway to Hartford and Boston to the Hudson River. In this favorable location the hamlet became a popular stopping place for travelers and cattle drovers. Craftsmen, artisans, and laborers gravitated to the hamlet for the work opportunities it presented, and their housing fleshed out the community. Churches, schools, and cemeteries appeared as the hamlet evolved into a town center. With the coming of Hachaliah Bailey, the hamlet became the first center of wild animal menageries in the United States. The Somers Hamlet Historic District has withstood tremendous development pressures in recent years to retain its historic character and architectural landmarks amid the ever-intensifying Westchester County suburban landscape. It survives as a valuable relic of the nineteenth-century rural communities that were once common in the region.
DescriptionThe Somers Hamlet Historic District is located on a town bearing the same name in northern Westchester County. The Somers hamlet built up in the early nineteenth century as a turnpike center, and the historic district is aligned along the highway (U.S. Route 202) in typical fashion. The historic district encompasses approximately 56 acres and contains 40 properties, of which 33 properties are contributing and 7 are non-contributing. The structures have domestic, commercial, religious governmental, funerary, and recreational functions. The district contains numerous intact dwellings that embody the distinctive characteristics of the early nineteenth century domestic architecture of the far eastern portion of New York State. As the population of the town increased dramatically in the last decades of the twentieth century, houses in the hamlet were converted to commercial functions. For details on the structures within the Somers Hamlet Historic District refer to the files maintained by the Westchester County Historical Society.


PropertySomers Town House (Elephant Hotel)
MunicipalitySomers
Community
Street Number
Street AddressJunction Route 202 and 100

Historic District Name
Local Landmark Status?Yes  01/05/88
Local Landmark District Status?   
National Register District Status?   
County Register Status?   
National Register Status? Yes  08/07/74
National Historic Landmark Status? Yes  04/05/05
National Historic Landmark District Status?   
State Register Status? Yes  06/23/80
Eligible for National Register?

Owner
Institutional OwnerTown of Somers
Tax Map Available?
Tax Map Image Available?
Tax Section       Tax Block       Tax Lot

Architect
BuilderHachaliah Bailey
Building TypeOther (describe)
Building Type, DetailsHotel
Architectural StyleFederal
Architectural Style, Details
Current UseOther (describe)
Current Use, DetailsGovernment Office, Museum
Original UseOther (describe)
Original Use, DetailsHotel
Structural ConditionExcellent
NeighborhoodMixed Use
Threats to Building
Site IntegrityOriginal Site
Date Moved
Year Built1820 - 1825
Structural SystemMasonry Load-Bearing
Structural System, Details
Photograph Available?Yes
AlterationsA major restoration project occurred in 1979. In 1981 the "Elephant Hotel" lettering on the front façade of the building was repainted. In recent years, a number of windows on the west side of the building have had wood panels inserted in the top sash sections to support window air-conditioning units in a relatively permanent installation. Many of the rooms in the hotel have been renovated to accommodate town offices and the Somers Historical Society.
Date of Alterations

SignificanceThe Elephant Hotel is significant for its association with American circus history. It was built by Hachaliah Bailey, who was the first American to tour exotic animals for public entertainment. Beginning with an African elephant, named Old Bet, that he purchased in 1805 (the second elephant known to have been brought to America) Bailey soon added other wild animals to his collection and effectively introduced the traveling "menagerie" as an important attraction in the northeastern United States. The Elephant Hotel became the meeting place and symbolic center of menagerie promoters. Later menageries associated through the Elephant Hotel merged with circus performers (the circus was introduced in Philadelphia in 1796) to create the American circus that is still popular today.
DescriptionThe Elephant Hotel stands on the northeast side of the main intersection of Somers overlooking a small green. Built of brick upon a high granite foundation, the three-story hotel is a rectangular structure, 64.4' x 50.6', composed both in façade scheme and plan around a central axis. The brick of the south, east, and west elevations are laid in Flemish bond, that of the north elevation in common bond. Five bays by three bays, the main structure, earlier dwelling, is covered by a hipped roof with a flat deck crowned by a balustrade, and served by two pairs of interior end chimneys. The south or front elevation is organized around the central bay, occupied on the first floor by the main entrance and portico, and on the upper two stories by tripartite windows. Reached by three granite steps, the portico is composed of two pairs of Doric columns supporting a flat entablature. The ornamental woodwork throughout the interior of the structure has survived intact despite the Hotel’s continuous use for a variety of functions. The interior space, partitioned by brick-filled walls, is axially arranged around a central hall. In front of the hotel, on a triangular island formed by the intersecting roads, stands a shaft of dressed granite with a wood image of the elephant Old Bet. For more details on the Elephant Hotel refer to the files maintained by the Westchester County Historical Society.


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