FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Somers, NY- Somers Historical Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary, 2006 â€“ 2007. On
September 28, 1956, the Society was formally granted an Absolute Charter by the Board of Regents
for, and on behalf, of the Education Department of the State of New York as an educational
The Charter Reads,
...the Board of Regents for, and, on behalf ,of the Education Department of the State of
New York has granted this absolute charter incorporating Otto Koegel, Frances Billingsley,
Harry Chambers, Ferdinand T. Hopkins, William S. Lasdon, Patrick V. Ryan, Margaret
Van Rensselaer Voislawsky and Charles W. Ward and their associates and successors as
an educational corporation under the corporate name of Somers Historical Society to be
located at Somers, County of Westchester and State of New York...
Since those early beginnings, Society members have been stewards of, and staunch advocates for,
the preservation of historical resources pertaining to the Town of Somers, catalysts for historical
research and educators who share their knowledge and love of Town history; in short, fulfilling the
missions of education, preservation and stewardship as outlined in the Charter.
In addition to numerous programs held throughout the year for school children, members and
community groups, the Society is planning an anniversary exhibition to commemorate its 50 years of
contributions to the community. Those contributions have included the establishment of the annual 3rd
grade visit to the Wright Reis Homestead, now approaching its 20th year; mounting of numerous
historical exhibitions and lectures in the Elephant Hotel; conducting walking tours of the Somers Hamlet
and Primrose Street regions of town; and the publication of numerous books and periodicals pertaining
to Somers history, among others.
At its annual meeting, the Society's Board of Trustees bestowed its prestigious Old Bet Award, an
award given annually for outstanding achievement by a member, posthumously to all of the Society
founders, as a gesture of thanks and recognition. (The Old Bet Award was created many years after
the founding of the Society.)
Also, to celebrate its' 50th Anniversary, Somers Historical Society is extending complimentary one
year memberships to:
Â· friends of dues-paying members in the Society;
Â· anyone born in 1956;
Â· couples celebrating their 50th anniversary this year OR
Â· individuals/families who live in a home built in 1956 or earlier.
Somers Historical Society
Â· Collects, maintains, preserves and exhibits material related to both local history and
to the development of early 19th century American circus;
Â· Annually presents a series of educational programs for its members, local community,
schools and organizations;
o A small museum on the third floor of the Elephant Hotel, a National Historic
Landmark. Items from its world-class collection of circus ephemera, as well as
local historical artifacts, are displayed there, and on the Main Floor, on a rotating
o A Research/Reading Room featuring local history and circus-related books.
(Available for use by appointment. )
o Gift Shop, featuring Somers-themed merchandise
Â· Interprets three historic properties owned by the Town of Somers
o the Wright Reis Homestead
o Mt. Zion Church
o Tomahawk Chapel
Somers Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and retains an Absolute Charter from
the New York State Department of Education as an educational corporation. The organization is a
member of AASLH, the Lower Hudson Conference, the Westchester Arts Council, Circus Fans of
America, the Circus Historical Society and Somers Chamber of Commerce.
Corporate members are Billingsley Realty, DiNardo's Farm Market, Houlihan Lawrence Realty, the
Mexican Shack, Putnam County Savings Bank. Special contributors are Pepsi Bottling Group
Foundation, Inc. and Somers Lions Club.
Office hours are M-T, 9 am to 4:30pm. Museum hours Thursdays, 2 to 4pm and during special
events in Somers Hamlet. Tours are available and may be made by calling (914) 277-4977, Email
|SOMERS HISTORICAL SOCIETY