The following is from the Somers Historical Society:
In 1773, a farmer purchased land near the tiny village that is now the Somers Hamlet. His son Hachaliah eventually bought land in the hamlet in 1807. He developed the area constructing the Elephant Hotel from 1820 to 1825. Ownership of the hotel was transferred by James Bailey to the Town of Somers in 1927 for use as a Town House.
The Baileys also built a lovely house across the road from the hotel and also owned land south of the hotel (the future Bailey Park) which then was the location of a carriage makers shop and the Horace Bailey Store. Eventually they were torn down. As the 1911 picture of the Bailey property shows, it was a field surrounded by a wood fence. On the west side were several small homes built around 1830, where they remain to this day. By the end of the 19th century, the hamlet area had around 57 businesses and homes. The Croton Turnpike junction with the Peekskill Turnpike in the hamlet made it a busy place.
Rural Somers had become a small hamlet. But for the first 180 years of its existence, Somers never built a gazebo. Many towns and villages from the mid 18 century had a bandstand also known as gazebo. This structure was found in the town center where it was the site of performances, political rallies, dignitary welcomes, and other events. The word “Gazebo” comes from the word “gaze” coupled with the future latin tense “ebo” (Gaze into the future)!
Gazebos overlap with pavilions, kiosks, alhambras, belvederes, follies, gloriettes, pergolas, and rotundas each with its own special features. Jefferson called his a “summer house.” Even George Washington had a small one in Mt. Vernon. But none in Somers!
That all began to change when the little plot of land between the Elephant Hotel and St. Lukes Church still owned by a Bailey, was transferred by Nancy Bailey in 1968 to the town of Somers for use as a park. The Somers-North Salem Garden Club lost no time in creating Bailey Park with landscaping and a gazebo. The materials to build the gazebo were largely donated by local businesses.
On Sunday, Sept. 17, 1970, Bailey Park with its lovely “Hachialiah Bailey Memorial” Gazebo was dedicated. It was recently renovated and is a special feature of our town. It has been the site of Remembrance Day events, musical performances, Halloween events, and more.
So when you drive through the National Historical Hamlet of Somers, all that you see is the result of the planning and efforts of generations of Somers residents in preserving the past for future generations. The gazebo was a bit of “catch up.”