The Somers Mansion is an iconic building that is an integral part of the history of Somers Point. It was built by Richard Somers, son of John Somers, the oldest and the first European to come down and settle in now what is called as Somers Point. The mansion got added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Located between Shore Road and Somer Point Circle, the three-story brick building is the oldest house in Atlantic County, where Richard along with his wife Judith, raised ten children. One of their sons was also named Richard, who grew up to become a famous Navy Commander.
The Somers Mansion was built in the early 1720s, and by the nineteenth century it was converted from its original Colonial look to a Victorian style. However, in the early 1940s, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) restored the site to its classic appearance. Located on a little hill, the property is easy to find. With neat and clean surroundings, the museum is maintained and operated by the N.J. Department of Parks and Forestry.
The history of Southern New Jersey, the mansion and the Somers family can be explored with the help of a local tour guide. The mansion is open on weekends from 9 am – 3:30 pm. With a variety of artifacts and information, the brief tour celebrates 200 years of inhabitation by the Somers. The museum is embellished with 18th century furnishings, and locally fashioned quilts, coverlets and samplers by the help of the Atlantic County Historical Society. Photography is not permitted inside.
A monument to Richard’s son, stands tall in the middle of the burial ground but he was not actually buried there. Richard died at the Battle of Tripoli, the First Barbary War, in Tripoli Libya, and he was buried there. The society at Somers is still trying obtain his remains to be able to bury him in the family plot.
The legacy of this historic showpiece must be preserved and maintained. Hence a lot of efforts are being taken by the Somers family to beautify this revolutionary war site. The local residents, communities and patriots have come together to preserve the site, promote tourism and broaden opportunities for locals and tourists to learn about the heritage of Atlantic County’s oldest building, which was once the jewel of Somers Point.
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