Somers Mansion                                                  1000 Shore Road                                             Somers Point, NJ 08244

Somers Mansion 1000 Shore Road Somers Point, NJ 08244

Somers Mansion

1000 Shore Road

Somers Point, NJ 08244

(609) 927-2212

https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/historic/somersmansion.html

Somers Mansion

Open: Sunday 9:30am-3:30pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 9:30am-3:30pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46825-d5970174-r844645596-Somers_Mansion-Somers_Point_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Somers Mansion at 1000 Shore Road

(There is no indoor picture taking allowed)

I visited the Somers Mansion, the three story former home to five generations of the Somers Family. The mansion sits on a buff overlooking the bay and the bridge to the barrier island where Ocean City is located. The original part of the house was built in 1725 and in 1920 the last family members moved from the home and deeded it to the town. The modern additions of the home have been stripped off so you see the original house.

The historic marker of the home when it was donated by the family

I have to say that I was very disappointed with the condition of both the house and of the rooms and displays inside the house. There was not much to see. The lower level of the home has the main room with the hearth known in most early homes as the “Keeping” or “Everything” room where all the cooking, household chores and socializing was done because of the warmth of the fire.

Here and there were pieces of furniture but nothing labeled or decorated to make the room look ‘period’. Just old furniture here and there to fill the space. Some of the original family china was in the cupboards built into the walls.

The upstairs which must be reached by a rope bannister lead up a narrow stairs to two upstairs bedrooms. The home is not handicapped safe. The front bedroom had a fireplace with a small side room that held spinning wheels and some children’s furniture. There was not much to see in the upstairs.

The tour guide did not offer much in the way of information on the house and the only period pieces of the Somers family that were left inside the house were a chest, a clock, some of the china that was in the side cabinents and a bedwarmer.

Outside the house the Somers Point Garden Club planted a period garden of fruits and vegetables on the back lawn and lead tours of the gardens.

The Somers Mansion Kitchen Garden

The Garden Club planted fruits and vegetables that would have been grown in the time periods of the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. You can walk amongst the beds to see the plantings.

Somers Mansion Kitchen Garden planted by the Garden Club

The whole tour takes less than a half hour and it is more impressive from the outside. You are also not allowed to take pictures of the house for security reasons.

The History of the Somers Mansion:

(From the NJ State Historical Site.com):

The mansion and surrounding city bear the name of the family who owned and occupied the house for 200 years.

The original mansion after it was stripped of the modern additions

The Somers Mansion, a three story home constructed of brick in the Flemish bond pattern, sits overlooking the Great Egg Harbor Bay at Somers Point. In the late 1600’s, the property which surrounds the mansion was acquired by John Somers, who operated a ferry service across The Great Egg Harbor Bay to Cape May. He referred to it as Somers Plantation and Somers Ferry and the surrounding settlement, the olders in what became Altantic County and then Somers Point in the mid-18th Century.

Master Commandant Richard Somers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Somers

http://www.richardsomers.org/

The mansion is considered to be the oldest existing house in Atlantic County, predating the County itself. His son, Richard, the first of the family to be born in New Jersey, built what is now referred to as the mansion by 1726. That year the local Society of Friends (Quakers) used the home for a meeting and memorialized it in their minutes, making the earliest recorded date of the home’s existence.

By the end of the 19th century, the mansion’s architecture had been added to and changed to reflect a Victorian style. The house remained in the Somers Family until 1937 when it was deeded by Florence Hayday Brooks and Lulu Hayday Smith, daughters of Hannah Hayday Somers to the Atlantic County Historical Society for the purpose of creating a permanent memorial to the Somers family.

In 1941, it was transferred to the State of New Jersey, dedicated on September 26th, 1942 and in the early 1940’s was restored to its colonial appearance as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. Laborers for the WPA both renovated the surviving furnishings and conducted a historical restoration, including the elimination of rooms and architectural details dating to the 19th century. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and is now a State Historic site.

The Somers Family marker on the mansion

A Short History of Somers Point:

(From the Trail of Richard Somers pamphlet)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somers_Point,_New_Jersey

Somers Point was originally settled by John Somers, an Englishman and practicing Quaker, who bought the land from Thomas Budd. Early names for the area were Somerset Plantation, Somers Ferry and Somers Plantation named after the first settlers in 1693. The land purchased originally covered all of Somers Point, part of Linwood and went into Egg Harbor Township. In the early years, it was part of Gloucester County, because Atlantic COunt had not yet been named.

The name “Somers Point” was adopted in 1750. It was a seafaring town and sloops, schooners and barges were built in the many shipyards located along the Greate Egg Harbor Bay, Greate Egg Harbor River and Patcong Creek.

The Sooy Boatworks was located on Shore Road and the completed ships were rolled on logs down Shore Road to Delaware Avenue and then down to the bay. Shipbuilding and life along the waterways was a very important part of life in early Somers Point.

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