BACKGROUND: Take a trip back into Atlantic County's past. The Somers Mansion was built around 1725 by Richard Somers, the son of an early settler. The three-story brick building is the oldest house in Atlantic County. The museum contains 18th-century furnishings and a collection of locally fashioned quilts, coverlets and samplers. The house, maintained and operated by the N.J. Department of Parks and Forestry, overlooks Great Bay in Somers Point.

While the Somers family has deep roots in the area, it was Richard Somers, namesake of the house builder, who is the family's most famous member. Born in 1778, Somers joined the United States Navy and participated in the Barbary Wars. A close friend of naval hero Stephen Decatur, famous for burning the frigate Philadelphia after it had been captured by the pirates, Somers attempted his own deed of bravery and daring. He and his crew were killed when their small ship, packed with explosives, detonated prematurely when sailing into Tripoli harbor.

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INSIDER INFO: Somer's body is still buried on the Barbary coast. There is a monument to him at the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

WHERE: The mansion is located at 1000 Shore Road, Somers Point. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS.

HOURS AND COST: Hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. Admission is free. Call 609-927-2212 for more info.


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