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Mount Zion Historical Neighborhood


Mount Zion Historical Neighborhood
Somers, New York

Throughout our nation there is a growing awareness of the value and fragility of the unique qualities of communities. Often a period of growth and expansion causes loss of beloved natural and cultural resources, shocking local advocates into action. This action all too frequently takes place after the fact when historic structures and cultural landscapes have already been radically altered. This reactionary approach, focused on a specific loss, is a limited way of addressing the issue of community change. A more ideal approach begins with an understanding of the community's cultural resources before they are altered. The Mount Zion Historical Neighborhood Project developed this type of understanding while significant changes to the Town of Somers were being planned rather than questioned after they are fully accomplished.

Heritage Landscapes was commissioned to investigate the historically valuable townscape of the Mount Zion historical village. By understanding its long and intriguing history influenced by the evolution of Native American lifeways and 17th century homesteads centered on the Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery, Heritage Landscapes was able to make recommendations for preservation and conservation action. A series of preservation tools were applied to address what private citizens, community groups, non-profit organizations, and town and local governments can achieve. The report process and findings raised community awareness about this historical neighborhood, its current conditions, appropriate maintenance and management, and future goals.

In 2004, Heritage Landscapes also reviewed and testified against the pending Eagle River development directly south of the historical village for the Town of Somers. The development impacts on the village were considerable and by considering the importance of both cultural and natural resources, the Town partnered with the State of New York and private entities to purchase the lands in order to retain and safeguard these valued resources.

Town of Somers New York , Town Manager, Planning Board, Town Historian

Mount Zion Historical Neighborhood Cultural Landscape Report & Preservation Recommendations, 2002-03, Eagle River Cultural Landscape Preservation Development Review & Testimony, 2004

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners