Chapter 4 – The Turkish Pavilion

website_lucy_elephant_hotelThe Turkish Pavilion, constructed in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park, had attracted Anthony Gertzen’s eye and when it became available after the close of the fair, he purchased the building, had it disassembled into numbered sections and moved to Margate, where it was carefully restored and reconstructed behind the famous Elephant.

The Pavilion, now owned by his son John, with its stained glass windows near the ceiling, creating rainbows below and exotic architectures with onion-shaped domes on the roof, became a popular nightclub for many years. John and Sophia also acquired a large hotel across the street from the Elephant known as Gillighans, then operated as a gambling place with slot machines, horse race equipment etc. They changed the name to the Mansion House and made it into a rooming house.

According to legend, Sophia Gertzen is responsible for the name “Lucy”, a title that has stuck with the Elephant through the years. No concrete story as to why the name was chosen was ever recorded as coming from Sophia.

In 1902 an English doctor and his family leased the Elephant as a summer home. They moved into Lucy’s ample interior and converted the main hall into four bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and parlor. A bathroom was outfitted in one of the small front shoulder closets using a miniature bathtub.

lucy_elephant_halloween1933Lucy was heavily damaged in the storm of 1903 and was standing knee deep in the sand before volunteers helped to dig her out and move her farther back from the sea.

Then, according to newspaper accounts, Lucy was converted into a tavern. Rowdy drinkers kept knocking over the oil lanterns used for lighting.  In 1904 Lucy was nearly burned to the ground as a result of this carelessness. This ended her days as a tavern.