Built in 1881 by James Vincent de Paul Lafferty Jr, Lucy the Elephant was intended to attract buyers to the building lots Lafferty was offering for sale in the area. It's reported to have cost $25,000 to construct. After falling into financial trouble, Lafferty sold the Elephant and other property to Anton Gertzen in 1887. Lucy is 6 stories tall, weighs 90 tons, and is covered with 12,000 square feet of sheet tin.
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.