Serving Comfort Food That's Good For You.
 
At the corner of
Ridge & Elephant Roads in Bedminster Township

A Long Tradition in Bucks County

Located at the corner of Ridge and Elephant roads in bucolic Bedminster Township, the legendary Elephant Hotel is probably best known locally for the indispensible role it played in the lives of countless Upper Bucks County residents during its initial 160-year lifespan.

Established in the mid-1800s as a modest neighborhood tavern built of stone, the Elephant Hotel would soon become known as a crucially important community gathering place. It was often a regular stop for outdoorsmen and families who were making their way to vacations and afternoon picnics at nearby Lake Nockamixon. And it was business as usual for customers of the Elephant to have arrived from the furthest reaches of Bucks County, and even from all four corners of Pennsylvania.

A number of regional celebrities were known for their fondness of the Elephant. The pro baseball player and R&B singer Richie Allen was a regular at the hotel, as was “Dandy” Don Meredith, who retired to the Bucks County area after a storied career in the NFL. Noted Bucks County authors James Michener and Pearl S. Buck were occasionally spotted inside, quaffing a drink or tucking into a meal.

Interestingly, a number of Bedminster Township villagers had a decidedly closer relationship with the Elephant. Some locals actually had their mail delivered directly to the hotel. And in an age when home telephones were still considered a relative luxury, neighbors would often pop by just to place calls.

Eventually, the Elephant became such a crucially important community hub that the tiny surrounding hamlet, which consists solely of the hotel and two adjacent homes, actually became known as ‘Elephant.’ According to local legend, it was the original hand-painted Elephant Hotel sign that inspired the hamlet’s name. Joseph K. Nicholas, the original proprietor, obtained a two-year tavern license in 1845 to run a hotel at his residence. A lapse in licensing for the hotel for one year and its relicensing in 1848 could possibly explain the date of 1848 found on the sign. In order to secure the original sign for the Mercer Museum, Henry Chapman Mercer agreed to have a copy of it painted. The original antique wooden sign that was acquired by Henry Chapman Mercer continues to be displayed at the Mercer Museum in nearby Doylestown.

The old wooden replica sign has been taken down during construction with plans to restore it and post it back on the metal bracket outside the Elephant. It reminds anyone who passes the hotel of its fundamental historic importance in the ongoing Bedminster Township story.

 As we prepare to shepherd the Elephant Hotel into its next chapter as a destination restaurant serving comfort food that’s good for you, we hope that simple old sign will mean as much to you as it always has to us.