The History Of Pagel House – Aberdeen South Africa
Pagel House, originally known as Claremont House, was first owned by R.C. Logie Junior, a wealthy, ostrich feather trader, before being bought by zoo and circus owner, Frank Wilke, and was renamed Pagel House. Built in 1897 during the ostrich and wool boom, Pagel House reflects the era when Aberdeen flourished as a thriving, farming town.
Wilhelm Pagel was a Circus Master and legendary strong-man. He landed in Durban in 1905 and gave his first performance in Pietermaritzburg. He was widely acclaimed for his strong-man feats and Pagel Circus was formed. It became a familiar institution throughout South Africa for more than forty years. Pagel also won fame as a trainer of lions and other large animals. His last performance was in Wakkerstroom on his 70th birthday.
Frank Wilke, the then owner of the house in Stockenstroom Street, was the owner of the largest, private zoo located just outside Aberdeen. He was an ardent admirer of Pagel. After Pagel’s death, Wilke arranged with his widow to acquire the marble name plaques that now grace the guest house in Aberdeen. He also bought the Pagel Circus and moved it to Aberdeen.
Today, Pagel house is owned and managed by South African-born Lynette Dugmore. Lyn had been working as a nursing sister in Switzerland for 24 years before responding to an inner call to “come home”. She moved all the way from St. Gallen after purchasing Pagel House.
Lyn had been working as a nursing sister in Switzerland for 24 years before responding to an inner call to “come home.” Still in Switzerland six months after purchasing the house, Lyn discovered that her great grandmother was buried in Aberdeen and her great grandfather was the Minister at the Aberdeen Methodist Church. Her purchase of The Pagel House proved to be the start of a voyage of discovery for Lyn, bringing her back to her heritage and her country.
At considerable cost, Lyn restored the former Victorian Villa – built in 1897 – to its original state and then opened it as guest house.