New Jersey’s Most Famous Elephant

America has plenty of interesting roadside attractions. World’s largest ball of twine? We have that. A replica of Stonehenge made out of old cars? We have that, too. We also have the world’s largest elephant building, which is located in Margate, New Jersey, beside the beach in Josephine Harron Park.

This elephant building isn’t just interesting to look at, though. Lucy the Elephant, as she is known, also has a long and fascinating history.

She was built in 1881 by a New Jersey real estate speculator named James V. Lafferty. He had the 65 foot high, 60 foot long building constructed in the hopes that it would attract visitors to Margate who would want to buy property. Lafferty would take customers to the carriage at the top of the elephant, where they could view land that was for sale.

Lucy was a hit from the start. People came from miles around to see the strange spectacle. Lafferty made good money using Lucy to promote his business, and he had two more similar buildings constructed. One of them burned down and the other was demolished, so Lucy is the only such building that still survives.

Lucy almost met the same fate as her sister elephant buildings. People had lost interest by 1887, and she was sold. Her use changed many times over the years. She was a restaurant, a summer vacation rental, and a tavern. This last use almost destroyed Lucy, when some drunk customers almost burned her down.

When Prohibition caused the tavern to close, Lucy was abandoned and left to deteriorate. By the 1960s, she was in such a bad state that the city of Margate was going to have her demolished. But she had become a beloved sight for the locals that a Save Lucy Committee was formed. This group raised enough money to move her to a new location and pay for her extensive repairs.

Lucy was given National Historic Landmark status in 1976, and she is now a well-known roadside attraction. Visitors can now take guided tours up the spiral staircase in her left rear leg. They get to see her interior and the carriage on her back, which affords some great views of Atlantic City and the ocean. Her birthday is also celebrated every year, with food, games, and other activities.

Next Article
  • The First Medieval North American City

    Cahokia was a settlement that thrived during the years of A.D. 1050-1200, a city that held a population of 10000 to 20000 people and covered over six square miles. This made it bigger than even London at the time and numerous other European cities. It was located in Mississippi, close...

    Read More
  • Twenty-Two Years Of Poop Removed Surgically From One Man

    Remember that last time you could not go to the toilet? You just sat there in agony, with just nothing coming out? Or that constipated bloated sensation that never goes away, well now think that you have had that feeling for wait for it... 22 whole years. Impossible, right? Yes, one Chinese man has defied...

    Read More
  • Yes, There Was A Black Nazi

    Meet Hans Massaquoi, one of the very rare and few biracial Germans who were born and grew up during the Nazi regime. Though do not be mislead by the photo, he was not actually allowed to join the Nazi Party. This does not really make much sense when you remember...

    Read More
  • Marijuana Farms Are Killing Owls

    In California the great marijuana legalization growing revolution is having some dire consequences to the local ecosystem, notably, it seems to be killing Northern spotted owls! Unfortunately the profitable of the marijuana legalization vote in California has seen the rise of numerous unpermitted private grow sites. These grow sites are...

    Read More
  • Napoleon’s Biggest Loss Was Against A Horde Of Rabbits

    Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French emperor who dominated European and even global affairs for over a decade from 1804 to 1814. Renown for being one of the greatest military commanders ever to rule, his campaigns and victories are still studied around the world today. He won the vast majority of his battles, which means his...

    Read More
  • Surf’s up Or Sled's Up? The Magical Slurpee Waves

    If you happen to be out in Nantucket around Nobadeer beach, then we hope you dressed up warm. The air is currently so cold that the waves have been frozen! The well-documented cold that has come down on the U.S. East Coast has been freezing everyone, but in Massachusetts, it...

    Read More
  • The Luckiest Flying Ace Alive

    Captain John Herbert Hedley flew fighter planes for Britain during World War I. He once fell out of his plane and survived. I know what you are thinking, he simply opened his parachute? Well back in the days of World War I, the army thought pilots would not be aggressive enough if they had an...

    Read More