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 Algae Expert Who Helped Win World War II

    One would have thought that the Ministry Of Defense would have known the difference between a cryptogamist and a cryptogramist. Back in World War II, they showed us that they definitely did not, which is why they accidentally recruited scientist Geoffrey Tandy to work at Bletchley Park for the Code Breakers. ...

    Read More
  • Saving A Whole Village With Rainbow Art

    Everyone loves a rainbow, the beautiful colors and different hues always make you smile. And that is what one Taiwanese pensioner thought when he made a desperate attempt to save his village. Armed with only a paintbrush, 93-year old Huang Yung-Fu turned his town into a vibrant rainbow and in the process saved it from...

    Read More
  • Evidence Of A Destroyed Planet Found

    Billions of years ago it seems our solar system actually had another planet spinning around in it. This long destroyed planet would have existed only during the very start of our solar systems creation. In 2008, an asteroid exploded into the Sudan desert on October 7th and with it came...

    Read More
  • Huge Poop Train Stuck Outside Small Alabama Town

    In a strange situation that is just asking to be explained, sources have revealed a huge train filled with human excrement is stranded outside a small town in Alabama. Apparently, the poop train is wafting smelly fumes for miles and locals are beginning to wonder whenever this nightmare may end. ...

    Read More
  • French Strongman Who Broke Out Of Prison With His Bare Hands

    There is one French strongman that goes down in the books as having undeniable strength and determination: his name is Charles Rigoulet. Not only was he breaking numerous weightlifting records all over the world, he won a gold medal in the 1942 Summer Olympics. And if that was not enough? He was also an actor,...

    Read More
  • Medieval Norwegians Liked To Cheat At Dice

    Recently a specially designed dice was found in Norway: it did not have a number one or a number two. Looks like a fixed dice to do some cheating in gambling, but the real stunner was that this wooden dice was 600 years old! A specially designed dice for cheating...

    Read More
  • Extraordinary Photo Of A Humpback Whale Sneezing A Rainbow

    At the end of every rainbow, you will find a pot of gold… or was it a humpback whale? The following photo hit the internet last week from the California wildlife photographer who had the instinct to take his shot at the exact moment. So we now know that there is at least one rainbow...

    Read More