Roadside Attractions: Lucy the Elephant

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2008)

Today’s guest post is from Robin at Bountiful Healing. A lover of the lens, Robin captures images of true beauty. She takes up the slack with a tale of Americana as stevo enjoys a sabbatical.

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Lucy the Elephant - Margate, New Jersey - From Robin at Boutiful Healing
Lucy the Elephant - Margate, New Jersey - From Robin at Boutiful Healing

Lucy the Elephant is a wood and tin sheeting, six-story example of zoomorphic architecture.  She lives in Margate, New Jersey in the U.S., less than a block away from the beach.  Lucy was built in 1882 by James V. Lafferty in a grand attempt to attract tourists and sell real estate.  She’s 60 feet high, 60 feet long, and weighs about 90 tons.  She is one of three architectural follies (all elephants) built by Lafferty.  Lucy is the only one to have survived time, disinterest, and the elements.

Lucy the Elephant - Margate, New Jersey - From Robin at Boutiful Healing

You can climb up inside of Lucy.  The stairs which lead you into the belly of the elephant are located in her hind legs.  Her belly has been beautifully refurbished as part of the Save Lucy campaign which began in 1970.  Once up the stairs and inside of Lucy’s belly, there is another set of stairs that lead to the “howdah,” the riding carriage on Lucy’s back.  From there you can look out over the beach and the Atlantic ocean as well as see various views of Margate including the water tower with a painting of Lucy.

Over the years, Lucy has served as a tavern, a restaurant, an office, and a cottage.  She acquired a bathtub when she was used as a cottage, but there has never been any running water (other than leaks) in Lucy so filling the tub took a bit of work.

If you ever happen to find yourself in or near Margate, New Jersey, stop by and see Lucy.  There is an admission fee, but it’s reasonable and it goes towards Lucy’s restoration and upkeep.

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In her own words: Robin is an amateur photographer who lives in the snow belt of northeastern Ohio. She currently holds the titles of Best Sandwich Maker Ever, Mom, Wife, and That Crazy Lady Who Never Goes Anywhere Without Her Camera … more

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