Big Lucy

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant, built in 1881, stands tall, 65 feet tall, with her butt facing Atlantic Avenue in the Jersey Shore town of Margate.

Lucy the Elephant
Lucy the Elephant creator
Lucy’s creator James Lafferty was awarded a patent in 1882 giving him exclusive rights for making animal-shaped buildings for a period of 17 years.

During her formative years, Lucy survived spells as a restaurant, a business office and a rentable summer cottage. She survived an early 20th century venture as a bar. That ceased with the onset of Prohibition.

In 1929 Lucy survived a storm that blew away her howdah.

Lucy the Elephant
A view of the Margate beach from atop Lucy’s howdah.

Lucy survived the Great Atlantic Hurricane 1944.

During the mid-20th century she survived a period of neglect and decrepitude that resulted in being condemned by the City of Margate in 1962.

In 1970. Lucy survived a two-block move down Atlantic Avenue that took eight hours.

Lucy the Elephant

In 2006 Lucy survived being struck by lightning.

Lucy the Elephant
Inside Lucy the Elephant

In 2012, Lucy survived Superstorm Sandy unscathed.

Lucy on water tower

In July, on her 138th birthday, Lucy is still standing tall.

Lucy the Elephant
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16 Responses to Big Lucy

  1. Donna Janke says:

    It’s amazing how much Lucy has survived. I wonder if James Lafferty expected her to last this long. If Lucy used for anything now?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ken Dowell says:

      It’s now a tourist attraction. You can take a 30-minute “tour” of Lucy. It involves walking up into the structure which has been beautifully restored. The inside is full of memorabilia. Then another flight of stairs puts you on Lucy’s howdah. There are enough stories to fill a half-hour tour. And of course there is a Lucy the Elephant gift shop.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Like Donna, I’m amazed that Lucy has survived all these years. It seems, too, that she would be a great refuge during a storm.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Henry Lewis says:

    I love happy endings!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aww, I’ve always wanted to visit Big Lucy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BroadBlogs says:

    Wow! I’d never heard of her before. Really interesting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great historical share. Yeah for Lucy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rabirius says:

    The elephant really is fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this story! And I am surprised/shocked I never heard of Lucy, living most of my life in Delaware, and the many NJ seaside trips I’ve made. Thank you for sharing, I may still one day head over to see Lucy, a good road trip with the grandkids! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. inese says:

    Amazing example of architecture! Glad Lucy has been taken care of during all these long years.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That’s a strong spirit animal.
    Working with architects as i do, i see many amazing projects and this is one of them. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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