The History And Mystery Behind New Jersey's Wooden Elephant Is More Intriguing Than You Might Think
Nearly everyone in New Jersey has visited Lucy the Elephant, but did you know that she’s got quite a history behind her? She’s one of the largest statues in the country and draws visitors from all over. Learn a little bit about this iconic elephant, so that the next time you visit Margate, you’ll know all about Lucy.
Elephant Bazaar, a.k.a Lucy the Elephant, is the oldest roadside attraction in the country. Standing six stories high, this tin-and-wood pachyderm was built in 1881 by a Margate City resident, James Lafferty. She was built to attract tourists and residents to Margate, and she has since become quite an icon.
Lucy came to be in an odd way - Lafferty was granted the exclusive rights to make animal-shaped buildings for 17 years. She cost over $25,000 to make. Modeled after "Dumbo," she's 65 feet tall, 60 feet long, and weighs 90 tons. It took one million pieces of wood to make her.
Lucy was a restaurant, an office, a cottage, and a tavern during the early 1900s. By the 1960s, she had fallen into disrepair. Despite being the 12th tallest statue in the U.S., interest was waning, and it took a group of Margate citizens to raise money and eventually restore, and save, this elegant elephant.
Did you know that you can stay overnight inside Lucy? Beginning in 2020, she has been occasionally opened for Airbnb stays. In 2021, she closed again for significant repairs, but she should be open again to the public by summer 2022.
To learn even more about Lucy the Elephant,
plan a guided tour! Be sure to check construction updates, as an enormous statue like this requires regular maintenance and is occasionally closed.
For more fun roadside attractions here in the Garden State, read
12 Bizarre Roadside Attractions In New Jersey That Will Make You Do A Double Take and plan to explore more of New Jersey this year.
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Lucy the Elephant, 9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ 08402, USA