An attention-grabbing example of creative late-Victorian architecture, Lucy the Elephant looms majestically over the surrounding buildings of Margate City, just two miles south of Atlantic City. Standing at a staggering 65 feet, this original landmark provides magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. This brainchild of engineer and inventor James Vincent de Paul Lafferty, Jr. weighs in at a tremendous 90 tons and has led quite an interesting life since her creation in 1881. In her 128 years, she has been used as a beach home, lively seaside tavern, restaurant, business office, and all the while a popular tourist destination. In 1976, the U.S. Department of the Interior recognized Lucy the Elephant as a National Historic Landmark.
After World War II, Lucy faded into the background as America made room for highways, airplanes, and suburbia. However, just before she was scheduled to be torn down, the Margate Civic Associate formed the "Save Lucy Committee" in 1969, dedicated to helping Lucy regain her place as a beloved landmark and memorable tourist attraction. Lucy again caused a spectacle in 1970 when she was moved to her present beachfront location, as she creaked and groaned her way down Atlantic Avenue to the tune of thousands of bewildered spectators cheering her on. After extensive exterior renovations, she officially opened to the public again in 1974. Today, she happily resides on the coasts of Margate, invoking looks of pure marvel from all those who come to visit her.
Tours are offered daily, during which guests enter through one of her Lucy's rear legs, ascending a set of spiral stairs leading to her stomach. Experienced guides lead visitors around each crevice of this peculiar structure before finally ascending a staircase ending in the "howdah," or the ornate seat on Lucy's back, where they are greeted with stunning views of the sky and surf. Despite Lucy's success in recent years, the Save Lucy Committee is still working hard to keep up with renovations, and fundraisers are currently underway to turn Lucy's belly into a historic museum of the shore's lively past. After 100-plus years, there is no telling what Lucy's future will bring, but it is clear that this loveable beast has become an eccentric trademark of Atlantic City tourism.
- Wednesday through Friday: 11am to 4pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 5pm
- Adults: $6, Children Ages 2 to 12: $3, Children Under 2: Free
- Location: 9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ
- Phone: 609-823-6473
- Website: www.lucytheelephant.org
- Save Lucy Committee, Inc., P.O. Box 3336, Margate, NJ 08402