Folly Fridays: Lucy the Elephant
This week we are looking at a rather magical building that stands astride the New Jersey Coastline in America; Lucy the Elephant!!
Lucy is a 65ft tall wooden elephant with external tin sheeting built in 1882 by James Vincent de Paul Lafferty, Jr.
Lafferty was a real Estate developer and built Lucy to attract sales and tourists to his holdings. She required 200 kegs of nails, 4 tons of bolts and nails and 12,000 sheets of tin. Lafferty originally took prospective buyers up to Lucy’s Howdah to view parcels of land for sale.
Lucy in her history has been a restaurant, cottage, office and even a tavern, although this was closed by the Prohibition
Through the first half of the 20th century, Lucy served as a restaurant, business office, cottage, and tavern (the last closed by Prohibition). As with many heritage buildings, Lucy was falling into disrepair in the 60’s and was set for demolition in 1969. She was saved by a group of Margate Citizens led by Edwin T. Carpenter who were given a 30-day deadline to move to the edifice or pay for its demolition. They managed to raise enough funds by various fundraising activities including door to door canvassing.
In 1970, the building was moved about 100 yards inwards from the Sh. The building’s original wooden frame was buttressed new steel, and the deteriorated howdah was replaced with a replica. A plug of green glass set into the howdah platform refracts light into Lucy’s interior.
Today Lucy is a popular visitor attraction on the New Jersey Shoreline and is a registered national Landmark.
For more info visit http://www.lucytheelephant.org