Lucy the Elephant is a unique and fascinating attraction that has captivated visitors for over 140 years. Built in 1881 by real estate developer James Lafferty as a promotional tool to attract potential buyers to his land in South Atlantic City (now Margate), Lucy has endured many challenges over the years.
The popularity of the nearby Elephant Hotel, built around Lucy, made her a destination for presidents and royalty from around the world who came to stay at the hotel and climb to the top of her howdah. Despite surviving hurricanes, ocean floods, and even a fire started by drunken party-goers, by the 1960s neglect had become Lucy’s biggest challenge. The once magnificent icon of the South Jersey coast was in a state of disrepair.
In 1970, a developer planned to build a condominium on the site, but the Save Lucy Committee stepped in and raised enough funds to move the decaying structure two blocks away to a new location owned by the city. Over the next 30 years and with 1.5 million dollars, Lucy was fully restored to her former glory and in 1976 was named a National Historic Landmark by the US government as the oldest surviving example of “zoomorphic” architecture and America’s oldest “roadside” attraction.
Today, Lucy is the most popular non-gaming attraction in the Atlantic City area and is famous globally as “The World’s Largest Elephant.” She stands as a testament to the determination and passion of those who fought to preserve her and is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the area.
Visitors can tour Lucy and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area from the top of her howdah. There is also a museum on the first floor that showcases her history and the efforts that went into her restoration. Whether you are a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or just looking for a unique and fascinating attraction, a visit to Lucy the Elephant is sure to be a memorable experience.
9200 Atlantic Ave
Margate City, New Jersey, 08402