Monday, March 14, 2011

"Lucy the Elephant," Scarborough Inn's Neighbor

Lucy the Elephant
"Lucy the Elephant" in nearby Margate, NJ, is a close neighbor of the Scarborough Inn in Ocean City, NJ and well worth a visit during your Jersey Shore vacation!

Lucy is an example of a building style popular in the late Victorian period and commonly called a "Victorian folly" for the unique and fanciful nature of such structures ("...in architecture, a building constructed primarily for decoration." Wikipedia).  Elephant-shaped, weighing 90 tons, and 6-stories tall, Lucy is certainly decorative, but she was constructed for a specific purpose and that was to call attention to a building project by local developer, James Lafferty.  In fact, the idea of constructing an animal-shaped building was so revolutionary that Lafferty was granted a patent for the idea in 1882.

Following her stint as a PR star, Lucy went through several incarnations, serving as a tavern, small hotel, and tourist attraction.  Windjammer logs indicate that on a clear day Lucy is visible from 8 miles out at sea.  However, she narrowly escaped the wrecking ball several times due to severe deterioration of her wood frame and tin skin.  In 1969, the Save the Lucy Committee was formed to restore and maintain what is purported to be the oldest animal-shaped building in the United States.  Happily, the group continues to be dedicated...and successful... so Scarborough Inn guests can visit this fascinating attraction during an Ocean City New Jersey vacation.

In 2010, Lucy the Elephant was listed on the Time's Top 50 American Roadside Attractions and NJN (New Jersey Network) has featured this unique structure in a TV documentary entitled, "Our Vanishing Past." "target="_blank"

Thankfully, Lucy is definitely NOT vanishing and she's only a 12-minute drive from the Scarborough Inn!

Lucy the Elephant
9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate, NJ (609-823-6473)
Admission charged

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