Saturday, September 17, 2011
Today's photo (circa 1950) features a novelty structure known as "Lucy", in Margate, New Jersey (near Atlantic City). She was built in 1881 (!), and is six stories high, made of wood, covered in tin sheeting, and is the oldest surviving example of "zoomorphic" architecture in the United States.
A man named James Lafferty built Lucy in an effort to help sell real estate and to boost tourism. In fact, he built several elephant-shaped structures; one - The Elephantine Colossus - was 12 stories tall, with legs 60 feet in circumference! All of the other pachyderm premises burned down or were demolished over the years.
Here are some fun facts: Lucy is 65 feet high, 60 feet long, 18 feet wide, and weighs about 90 tons. She is made from almost one million pieces of wood. Her "small" ears delineate her as an Asian elephant, and yet she has tusks, which only male Asian elephants have.
She has served as an office, a restaurant, a tavern, and even a cottage... but never a hotel, despite rumors to the contrary.
You can still visit Lucy today! She had fallen into disrepair in the 1960's and was scheduled for demolition; but a successful "Save Lucy" campaign allowed her to be moved and completely restored. Hooray! She is now a National Historic Landmark.
And here I am living in a regular building, like a sucker.