Local Legends: Atlantic City, NJ

This week we’ll be looking at a local sculpture native to New Jersey, in the coastal town of Margate City right on the Jersey shore. This town has a population of 5998 with one particular resident standing out among the rest. This resident’s name is Lucy, a magnificent sculpture of an elephant made in 1881 by James V. Lafferty with the help of William Free and J. Mason Kirby. She is made with a wooden infrastructure and vibrantly colored tin sheeting. Lucy was originally made to promote business and create tourism and still maintains that duty as one of the oldest roadside attractions in the area.

Lucy is the most popular girl in Margate City with over 130,000 visitors each year. It can be said that Lucy is the highlight of the humble town. Tours are available to view Lucy’s interior which features a museum that catalogs Lucy’s interesting history. Visitors can even spend a few nights in Lucy during certain times of the year on sites like Airbnb. Lucy is six stories tall and about 60 feet long so missing her is nigh impossible.

Born and raised in New Jersey, I have a sense of pride in where I grew up and I like to be aware of what is in my backyard in a sense. This attraction is fun, cute, and has a ton of personality. Lucy speaks to the quirkiness of New Jersey and small towns in general. She’s big, flashy, and tough to boot. Acting as both a public installation and a novel architectural structure, Lucy the elephant is a marvelous blend of art and architecture. Her purpose is to bring in the tourists so if you’re ever in the area, drop by to let her know that she’s doing a fine job. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

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