Saturday, July 07, 2012

Lucy the Elephant

A trip to the beaches of New Jersey is not complete without a visit to Lucy the Elephant!

She's nearly 131 years old, and this Roadside America sweetheart is one of my childhood favorites.

Standing at 6-stories tall and tipping the scales at 90 tons, she was built of wood and tin sheet metal to attract visitors.

We got to climb the steep staircase in her left hind leg, watch a movie about her history in her abdomen, glance inside her stomach to see the large plastic peanuts she had eaten for lunch, and even look out the portals she has as eyes to view the ocean.  Finally, we made one more ascent up a steep staircase to her back, where we could pop outside and enjoy the view of the ocean, Margate City, and the Atlantic City skyline.

Over the years, Lucy has served as a hotel, restaurant, business office, cottage, personal residence, and tavern.  But Lucy had fallen into disrepair by the 1960s and was scheduled for demolition.  Thankfully, she was moved and refurbished as a result of a "Save Lucy" campaign in 1970 and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

I remember hearing from my parents that Lucy was struck by lightning for the first time in 2006.  Sadly, the tips of her tusks became black.  But fortunately, that was the only thing that happened to her!

Michael's sense of sentimentality comes out at unique times, and I love him for it.  His sense of "family traditions" began to emerge, and I watched lovingly as his fatherly eyes scanned the gift shop for something he could give our child.  We didn't have the money to spend, really, but at moments like this, there is no stopping him.  :)

So we splurged and bought an artist's original impressionistic depiction of Lucy using soft, beautiful colors.  It was the only one of its kind, and it was framed, hanging on the gift shop wall.  One of the first things that Michael did when we got home was to hang it in our baby's nursery.  It looks great!

This is the view out Lucy's eyes!

An original door and an original rib of Lucy's, before her renovation.  :)

The view of her head and ears while we stood on her back!

Even the town of Margate's water tower has a picture of Lucy the Elephant on it!
Here we are on top of Lucy's back!  :)