Lucy, the world’s largest “elephant,” celebrated her 128th birthday in 2009 in her hometown of Margate City, New Jersey. Built of tin and wood in 1882 by James V. Lafferty as a publicity stunt, Lucy was modeled after Jumbo, P.T. Barnum’s real life “Largest Elephant on Earth.” Lucy is much larger then Jumbo was and stands 65 feet high, 60 feet long, 18 feet wide, is made of nearly one million pieces of wood, and weighs about 90 tons.
Housing a small building space, Lucy has held business offices, a restaurant, and a tavern over her years. Today, for a small fee, tourists can enter via a spiral staircase in her leg. Inside Lucy is a small museum of her history, with old photographs and a short film.
Lafferty designed and built three other giant elephant buildings; Lucy was the first, followed by another on Coney Island, New York, and the third one in Cape May. Lucy is the only surviving elephant, saved from demolition plans in the 1960s by a “Save Lucy” campaign.
She was struck by lightening in 2006, blackening her tusks. Lucy is now a National Historic Landmark, and is two miles south of Atlantic City.