A New Jersey Curiosity

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Behold “Lucy the Margate Elephant,” possibly the most unusual building you’ll see anywhere in North America, and one of the proud possessions of New Jersey.

Lucy is six stories high. She was built in 1881 as a gimmick to attract tourists and promote real estate sales. By the 1960s she was in a woeful state of disrepair and the city of Margate was about to order her demolition. But a grass-roots fund-raising campaign saved her, and by 1970 she was gloriously restored. She is now an official national historical monument and also the oldest surviving roadside attraction in America.

If you’re ever traveling along the Jersey shore, you can find Lucy just off Route 9, just south of Atlantic City and north of Cape Map. It’s open to the public for $8.50 admission: you can go inside and look out the windows, and tell your grandchildren you were once inside an elephant.