Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Lucy the Margate Elephant

New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund
Grant Award: $182,390 (1992); $305,190 (1995); $20,400 (2019); $673,668 (2020)
Grant Recipient: Save Lucy Committee, Inc.
County: Atlantic
Municipality: Margate City

Standing six stories high and weighing ninety tons, Lucy the Margate Elephant is a rare example of a nineteenth century architectural "folly." One of three elephants designed and built in 1881 by engineer, inventory and real estate speculator James Lafferty, only Lucy survives. More than 25,000 visitors annually pay homage to this National Historic Landmark, entering through one of Lucy's legs and exploring the museum housed within her main body.

Lucy is an enduring--and endearing--symbol of the Jersey shore, but she required a great deal of work to ensure her continued survival. A Trust matching grant in 1993 funded exterior repairs, including replacement of deteriorated wood at the "howdah"--the observation pavilion mounted on Lucy's back. The 1995 grant continued these exterior and structural repairs, halting moisture-induced deterioration of wooden sheathing within Lucy's "belly." The 2019 grant helped fund test chemical stripping and assessment. The 2020 grant will help fund phase 2 exterior restoration including exterior cladding replacement and repainting.

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