Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Down The Shore With Lucy

Building Sandcastles
Suelynn Cotton

When I was a little girl, summertime mean't,
 "going down the shore"
 as we say here in southern New Jersey.
 Dad and Mom took us on a day trip
 to swim and play 
on the sandy shores of Avalon, or
sometimes to Margate,where the 
lonely relic of Lucy The Elephant, 
once a major 19th and early 20th
century, Atlantic City area tourist attraction
stood weathering just off the beach.

 Vintage Postcard Featuring
"Lucy The Elephant"
Margate, New Jersey

 I  can clearly remember
 Mom occasionally and loudly reminding us kids,
"Stay away from that elephant!"
as we played on the beach.
Wading in the ocean and allowing the waves 
to carry us back to the shoreline was fun,
  but so were the endless hours of
making sand castles and collecting sea shells.
 I always had such a good time.
 I never wanted to leave the beach!

On The Beach
Margate, New Jersey

Although I remember her standing
 in weathered condition near the beach,
 Lucy was the innovative brain child of
a man named James Lafferty, who in 1881,
 designed the elegant elephant by the sea,
complete with her ornate howdah,
as a novel approach to sell real estate,
and to attract tourists spending their
summer vacations down the shore.

While she was never used as a hotel, as
she was sometimes portrayed on
shore postcards, over the years
 Lucy served as a restaurant,
 business office, cottage, and a tavern.
By 1969, however, the forlorn 
elephant structure had fallen into
such a state of serious dilapidation,
she was scheduled for a date 
with the wrecking ball.


Fortunately, that same year,
in an effort to save this historic landmark,
 a group of concerned Margate citizens 
banded together and formed the
  the Margate Civic Association,
which would later become known as
the Save Lucy Committee. 
In 1976, Lucy was designated
a National Historic Landmark. 

Through much time, effort, and perseverance
on behalf of many dedicated people,
today Lucy has been fully restored to
 her former Victorian era glory.

The iconic pachyderm once again proudly stands as
 a popular tourist destination near the beach.
Lucy even withstood a brush with
Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when the
storm made landfall near Margate.
Lucy The Elephant will always be
 a special part of the unique history
of the New Jersey shore,
a memory of simpler times,
and the happy, carefree days
of my childhood summers.

Lucy Today


  1. Well written..
    I really want to see Lucy in person this summer.

  2. Me too! It's been a long time since I went down the shore! Thanks for commenting my sister! Love you!