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Helen Betts | all galleries >> Rediscovering Home >> Washington Rediscovered: Year 2 >> ‘Roadside Attractions’ at the US Botanic Garden > Lucy the Elephant, Margate City, New Jersey
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Lucy the Elephant, Margate City, New Jersey

We visited the US Botanic Garden’s annual “Season’s Greenings” display titled “Roadside Attractions” featuring plant-based recreations of iconic sights from across the United States, with G gauge model trains chugging around, below, through and above the displays.

Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant-shaped building that is the oldest surviving roadside tourist attraction in America. Lucy’s original purpose was to promote real estate sales, and potential buyers would stand on the carriage atop the elephant surveying land parcels for sale. Today, Lucy’s carriage still serves as an observation deck for tourists. Lucy the Elephant’s builder, James V. Lafferty, won a patent that gave him exclusive rights for constructing animal-shaped buildings for the duration of 17 years. Lucy is the only surviving creation of Lafferty, who also built two other elephant-shaped buildings. Lucy’s tusks technically identify her as a male, but local tradition has solidified her identity as a female.

Building materials: cork bark, gourd, white fungus, turkey tail fungus, walnut shell, bamboo, eucalyptus leaves, pistachio, peach pit, hickory hull, mahogany pods, orange slices, coral stick

Indian Chief motorcycle, 1948, posted earlier:

Nikon D810 ,Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
1/200s f/4.5 at 35.0mm iso6400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Julie Oldfield09-Dec-2017 01:22
Great shot. I really like the colors. It is lovely. V
Ika Zinka Eferl07-Dec-2017 15:12
Very pretty capture of this amazing miniaturized Lucy the Elephant! V
Milan Vogrin07-Dec-2017 14:36
Nice colours and details. V
victorswan07-Dec-2017 14:12
so beautiful and cute this rose olifand very cool image Helen well done
marie-jose wolff07-Dec-2017 11:41
so beautiful and dreamy image! V
Graeme07-Dec-2017 10:43
A beautiful and colourful display, Helen. I like the windows in the elephant.V
Charlene Ambrose07-Dec-2017 08:11
A very colorful addition to this display. Her history is very interesting. I had never heard of her. V
François Fauchard07-Dec-2017 04:31
It is a story hardly believable that of the building Lucy the elephant. It's very interesting to know. Nice image.
Nick Paoni07-Dec-2017 03:26
Miniature Lucy is so cool, so I can only imagine how neat the full sized version must be.
larose forest photos07-Dec-2017 01:44
Amazing. Have not heard of this place or of Lucy, but a fine rendering of her in miniature and a great shot. V
LynnH07-Dec-2017 01:20
My Aunt & Uncle lived in Margate N.J. in the 60s - 80s and their house was 2 blocks from Lucy. Been there many times. It was in disrepair in the 80s and the top was closed. We visited again in 2009 and it had been restored. Its so cool how they make these displays from organic bits. V
Jean D07-Dec-2017 01:17
Terrific capture of this amazing miniaturized work, Helen. ~V
Jim Coffman07-Dec-2017 01:01
Wow, I have never heard of Lucy.. Nicely captured..