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Lucy the Elephant is not a giant animal but a six-storey building built by the real estate tycoon James V. Lafferty in Margate City, New Jersey in 1882 but was sold to new owners in 1887. It is a great example of novelty or zoomorphic architecture, an innovative idea Lafferty used to sell real estate and attract tourism when he was granted a patent by the US Patent Office giving him the exclusive right to make, use or sell animal-shaped buildings for seventeen years.

Standing 65-foot high and weighing 90 tons, Lucy the Elephant is made of about a million pieces of woods and about 12,000 square feet of tin sheets. Several elephant buildings were built by Lafferty in the United States but only Lucy survived.

Lucy the Elephant, formerly called the ?Elephant Bazaar?, has become, at one time or another, a restaurant, a business office, a tavern, a house and a tourist attraction until she was abandoned in the late 1960?s and almost collapsed. However, through the help of the Margate Civic Association and its ?Save Lucy? campaign, Lucy was relocated and renovated in 1970 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Today, Lucy stands as a tourist attraction where visitors can experience the interior of the elephant building through a spiral staircase on one of its hind legs and have a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean once they have reached the open-air ?howdah? (a seat with canopy) atop Lucy?s back.
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