NJ’s favorite piece of roadside kitsch gets a much needed boost
Lucy the Elephant, the famous Jersey Shore attraction, is getting a grant to help with her restoration.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, the funds are coming in the form of a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service.
“We are thrilled to receive this “Save America’s Treasures” grant from the National Park Service,” Richard Helfant, executive director of the Save Lucy Committee, said in a statement. “This award signifies the importance of Lucy on a national level, and it will go a long way toward completing our restoration project.”
“This is an enormous financial undertaking,” Helfant noted. “We are so fortunate to have been awarded a grant. ... The cost of this project is projected to be $2 million. The balance of funding will be raised by donations to the nonprofit and fundraising campaigns.”
Lucy was closed in September to replace her outer metal “skin,” which had deteriorated over the years. She’s scheduled to reopen on Memorial Day 2022.
The grant is coming from the National Park Service’s “Save America’s Treasures” program which seeks to preserve and protect historic buildings, arts, and published works.
Lucy, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark In 1976, was originally built in 1881 by a real estate developer hoping to sell lots in Margate (then known as South Atlantic City), the six-story pachyderm served as an office, a tavern, and a cottage before falling into disrepair in the 1960s. She was even scheduled for demolition.
The Save Lucy Committee was formed and raised the money to both move her and renovate her. In 1970, she was moved about 100 yards to a city-owned lot and the original wood structure was buttressed by steel. She has now been in the same spot for 50 years. Tours became available in 1974.
She was also used as an Air BnB earlier this year.
The city of Margate threw Lucy a 140th birthday party earlier this year.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.