Height 175 feet, 6 inches to the top of "Howdah's" or observatory,  From which a magnificent view can be had of an area of 50 miles of Ocean, the Bay's of New York, and the Cities of New York, Brooklyn Jersey City, and surrounding villages.  Total Length 203 feet; length of Body, 109 feet: Circumference of Body, 198 feet; Length of Neck 19 feet: Circumference of Neck, 128 feet: length of Legs, 60 feet; Circumference of Legs, 80 feet; Length of  Ears, 54 feet: Width of Ears 40 feet: Length of Tail, 70 feet; Diameter of Tail, 18 feet, tapering to 26 inches: Length of Trunk 72 feet; Diameter of Trunk 20 feet, tapering to 3 feet, 4 inches; Length of Tusks, 42 feet; diameter of Tusks, 12 feet,  tapering to 1 inch:  The Eyes which are composed of glass (2 inches thick) are 4 feet in Diameter.  The Gallery is 208 feet long, extending from the body 15 feet around the main hall on the inside.  The Canopied saddle or "Howdah" is 38 feet square, and 42 feet high.


DIMENSIONS-The Elephant is divided into 31 Rooms, designated Main Hall, 92x38 4-12 feet; Head room, 60x35 feet triangular shape; 2 Sides body rooms, each 54x10 feet; 2 Thigh rooms, each 88x10 feet; 2 Shoulder rooms, each 32x10 feet; 2 Cheek rooms, each 42x10 feet; 1 Throat room, 42x8 feet; 1 Stomach room, 66x22 feet; 4 Hoof rooms, each 182/3 x 122/3 feet and 12 feet high; 6 Limb rooms, 53x10 feet; 2 hip rooms, each 33x10 feet; 2 Shoulder rooms, each 33 x 71/2 feet; 2 Cheek rooms, each 40x10 feet; 1 trough room from which the Elephant is feeding 11 feet in diameter and 11 feet high circular.


The Elephant is ventilated by 63 windows, and illuminated by 25 Electric Lights, which is equal to 175,000 candles.  The Elephant in its construction contains three millions five hundred thousand foot of lumber: 11,000 kegs of nails, 12 tons of iron bolts and is covered by 57,ooo square feet of tin:  It took 263 men, 120 full working days to complete it, and was dedicated August 1884, Its entire cost being nearly a quarter of a million dollars.


LOCATION-Located on Surf Avenue, the principal thoroughfare on the island adjoining the Sea Beach Palace facing the Ocean, nearly opposite the Iron Piers, and the terminal of all the different Railroads and Steamboats, the Horse Car lines and the main drives from Brooklyn to Coney Island.


    The N.Y. and Sea Beach R.R. runs direct to entrance of Elephant


                          Under the Sole Management of


                                                               C.A. BRADENBURGH.








Click on Image for more about the Elephantine Colossus



Elephantine Colossus


Lucy's other relative Elephantine Colossus was built by James V. Lafferty at Coney Island, N.Y., as an attraction for the spot that at the time was the Disneyland of its era.


Work was started in the spring of 1884. The Elephant, intended strictly as an amusement attraction, is said to have cost $65,000. It measured 122 feet in height and contained seven floors of exhibits and rooms.


Built two years before the Statue of Liberty, the Coney Island Elephant caused considerable excitement. However, it was a financial loss from the beginning.


From the Howdah which topped the structure the visitor had an aerial view of more than 50 miles of ocean, bays and the cities of New York, Brooklyn and Jersey City.


The elephant was divided into 31 rooms, each with its own designation such as Main Hall, Shoulder Room, Throat Room, Stomach Room, etc.


Sixty-five windows took care of ventilation. It was illuminated by 25 electric lights. 

According to notes of J. T. McCaddon, manager, the Elephant contained 3,500,000 feet of lumber, 11,000 kegs of nails, 12 tons of iron bolts and is covered by 57,000 square feet of tin. It took 263 men, 129 full working days to complete.


Located on Surf Avenue, it was just across from the terminals of all the railroad and steamboat lines into Coney Island. In fact, McCaddon bragged that the "New York and Sea Beach RR runs direct to the entrance of the Elephant".


Finally Lafferty sold the structure to a Philadelphia syndicate. 


The structure's worth as an attraction faded as newer ones grew up around it and competed for the visitors' dollars. From newspaper accounts of the time it became somewhat of a run-down boarding house.


By 1896 it was practically a deserted structure.  On Sunday evening, Sept. 27, 1896, the Elephant building caught fire and crumbled to the sand.


Patent image by J.V. LAFFERTY


click on image for more information







West Brighton Beach                                                                                    Coney Island



The Elephant is 150 feet long, 122 feet high, surmounted by a howdah or observatory,  which commands a view of the Ocean, Bay; New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City, and surrounding Towns and Villages, divided into thirty-eight rooms comprising body, shoulder, cheek, throat, stomach, and limb rooms, entrance and exit through the rear limbs of The Elephant.


Termini of the N. W. and Sea Beach, N. Y. and Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn Bath and Coney Island, Prospect Park and Coney Island, Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroads; also the termini of Iron Steamboat Company, and all steamboat lines landing at the Iron Piers.  Directly on the concourse, (A magnificent roadway), and but forty minutes ride through Brooklyn from the Bridge.


Colossal Elephant, Coney Island


778 Sixth Ave.,  New York City


This card will Admit Gentleman to Elephant

Barer, when accompanied by a Lady


                                       JAMES B. LAFFERTY,





Magic Lantern Slide - Jumbo Colossus








Stereo View - Jumbo Colossus



Elephant Bazaar Coney Island














West Brighton Beach, Coney Island


Now in the Coarse of  Erection, Adorning the


Sea Beach Palace


and the termini of the Sea Beach, Prospect Park and Coney Island, Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroads, the elevated railroad connecting with the Brighton and Manhattan Beaches, and within one minute's walk of the Piers and the Iron Steamship Company's landing: now being constructed under the
patents of JAMES V. LAFFERTY, by J. MASON KIRBY, Architect.  Description as follows:

Height, 122 feet 6 inches to top of howdah or observatory, from which a magnificent view of the Ocean, Bay, Manhattan and Brighton Beaches, Race Tracks, &c., can be obtained.

Length, 150 feet: entrance and exit through the rear limbs; divided into main hall, head, body, thigh, shoulder, cheek, throat, stomach, hoof, limb and tail rooms, which will be utilized as a Bazaar, to be completed by June  15, or sooner.

Photographs of this wonderful novelty (cabinet size), price 25 cents for sale by all newsdealers stationers, and all the railroad stations throughout the United States  and Canada,  Rooms and spaces to rent.  Having arranged with all the railroad companies centering in New York City, we are prepared to arrange with churches, societies and others for excursions;  liberal rates and special trains: for terms, apply to the Elephant Building Company, 145 Broadway, corner Liberty street, New York City:  JAS. V. LAFFERTY. President; GEO. W. ALLEN, Secretary.  On and after June 1, 1884, we shall have six thousand (6,000) advertising spaces to let in the Elephant; terms, ten dollars ($10.00) per annum, payable monthly.











By 1896 it was practically a deserted structure.


On Sunday evening, Sept. 27, 1896, the Elephant building caught fire and crumbled to the sand.







Is this the Elephant Bazaar at West Brighton Beach, Coney Island

or Lucy the Margate Elephant Hotel Margate City N. J.?



click above image to read the rest of the story










Lucy the Margate Elephant

Elephant Hotel Margate City N.J.





Cape May, New Jersey is America's Oldest Seashore Resort and a National Historic Landmark. The West Cape May Improvement Company was founded in 1884 to sell lots and build streets in the area near the long lost Mount Vernon Hotel.

South Cape May was a borough that existed in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States, from 1894 to 1945. First settled in 1840, it contained a Lucy-type elephant named Light of Asia.

The Light of Asia was a 40-foot wooden Elephant built on land owned by the Theodore Reger of Philadelphia and built under the supervision of James Bradley, a builder of the area. Work began on the frame in May of 1884 from plans drawn by architect N.H. Culber, also of Philadelphia.

The structure was 40 feet, 10 inches tall, or 58 feet, 2 inches to the top of the howdah. The howdah itself was 11 feet long and the Elephant's trunk, which terminated in a large barrel on the ground, was 21 feet long. A wooden platform on which the Elephant was based was 834 feet, 9 inches long and 40 feet wide.

It was estimated that a million pieces of wood were used in the construction, plus 250 kegs of nails and six tons of bolts. The tinsmith supplied 13,400 square feet of tin to cover the framework.

Entrance was made through the hind legs and a spiral staircase led to a small concession stand inside. Refreshments were also sold from stands in the front legs of the structure.

In spite of the fact that hundreds of people arrived by excursion trains and boats to Cape May to see the Light of Asia. It was never a financial success. Concession and admittance fees never covered the $18,000 cost of construction. Samuel E. Ewing of Cape May was given a contract to tear it down. The last remains, according to newspaper reports of the day, were cremated on May 26, 1900.

South Cape May was badly wrecked by the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane, which hit in September of that year. After the hurricane, the borough was dissolved as of April 30, 1945, and returned to Lower Township.

The remaining land not underwater is part of a bird sanctuary.

                                                                                                              History from Wikipedia.



Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant-shaped architectural folly constructed of wood and tin sheeting in 1882 by James V. Lafferty in Margate City, New Jersey, two miles (3.2 km) south of Atlantic City, in an effort to sell real estate and attract tourism.

The idea of an animal-shaped building was innovative, and in 1882 the U.S. Patent Office granted Lafferty a patent giving him the exclusive right to make, use or sell animal-shaped buildings for seventeen years. Lucy is the oldest example of zoomorphic architecture.

Lafferty, in fact, constructed several elephant-shaped buildings. The first was built at South Atlantic City, which later changed its name to Margate. This structure, whose original name was "Elephant Bazaar", was dubbed "Lucy the Elephant" in 1900. She stands 65 feet (19.7 m) high, 60 feet (18.3 m) long, and 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, weighs about 90 tons, and is made of nearly one million pieces of wood. She was sold to new owners in 1887. The second to be built, the Elephantine Colossus, also known as the Elephant Hotel was built at Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn, New York. It was 12 stories (122 feet, 37.2 m) tall, with legs 60 feet in circumference. It held a cigar store in one leg and a dioramic display in another, hotel rooms within the elephant proper, and an observation area at the top with panoramic sea views. The Elephantine Colossus was destroyed by fire in 1896. The third, officially the Light of Asia, but dubbed Old Dumbo by locals, was built at Cape May in 1884. It was later torn down: only Lucy survived into the next century.



Elephant Bazaar, South Atlantic City, N. J.


This remarkable structure is the only one in the world built in this novel form, originated by James V. Lafferty, Philadelphia, who has secured Letters Patent, dated December 6th 1882, covering this and all buildings in the shape of Birds, Animals and Fishes.  The building is 87 feet long, 29 feet wide and 65 feet high, surmounted by a howdah or observatory, from which may be had a magnificent view of the Ocean, Bay.  Atlantic City, Ocean City, Somers' Point and adjacent Towns and Villages.  The entrance and exit is through the hind legs.




is situated 2 1/2 miles below Atlantic City, on the same beach, and has improved more rapidly than any other resort on the coast.   Railroad connections via Atlantic City, and steamboat via Somers' Point and Ocean City.




or will sell on Mortgage for a term of years to those who will improve at once.  Purchasers assisted to build.  For further particulars, apply to


    JAMES V. LAFFERTY, Secretary.


                                                                           106 MARKET STREET, CAMDEN, N. J.


        Or, THEO. H. M'CALLA, cor. Juniper and Filbert Sts., Phila.


                                                                     Or, GARDNER & SHINN, Atlantic City.






































Lucy Elephant Motel 1950





Visit Lucy the Margate Elephant!


If you have a question you would like to submit us at the Sideshow World


Return To Top      Back to Main


All photos are the property of their respective owners whether titled or marked anonymous.

"Sideshow WorldTM" is the sole property of John Robinson   All rights reserved.

is the sole property of John Robinson   All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster