MARGATE (CBS) — America’s oldest roadside attraction in Margate is celebrating its birthday.
Lucy the Elephant turns 137-years-old Sunday.
The iconic attraction is older than the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
“She was built in 1881 as a gimmick by Philadelphia developer, James Lafferty,” said Richard Helfant, executive director and CEO of Lucy the Elephant.
Lafferty hoped to entice visitors from Atlantic City so he could sell real estate, but Lafferty didn’t have much success.
He sold it to the Gertzen family who kept Lucy until deciding to sell their land to the developer of a condominium.
By that time she was badly damaged, condemned and scheduled to be demolished. That’s when a group of citizens came to her rescue, finding a new home for her just two blocks away.
“They lobbied for this land, they raised the money, they formed this nonprofit and miraculously they pulled it all together and moved her on July 20, 1970,” explained Helfant.
She was restored and reopened to visitors in 1974 where she’s been busy building memories ever since.
The threat of severe weather forced the Atlantic County shore town to delay the birthday party on Saturday.
The carnival-style festivities kicked off at 10 a.m. and will last until 8 p.m. Sunday.