The harrowing drive from Scotrun, PA to Port Republic, 15 miles north of Atlantic City, NJ, was only 168 miles. We drove south from I-80 on US Hwy 206 right through some beautiful countryside and also Princeton and Trenton, whew. Dave is glad he doesn’t have to do that one again.
Our two week stay is going to take us on a little touring of Atlantic City area. We want to see the boardwalk, Lucy, The Margate Elephant, and Absecon Lighthouse.
After the quick 15 mile drive we drove into Atlantic city, but soon head south 4 miles to Margate. We walked along the beach, dipped our toes in the Atlantic Ocean, had a nice lunch at the Atlantic Club, then walked along the famed boardwalk for awhile. It was a very hot day of +90 degrees and high humidity, so we didn’t extend ourselves too much.
Lucy stood off in the distance, looking away from us, as if inviting us to come closer to see. Her huge gray head and brightly colored howdah were the first aspects we noticed as we approached from Atlantic Ave. An excitement stirred within us, something akin to a childhood giddiness. Lucy was born in 1881 as a real estate sales gimmick or novelty to draw customers. Presidents and royalty came from around the world to stay at the neighboring Elephant Hotel and climb the stairs to Lucy’s howdah. Lucy has survived hurricanes, ocean floods, and even a fire accidently started by some inebriated party-goers when she served as a tavern. However, by the 1960’s, it became apparent there was one disaster Lucy could not overcome – neglect. By that time, the once proud jewel of the South Jersey isles had become an almost hopeless, condemned structure. Eventually a developer purchased Lucy’s lot and intended to build a new condominium building the site. The beach and the ocean could stay – but the elephant had to go!
To the recue came the Save Lucy Committee. Within weeks, this small, concerned group of ordinary citizen had raised enough money to move the entire decaying structure two blocks away to a new site owned by the city. Thirty years and over one million dollars later, Lucy has bee completely restored to her original splendor, inside and out. In 1976 Lucy was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Government as the oldest surviving example of a unique form of “zoomorphic” architecture. Today she is every bit as popular and beloved as she ever was. Standing 65 feet, weighing in at 60 tons, Lucy was built by shipbuilders using their methods, her eyes are windows, stairs in her legs, she is in great hands now having been updated and modernized.
For more info go to: www.LucytheElephant.org
On the far north side of Atlantic City stands the stoic tower of the Absecon Lighthouse. Though now four blocks inland the Absecon used to be on the shore! The Absecon is one of the few “steady light” beams, the lighthouse tower is 171 feet and the tallest along the Jersey Shore., its daymark is colored white and blue and white, 240 stair steps, at commissioning the light could be seen for 19.5 miles!