The largest elephant in the world is made of wood and tin sheeting. “Lucy” was built south of Atlantic City in 1882 by James V. Lafferty, who hoped to attract tourists and sell real estate.
Lafferty saw big potential in “zoomorphic architecture,” apparently. He got an exclusive patent on animal-shaped buildings, and soon surpassed Lucy with an Elephantine Colossus at Coney Island. At 12 stories tall, it was twice Lucy’s size, with a cigar store in one leg, a dioramic display in another, hotel rooms in the body, and an observation area at the top, with panoramic views of the sea.
Sadly, the Elephantine Colossus was destroyed by fire in 1896, but Lucy herself still stands, and has served as a restaurant, a business office, a cottage, a hotel, and a tavern. Today she’s a national historic landmark.