What Lucy The Elephant Could Teach Brigantine

Lucy on Verge of Tear DownEven with the best beaches in South Jersey, along with prime property, safe streets and easy access to Atlantic City, Brigantine is still looking for a retail & tourism rebound. Maybe a Margate elephant could teach us a thing or two?

From , as seen in POP DUST >>

In 1881, eight years before the completion of the Eiffel Tower, a real estate entrepreneur named James Lafferty built a six-story high wooden elephant on a deserted stretch of barrier island beach just south of Atlantic City, in southern New Jersey.

Lafferty’s goal was simple. He owned a lot of nearby land and he needed a gimmick to attract potential buyers. The gimmick was Lucy, the Margate Elephant.

Ninety years later, Lucy was a tattered, wasting-away wreck, when two local ladies undertook her restoration. They raised $25,000 with cookies and bake sales to move the building from the ground it stood on behind a local bar to a public park next to a hot dog stand. One day shortly afterward, they approached a local advertising man and said “We need advertising help.” “What for,” he responded. “To save Lucy,” they said.

“It seems that a private school in Connecticut needed to renovate a building, but they didn’t have the funds. They had plenty of local connections, but no money. So some clever parent came up with the idea of approaching a friendly bank for a loan, having each parent family co-sign the loan for a thousand dollars and agree to pay the annual interest until the loan was repaid by the school. The school got the money they needed. The kids got a renovated school. And, the parents got a tax deduction for the interest they paid and the warm feeling that they’d done something good for the school. So, let’s do the same thing here.

This all took place in the early 1970s when Atlantic City had hit rock bottom. As viewers of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire know, this wasn’t the first time; Atlantic City’s roller coaster economics have been a topic of fascination since its founding. But this time, a perfect storm of negative events had caused its convention and tourism business to collapse and casinos were only a dream on the horizon. The first  casino referendum failed, but the second one passed. The campaign promised the moon to local supporters, but for nearly forty years casino owners focused mainly on delivering point-to-point visitors to their fortresses, which were consciously built to diminish the natural attractions of the island.

READ FULL POP DUST STORY HERE  http://popdust.com/2014/11/26/margate-atlantic-city-elephant-lucy-history-lesson/#slide1

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3 thoughts on “What Lucy The Elephant Could Teach Brigantine”

  1. I think that Brigantine needs to figure out a way to convince the 2nd home owners on the island that Brigantine is a year round destination and not just a summer vacation spot. As a vacation home owner on the island, I enjoy going all year round. The only exception is how the businesses shut down. Because of this, the town almost becomes a ghost town. The town and businesses need to come up with enticements to bring those that own back. And locals need to convince these businesses that they are needed year round to increase the economy. I can’t tell you how many locals I know. Tell me how they go off island because there is nothing to do in Brigantine after Labor Day. Listen to the locals. Lets fill the empty CVS with a business that can entertain all of Brigantine year round. How about another bowling alley or a movie theater? Bring back the farmers market which can turn into a craft market for the holidays. Lets get the shuttered for summer businesses open again. Restaurants should offer entertainment year round. Change has to come from within.

  2. Great idea- bowling alley-Brigantine Lanes- 12 alleys-game room-lounge with entertainment-no main land travel to bowl! Our winter residence has all of the above and has the population of Brigantine. They manage to stay profitable in the off season by offering summer leagues at a discount.It also brings good teams from other towns and think of the summers. A place for our teenagers to gather and take part in a supervised recreational activity. All positive.

  3. I am a second home owner also, I read the comments .

    The owners have the ultimate incentive to visit Brigantine year round they have a property. But it is difficult with kids in school, weekend sports etc.
    We have all the draw you can imagine with AC here we have it all.
    The small local businesses struggle and some close for the winter as the market is small and will not change, they cannot stay open if there is not enough business to make it pay.
    Margate and ventnor have the same problem , they are ghost towns also and have their traffic lights blinking all winter.

    With the coming of the Bass Pro Shop the small bait and tackle shops will have to struggle.

    We bought here, it was this way and will continue to be for a long time in the future.

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