Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Elephants on Parade

Last week, I talked I chronicled an unusual elephant-shaped building in the City. The inspirations for that post were the three exemplars of zoomorphic architecture constructed by James V. Lafferty in the late nineteenth century. The first (and the only one still in existence) was “Lucy,” built in 1881 in what is now Margate, New Jersey. Lucy is 65 feet tall and 60 feet long. Here’s the plan for Lucy filed with the U.S. patent office:


Lafferty built one larger. The Elephantine Colossus, built on Coney Island in 1888, was 122 feet tall. It was destroyed in a fire in 1896, but here’s a diagram of its insides:


The third was 40 feet tall, and built in Cape May, New Jersey, in 1884. It was named “The Light of Asia,” but known as “Old Dumbo” to the locals. Never financially successful, it was partial torn down, and what left of it was burnt in 1900.

I think any of these structures would make an unusual set-piece in a Victorian (or perhaps an unorthodox Old West) game. They certain could inspire similar structures for use in any era or setting.

12 comments:

Tim Shorts said...

Great stuff Trey. I always find twisting stuff already in our real world history makes the best weird stuff because of the element of reality already built-in.

Brutorz Bill said...

I agree with Tim, your posts are always quite inspiring. Truth is stranger than fiction!

Greg Gorgonmilk said...

Wow. I had no idea such a thing existed. Lafferty gets my respect!

Porky said...

Like Greg I had no idea about any of this. Funny to think. It was here once, in our reality. Tim's right, Brutorz too about the inspiration.

Trey said...

Thanks guys. Glad you found them as inspirational as I did.

Harald said...

Too cool! I need a palace like this on Argos, I think...

I also liked the roaming mastodon from Friday. I imagine it would make a good get-away vehicle for heists and other such unsavoury activities for the evil Lich-tourage.

Trey said...

"Lich-tourage"--I like that. :)

Thanks, Harald.

The Angry Lurker said...

That one in Jersey used to be a brothel for a while I believe. Good post.

Trey said...

I remember reading that in one place, but I couldn't relocate it when I was writing the piece so I left it out.

Lagomorph Rex said...

your world you are building I think, would be the perfect place for roving bands of elephants..

I'd recently read an article which discussed how the king of Siam offered several elephants to Lincoln for use in the prosecution of the US civil war. Lincoln said that trains worked fine and declined the offer.. but what if he hadn't? Fighting Joe Wheeler's cavalry vs elephants?

Gone with the Wind meets the Pelenor Fields.

Jay said...

I've actually been inside Lucy for a tour. I went about four years ago when we were down the shore for a family event. If I can find the photos, I'll dig them up and post 'em.

Trey said...

@Lagomorph - Interesting story. You're right, there's a lot of potential there.

@Jay - Cool! You should definitely post those.