My wife and I both received text messages today from friends informing us of a fire that had burned down Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum in nearby Orrtanna, PA. Mr. Ed's was a cherished old-school roadside attraction that has been featured in countless books, magazine articles and documentaries about wacky, tacky and off-beat tourist attractions.
My family and I are lucky enough that we had recently made the 35 min. trek out to Mr. Ed's on a beautiful afternoon this past spring. The little shack on the side of Rt. 30 housed thousands upon thousands of elephant items that the owner, Mr. Ed, had collected over the past 40+ years.
In addition to figures and stuffed animals there were old toys, promotion items, jewelry...anything you can imagine with an elephant on it! The collection was originally displayed in two very long rooms, but recently the collection had busted out of the museum and began to line the walls of the shop surrounding the Elephant Museum. In recent years, Mr. Ed also put some work into the outside of the museum where there were many large elephant statues as well as a beautiful fish pond and some neat little paths.
Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum was also home to a wonderful candy shop that sold all sorts of candy for very reasonable prices. All the standards were there, along with tons of hard to find candies and some old fashioned varieties that you just can't find anywhere else. On our most recent trip, my son was delighted to find a maple sugar cake, which we had read about in an old book.
Old fashioned, low-tech family attractions like Mr. Ed's are as common as they used to be...and that's a crying shame! The collection at Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum is truly irreplaceable. Luckily, Mr. Ed has already announced that he plans to rebuild and reopen his elephant mecca very soon. I will miss the original museum, but I also can't wait to see what Mr. Ed has in store for us next!
You can read a newspaper article about the fire: here.
There's also this photo page that I made after my first visit in 2005, which can be viewed by clicking here!