Erwin, Tennessee: Big Mary the Elephant

Save to My Sights
Big Mary the Elephant
Memorial to circus elephant Big Mary. She killed a trainer, and was publicly hanged for it. Latest report is the town is no longer promoting Big Mary. Report...

Visitor Tips and News About Big Mary the Elephant

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Mural is gone.

Hanged Elephant

The painting is no longer there. We walked up and down town and could not find it. We stopped in at the local newspaper office and inquired about it. The editor said that it had been painted over and the paper was planning a special edition for next year, which would be the 100th anniversary.

[Shawn Griffith, 10/11/2015]

The painting (a mural) was of a little girl on a swing held by the hand of God, which was painted over a mural of the hanged elephant. Erwin has apparently divested itself of its last once-removed reminder of its elephant-hanging past -- but you can still buy copies of the paperback, "The Day They Hung the Elephant," in East Tennessee's better gift shops.

Big Mary the Elephant, Put In The Past

Cute town, but not worth getting off the highway, at least as far as an "attraction" goes -- settling for knowing these folks hung an elephant is more than enough. The town wants to put this event behind them, and the location is proof of this.

[Team Funkmonkey, 01/01/2014]

Girl on a Swing.

Big Mary the Elephant

Driving into town from the north you can park in front of the line of stores and walk to the end of the block. The "replacement" painting of the Swing Girl is on the side of the building. It is faded and chipped; and kinda creepy. There is a small garden in front of the picture. I don't know that it's true, but I told my kids that's where they buried Mary.

[David Scott, 03/03/2010]

Something is always swinging on a rope in Erwin.

Town That Hung an Elephant

The Hanging Elephant Antique store was one of the only places in Erwin, TN that actually took pride in the fact that they executed an elephant. The store is now closed. Formally there was a mural of Mary the elephant hanging by her neck on the side of the store. Now there is a little girl swinging on a rope hung by God......I can't help but feel that is some sort of inversion of the original image.

[Jacob Krejci, 01/19/2010]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Most Powerful Musical Bi-Polar Tesla CoilMost Powerful Musical Bi-Polar Tesla Coil, Johnson City, TN - 13 mi.
Grave of First Dead White Man in TennesseeGrave of First Dead White Man in Tennessee, Johnson City, TN - 17 mi.
Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur ParkBackyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park, Bluff City, TN - 23 mi.
In the region:
Purple Cows and Hot Dog Man, Kingsport, TN - 28 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

November 28, 2015

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Tennessee Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

John Dillinger Museum, Crown Point, Indiana (Nov 23-29, 2015)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, Erwin, Tennessee

Nightly rates found:

Find Hotels Near:

Book Online Now