Oquawka, Illinois: Norma Jean, Elephant Killed By Lightning
- 5th St., Oquawka, IL
- Signs pointing toward "Elephant Killed By Lightning" direct you to Norma Jean's grave from all points in Oquawka. 164 goes into town - heading north, turn left on Schuyler (stop light), then right on 5th. It is on 5th between Mercer and Clay, on the right-hand side. If you're heading west on 164 then go straight on Schuyler and turn right on 5th.
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- Worth a Detour
Norma Jean was the star of the Clark and Walters Circus until a bolt of lightning killed her in Oquawka's town square. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About Norma Jean, Elephant Killed By Lightning
The site is just to the right (east) as you are driving on 5th street north from the business district. It is well hidden under a pine tree, about 20 feet off the road in this residential district. There is a small semicircular gravel pull-out. As slow as we were going, we drove right past it![Doc Adelman, 08/28/2009]
The elephant statue in this photo was destroyed by morons in late 2009. It has since been replaced by a much happier-looking elephant statue.
It's not as easy to find the "Elephant Killed by Lightning" as everyone makes it out to be. Follow the map at tip 429. 164 goes into town - if you're heading North turn left on Schuyler (stop light) and then right on 5th. It is on 5th between Mercer and Clay, on the right-hand side. If you're heading West on 164 then go straight on Schuyler and turn right on 5th. It's cute to see.[oceanmom62, 09/28/2008]
Please note that Norma Jean the elephant's gravesite in Oquawka, IL, has been newly landscaped, with the same Wade Meloan who helped place her gravestone still tending the shrubbery. The city has a festival in honor of Norma Jean in late August, with an elephant walk, white elephant sale and a bake sale featuring elephant ears. Norma Jean will not be forgotten.[Tim Criss, 12/03/1998]
In Oquawka, Illinois there is a grave marker with a cement elephant, that marks the spot where in 1971 an circus elephant named Norma Jean Elephant was killed by lightning. I forget the exact directions but it is on the Mississippi river, not too far from Galesburg, Illinois.
It also has a glass case, with photos of the dead elephant and a hilarous story about the trainer"Possum Red" who was thrown into the air by the lightning blast that killed his prize elephant. Oquawka is a very small town. Head towards the river on the "main drag" and you'll see signs for the Grave of Norma Jean Elephant. It is also near the 'public pool, which is by the water tower.[John Coulter, 01/01/1997]