Jamestown was once called the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Sadly, much of this once-lucrative industry has fallen on hard times leaving Jamestown’s 30,000 residents without employment in the industrial field. One side-effect of this unfortunate event is that Jamestown’s young men have had only the armed forces as an option for earning a living with many of these boys losing their lives in defense of their country.
Jamestown is located in the southwestern part of the state at the southern end of Chautauqua Lake. One of its most famous citizens is Lucille Ball and much of the entertainment in Jamestown revolves around remembrances of Lucy. The Lucy-Desi Museum, Desilu Playhouse and Lucy-Desi Center Gift Shop are at the intersection of Main and Third Streets in the center of town. The museum displays priceless costumes, awards, photographs, and other vintage memorabilia from the estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Desilu Playhouse shows continuous “I Love Lucy” TV shows as well as a re-creation of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo’s New York City apartment.
The Lucytown Tour will take you past Lucille Ball’s childhood home in nearby Celeron, New York. The two-story house at 59 W. Lucy Lane was Lucy’ home from the time she was 8 years old until she was midway through high school, when she left for New York City to attend acting school.
The Luci-Desi Days Festival takes place every year in late May which draws thousands of people from all over the world. Lucille Ball’s daughter Lucie Arnaz usually makes an appearance on these days as she has a keen interest in the Museum and the Playhouse dedicated to her parents.
Another famous citizen from Jamestown was Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Solicitor General, U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice & Nuremberg chief prosecutor. Jackson spent the first forty-two years of his life in Jamestown, raising a family and actively participating in the political arena and serving the community. He graduated from Jamestown High School, practiced law in Jamestown from 1910-1934, visited regularly when he lived in Washington from 1934-1954, and was buried in 1954 at Jamestown’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The Robert H. Jackson Center at 305 E 4th Street houses the works and history of the chief prosecutor of the surviving Nazi leaders at Nuremberg, Germany.
Jamestown has much to be proud of and is worth visiting, particularly if you are a Lucille Ball fan or a history buff.
Click here to see some pictures of Jamestown and the Luci-Desi Museum: