About JamestownJamestown's founder, James Prendergast, built the town's first dam and sawmill in 1811, taking advantage of the vast white pine forests on the hills overlooking the southeast tip of Chautauqua Lake. By the mid-1800s Jamestown was one of the state's leading producers of furniture and wood products. Locally produced “pearl ash” was used to make glass, and the town was nicknamed Pearl City.
Jamestown was the birthplace of iconic comedian and TV star Lucille Ball, who grew up in nearby Celoron. After stints as a fashion model, stage actress and star of Hollywood B movies, Ball gained worldwide fame starring with her Cuban bandleader husband Desi Arnaz in the landmark sitcom “I Love Lucy.” The Lucy-Desi Museum and Desilu Studios pay tribute to this gifted redhead. Ball's comedic legacy also is remembered at Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in early August.
Jamestown also is the birthplace of Roger Tory Peterson, an American author, naturalist and creator of the first nature history field guide. More can be learned of Peterson's contributions at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History .
Old-fashioned family fun can be found at Midway State Park, at 4859 SR 430 in nearby Maple Springs. Highlights include picnic areas and several amusement rides, including bumper boats and go-carts; phone (716) 386-3165.
Visitor Centers Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce 512 Falconer St. Jamestown, NY 14701. Phone:(716)484-1101
Self-guiding ToursJamestown is the site of many 19th-century commercial and industrial buildings, churches and private houses. Brochures detailing self-guiding walking tours are available from the Fenton History Center Museum & Research Center.
ShoppingChautauqua Mall, 3 miles west on SR 394, includes JCPenney among its 60 stores.
Things to Do Audubon Community Nature Center
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