May 27, 2005

Don't Miss Lucille Ball's Childhood Home

If your going to the Lucy-Desi days in Jamestown, New York this year, be sure not to miss Lucille Ball's childhood home.

The two-story house at 59 W. Lucy Lane in Celeron, Chautauqua County, New York was Lucille Ball's 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 115 year old house (built around 1890) has aluminum siding, natural original woodwork and an upstairs bathroom that has changed little since the house was built. The kitchen has been updated some. It was orginally the home of Lucy's maternal grandparents, Fred and Florabelle Hunt.

The house belongs to William J. Rapaport and his wife Mary, who are longtime Lucy fans. Rapaport purchased the home in March of 2005. He and his wife are planning to restore the home to the way it was in the 1920s when Lucille Ball lived there with her mother, brother, grandparents, aunt and cousin. When the restoration is complete, he plans to make it available for use by the Lucy-Desi Museum, which is located a short distance away in Jamestown, New York.

Previously, the house was being auctioned for sale on Ebay during March of 2002. The house was listed at $98,500. Even Lucy's daughter, Lucie Arnaz put a bid in on the house during that time.

Lucy's years in the Celoron home were, by most accounts, happy. When she was in high school, she'd bring friends home to entertain them. A rod that held the curtain for Lucy's impromptu performances was still in place on the first floor in 2002. But after Lucy's departure for drama school, the house was lost in a family tragedy. Fred Hunt had bought a rifle and was showing it, in the backyard, to Lucy's little brother Fred and a few of his friends. The gun discharged and the bullet paralyzed a boy who lived next door. The Hunts were forced to sell the house as the result of a subsequent lawsuit. Only one family has lived in the house since then and the last remaining member of that family was in a nursing home prior to her sons listing it originally on Ebay.

Although the house is not currently open for visitors, you can still drive by and take a look at the place where Lucille Ball spent her childhood. The house will probably be available for tours sometime in the future after the Rappaport's restore it to its original grandeur.

5 comments:

  1. I thought it was really rude to say that the only owner of the house was in a nursing home when the house went up for sell. No one needed to know that. My Great Grandmother loved that house and we had many celebrations there. It was more her home than Lucy's. When she lived there people would always come up to the house and touch it just because Lucy lived there. We would become very annoyed when people behaved in this manner. I understand that people want to remember Lucy, but I just want people to know that when that house is referred to by the name of "Lucy's childhood home" it strikes a bad cord.

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    1. Although I can understand your frustration with having people around your home, I am sure that could be very annoying and invasive to your privacy, you can not say that referring to this house as "Lucy's childhood home" strikes a bad chord. The fact is, even though it may have been your family's home, it still WAS her childhood home. When I am in the town I grew up, and drive past my old house that I grew up in, that too is MY childhood home, regardless of who lives there currently. Get over it

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  2. ...and to which part of the story did you read that I mentioned anything about owners being in a nursing home?

    Sorry if your not a Lucy fan, but your in the minority now as it is owned by huge Lucy fans who have contributed and are continuing to expand her legacy. The house is finally getting needed attention and being restored back to the way it used to be.

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  3. I agree Justin. Well said.
    Lucy Fan

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  4. I had the honour of being Lucy's friend from 1976 til her death and I finally had the opportunity to go to her hometown and visit her childhood home.
    I am so happy to hear that it will be
    Be restored by the new owners and I'm sure Lucie Arnaz agrees. Looking forward to visiting the home again at that time. Thanks for continuing Lucy's Legacy. Gina

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