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.