August 04, 2008

An Inside Look at Lucy Town Tour

Reported in The Post-Journal, An Inside Look At A LucyTown Bus Trek.

On the surface, a two-hour bus tour through the area might not sound appealing to locals. Some would probably figure that they've seen everything there is to see all of their lives, so why go on a guided tour of it?

But the tour, led by Lucy Studd of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, served as not only a window into the Queen of Comedy's life, but also as a history lesson of the area's most notable and unique buildings and people.

The tour guide told us about Lucy's passion for bread and pastries from the now closed Jones Tasty Baking Co. She said that throughout her career, Lucy would have her favorite baked goods sent to her through the mail direct from the bakery.

In 1944, Lucy returned home for the funeral of her grandfather, Fred C. Hunt, who was like a father to her, Ms. Studd explained. Lucy came on the train and stayed at the Hotel Jamestown, which was obviously still a hotel at the time.

Lucy was born in 1911 in an upstairs bedroom on Stewart Street in the city. Only four short years later, her father passed away after contracting typhoid fever. After that, she was raised by her mother and grandparents.

Lucy and her grandfather had a special connection, as his passion for theater led her down her life's path.

Lilacs were Lucy's favorite flower and when she lived in California, there weren't any hybrids which allowed the spring-flowering bushes to survive the different climate.

Still, she tried to grow them at her home.

In Celoron, the tour group spent some time in Lucille Ball Memorial Park taking pictures of the lake and the memorials there to Lucy and Desi Arnaz. After getting back on the bus, Ms. Studd explained how the park used to be.

The tour concluded at Lakeview Cemetery, where Lucy and her family were laid to rest.

This is at the ''new'' Lakeview Cemetery, as the original lies beneath the James Prendergast Library, according to Ms. Studd. She also explained that when the decision was made to move the cemetery not every body was exhumed and moved to the new location.

Lucy rests with her family on a plot which, despite the best efforts of the groundskeepers, won't grow much grass. Ms. Studd said that the high foot traffic is just too much for nature and the crews to compete with.

A new stone path leads from one of the main trails leads to the Ball-Hunt plot. There are wicker wreaths filled with lilacs present, and despite the fact that a cemetery usually isn't a festive place, things were different Saturday.

Read more about An Inside Look At A LucyTown Bus Trek by Robert Rizzuto at The Post-Journal.

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