18 E 2nd St
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Birthplace of Lucille Ball
August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989
First Lady of Comedy
By the Historical Marker Committee and Arts Council for Chautauqua County — Date Unknown
What was there
Allen’s Opera House stood here from 1874 until it was destroyed by fire in 1881. It was rebuilt and was again severely damaged by fire in 1894. Under new ownership, it was renamed Samuels Opera House and operated under the Samuels name from 1898-1919. Shea’s took it over and ran it until the early 1960s when the theatre went dark (closed) for several years until 1969 when it reopened as the Little Theatre. Shortly after Lucille Ball’s death in 1989, the theatre was renamed in her honor, being rededicated as the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown on May 24, 1991.
What is there now
The Lucille Ball Little Theatre – a 403 seat venue, was built inside the gutted shell of its larger 1800 seat precursor, Shea’s. The marker is located in a grassy area adjacent to the theatre.
- 15 Things You May Not Know About Lucille Ball
- Lucille Ball – Wikipedia
- Lucille Ball Little Theater website
- Throughout her life, Ms. Ball sent cash donations as well as costumes to the acting company. One of the costumes still used today is from Gone With the Wind. Ball auditioned for (but did not land) the role of Scarlet O’Hara in 1939.
- Ball suffered from ornithophobia – an abnormal and persistent fear of birds.
- Short biography of Lucille Ball
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