Saturday, March 26, 2005

Jamestown - Chautauqua NY: A Photo Safari

It was time to take a trip up to Chautaugua NY for a weekend of tromping through the snow and slush and mud. While the region still enjoys a pretty solid tourism economy the Jamestown area is still looking pretty grim. When you cruise around Jamestown you can tell from the fine homes and industrial buildings it had a strong manufacturing base from the 1910's to 1970's. Then like many Midwest communities built on manufacturing economies it began a long, slow decline. Today, the factory buildings are empty and decaying (why aren't the building owners required to tear them down when their useful life is over? I've never understood that.). There are sections of old homes which are quite delapidated. The Main street has some shops open. But overall its a mix of old and new.

Jamestown is trying to draw the tourism crowd from the Chautauqua Lakes area by capitalizing on two of their most famous sons and daughters, Lucille Ball and Roger Tory Peterson. They constructed an Institute to commemorate Peterson's career as a naturalist. It's housed in a beautiful and rustic looking building surrounded by 27 acres of woods. The library inside has a good collection of works on nature and the walls are covered with artwork and photography on the subject. Unfortunately the exhibits are not very appealing. One exhibit on the Rainforest consisted of some OK photos of the rainforest, a few snake and animal skins and pelts on the floor and a stuffed fruit bat. The main exhibit commemorated Peterson with a bunch of grainy and out-of-focus pictures as well as some drawings by the naturalist. It looked like the Institute took all the memorabilia they could find and put them on display just to show they had them. Overall, you don't get a simple picture of Peterson and his contribution to mankind. The nature trail that surrounds the Institute is unimpressive as well. We lumbered down the paths looking for markers which acknowledges different trees in the woods. If you're really into the subject then go, otherwise head back to Bemis and fire up the snowmobile.

On the other hand, the Lucille Ball draw is a much more commercial and coordinated attempt. We spotted a Lucille Ball museum, a little theatre, a gift center and several murals of Lucille and Desi. It's too bad Lucy is not an nostalgic icon for today's 18-25 year-old crowd like Marilyn Monroe. She was probably the greatest female comedian (I still remember Lucy working at the pie factory assembly line). So Lucy is what Jamestown has to work with and they're doing all they can with it. Here's some scenes. Enjoy!



The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY.
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A nature walk at the Institute.
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Tree trunks in winter.
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Let's look up for once.
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Bark that is worse than my bite.
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The Library at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.
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Nate and Lilly check out birds from thw window.
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Dueling snapshots.
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Uneeda Biscuits!!! I saw one of these mural ads in New Orleans.
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The Church of Jesus and Appliance Repair, Jamestown, NY.
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Funny Easter Bunny getting prepared.
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Everyone loves Lucy around here.
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Yes, there is even a Lucy Museum.
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Lucy Lucy everywhere.
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More Lucy.
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Giant Lucy.
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From the porch of the Bemis Point cottage looking down over the lake.
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Copyright © 2005 James D. Fisher
All rights reserved.


1 Comments:

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