Jamestown Visitor Info

 About Jamestown

Jamestown is located in the southwestern corner of New York State.  It is 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, 40 miles northeast of Erie, Pennsylvania, 140 miles north of Pittsburgh, and is approximately halfway between New York City and Chicago.  It is at the base of the picturesque Chautauqua Lake and serves as the regional hub for a myriad of social and recreational opportunities. The city covers an area of 10 square miles, and its highest point is 1,620 feet above sea level.  The city maintains a population of around 30,000, within an urban area of 85,000 residents.


Jamestown also serves as the center of a region blessed with an abundance of outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, boating and camping opportunities and the 65,000 acre Allegany State Park.


Jamestown is fortunate to maintain a large variety of cultural facilities and activities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.  It is the home of The National Comedy Center, the United States' official cultural institution and museum dedicated to the art form of comedy. World renowned Chautauqua Institution, founded in 1874, continues to offer a vast assortment of religious, educational, recreational, and artistic activities throughout its nine-week summer season.  Beautiful Victorian architecture lines the quaint streets and quiet setting of this unique community along the shores of the Chautauqua Lake.


In the heart of downtown Jamestown is the Reg Lenna Civic Center.  This 1,250 seat, beautifully restored former vaudeville house offers a variety of musical, theatre and community events for young and old alike.  A few steps away within the city's growing entertainment district is the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown, the largest community membership theatre in New York State.  Also located downtown is the widely acclaimed Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, and the multimillion dollar Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena. Jamestown is also home to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, an organization formed in 1980 to honor Chautauqua County, New York area sports celebrities. Honorees are chosen by a committee under which a volunteer has as much an opportunity to be selected as an outstanding athlete in the professional or amateur ranks.


Both Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College are located within city limits. Jamestown Community College is a two-year institution under the State University of New York system.


Jamestown has been awarded the "Tree City USA" designation award by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 33 consecutive years and is proud of its 20 parks consisting of 540 acres of land.  Along with its ball diamonds, picnic areas, playgrounds and soccer fields, Jamestown's parks system features the 4,200 seat Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park.

Jamestown hosted the first ever Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series in 1980 and is honored to celebrate the 35th anniversary of that event by once again welcoming the 13-year-old regional champions to Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park.

Notable Natives

The Greater Jamestown area has yielded its share of people that have made a mark. Here are some whose names you may recognize.

  • Lucille Ball of the "I Love Lucy" show was born in Jamestown. Two Lucy-Desi Festivals are held each year, one in late May and one in early August.
  • Roger Goodell, current NFL Commissioner was born and raised in Jamestown.
  • Robert H. Jackson, former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court attended Jamestown High School in 1910 and began his law career as in apprentice at a Jamestown law office. He was the Chief United States prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials. The Robert H. Jackson Center is located in Jamestown at 305 East Fourth St.
  • Musician Natalie Merchant and rock band the 10,000 Maniacs call Jamestown home. Merchant was a member of the 10,000 Maniacs before starting her solo career.
  • Roger Tory Peterson was born in Jamestown and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History is located in Jamestown, only about a mile from Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park. Dr. Peterson was a naturalist, ornithologist, photographer, artist and educator and had a large impact on the environmental movement in the United States in the 20th century. He received many awards for his work in natural history included the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
  • Shane Conlan was born right outside Jamestown, in Frewsburg, NY. He was a two-time All American Linebacker at Penn State University and went on to be the Buffalo Bills first round draft pick in 1987 and was awarded the Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associate Press.  He won three Conference Championships with Buffalo before finishing his career with the Rams.
  • Don Reinhoudt, winner of the World's Strongest Man competition in 1979 was born in nearby Brocton, NY and served as the Director of the Chautauqua County Youth Bureau.

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