Wyandotte Loves Lucy: Lucille Ball Lived Here as a Child

TV viewers around the world honor Lucille Ball's 100th birthday celebration on Saturday.

Funny woman Lucille Ball would have turned 100 today and the world is remembering her famous TV moments. Google has even created one of its special Google Doodles in her memory.

about the time many decades ago that she and her family called Wyandotte home.

Lucy was about 1 year old when her family moved to Wyandotte. It's believed they relocated here so her father, an electrician, could take a job with the Bell Co. as a telephone lineman. The phone company was in a hiring boom for that position and paid $5 a day.

The family lived at 126 Biddle. In 1928, however, the U.S. Postal Service changed the addresses on Biddle. The property address is now 3738 Biddle.

The family rented a back apartment at the house for $10 a month and lived there until Lucy’s father, Henry, died at the house in 1915 at the age of 27.

His death certificate, which is on file along with other family documents at the , lists the cause of death as typhoid fever. It’s believed he contracted the disease, which had no cure at the time, by eating contaminated ice cream.

Lucy, who was 3 at the time of her father's death, and her mother, Desiree, soon moved to Jamestown, N.Y., where Lucy was born and her maternal grandparents still lived.

Lincoln Park resident Betty Schley had a chance years ago to interview Wyandotte residents Bernard Daniel and his wife, Zelpha, who recalled playing with Lucy as a child. Bernard’s parents owned the house that the Balls rented.

“Lucy was an active and playful child, but whose seriousness could also make you laugh,” Schley wrote in a one-page memoir she entitled Memories of Lucy. “Her memory will live on in the hearts and minds of Wyandotte residents who like to consider her one of their very own.”

Schley said Lucy and her mother were seen as outcasts after her father died.

“The death of Lucy’s father left a strong impression on the family,” Schley wrote. “A big notice was tacked on their door which read, “Keep out by order of Health Department.” People were afraid to even walk past the house for fear of contracting the disease.

“The Ball family was ostracized from the surrounding community. Lucy, at the tender age of 3 ½, could not understand why she could not play with the children next door. The rejection from everyone must have been devastating and may have left a deep impression on Lucy. This may be why she loved to make people laugh and wanted everyone to love her.”

Lucy returned to Wyandotte to reconnect with the Daniels in 1947 when she was in the area for an event at a local theater.

The Wyandotte house where Lucy lived was demolished in 1963.

The famous redhead died in 1989.

(To see photos from Lucy's 100th birthday celebration happening this week in Jamestown, N.Y., .)

Art Scott August 06, 2011 at 08:44 PM
I have nothing but fond memories of this dear woman. I great up in the 50's and I think I have seen ever old and new episode. I was raised in a very poor dysfunctional home on the east coast and I believe her humor kept me and many Americans in a humorous mode and literally helped us get through out childhood. God Bless Lucy and her family! Art Scott www.musicbyartscott.com
Sue Czarnecki August 07, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Jason, This article was confusing. Was Lucy born in Wyandotte or Jamestown, New York? On her TV series, I Love Lucy, she always claimed Jamestown as her place of birth. The city of Wyandotte is never mentioned. And, believe me, I know this. I think I have seen every episode atleast ten times.
Jason Alley August 07, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Lucy was about 1 year old when her family moved to Wyandotte. She was born in Jamestown, N.Y., which is where she and her mother moved back to after her father died in the home they lived in in Wyandotte.
Joey Mendez September 06, 2011 at 08:52 PM
I grew up watching I Love Lucy. She brought so much joy with her humor and talent and she will be remembered for that! RIP Lucy. http://www.joeymendez.com/
April Smith Ciolek July 24, 2013 at 01:52 AM
My Grandmother lived on 6th and Orchard and always walked us by "Lucy's house". It had a wrought iron gate. Can't remember the address....


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