Doors Open Jamestown Gives Boost To Local Economy

The local economy received a boost as the result of this year’s Doors Open Jamestown event.

The Doors Open concept is internationally recognized as an opportunity for residents to come downtown and experience the wares of their local businesses and attractions. The event, which has been observed in Jamestown for the past eight years, has seen some recent success. More than 2,100 people participated in last year’s festivities.

“It’s a time for local residents to come to the local attractions that they never think about coming to,” said Joni Blackman, director of the Fenton History Center. “So it’s a chance to get the residents in to see the treasures that they have in their neighborhoods, so they can share it with people (from outside of the area) who come to visit. In our case, we’re saving Jamestown’s history. So it’s important for us to have residents come in and see what we do and how they can help us out – either though membership, or by donating artifacts or volunteering.”

The Fenton allowed free admission for the Doors Open event and was displaying its “Dear Santa” exhibit, which features approximately 25 different Christmas trees of various eras and cultures that pertain to the Jamestown population. The most popular display is an upside down tree that is affixed to the ceiling, which is an old tradition in Great Britain.

“It’s our last day for ‘Dear Santa,’ which is our holiday exhibit, and we’ve done it for 33 years,” said Blackman. “It’s an easy way to learn about a lot of different cultural aspects that folks in town practice, or used to practice.”

According to Blackman, the “Dear Santa” exhibit is purposely carried over from Christmas for the Doors Open event because it is the Fenton’s most popular exhibit.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute has been a participant in Doors Open since the event began in Jamestown. According to Tina Scherman, an employee of the RTPI, the institute is in the process of finalizing a new exhibit.

“We’re now in the process of preparing some of Roger’s original illustrations, but we don’t have them all ready to go,” she said. “But this is a good example of giving a sneak preview, and (due to increased traffic from Doors Open) the effect is that people come in, who haven’t seen the place before, and then come back when we have the whole thing up.”

Currently, the main attraction at RTPI is the Randolph mammoth, which is a 13,000-year-old fossil of a Colombian mammoth skull, complete with tusks. The fossil was discovered in 1934 during the construction of a pond in the Randolph area.

The exhibit featuring Peterson’s original artwork will open in its entirety this week, beginning Tuesday.

Participating in Doors Open for the first time was the James Prendergast Library. The library offered the public a chance to participate in a birthday bash to celebrate 50 years with Amelia Bedelia, a popular character in the eponymously named childrens’ series. Library staff also teamed up for “Tech Gadget Guidance,” which taught patrons how to use e-readers and tablets, as well as how to download e-books from the library.

According to Tina Scott, acting director, the library chose to participate in the event this year due to interest from the community.

“We hadn’t participated in (Doors Open) before, but the staff noticed that we were always busier on that day because people are out and about,” she said. “So, we wanted to be even more of a part of the community and have people think of us on days like that because we are sort of an institution.”

“This has been really popular today,” she continued. “I think we’re going to do this from now on because we are a part of Jamestown, and we are very impressed with the turnout.”


Doors Open Jamestown has increased in popularity through the years and has now received support from the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. New additions to the downtown Jamestown area, such as the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum and the newly reopened Erie-Lackawanna Train Station, have increased the scope of the event.

Other participants in this year’s event included: the Jamestown Audubon Center and Society, the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, the Robert H. Jackson Center, the Reg Lenna Civic Center and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

Downtown restaurants were also open, providing specials for the event. They included: the Babalu Cafe, the Cherry Lounge, Cibo, the Labyrinth Press Company, Lisciandro’s, Roberto’s, Sully’s, and The Pub.