Sunday, May 25, 2014

Plains, Georgia is the site of the newest Chautauqua

Today in church at Lakeside I learned that Plains, Georgia is one of our newest Chautauqua locations with the help and support of President Carter. Representatives of Lakeside Chautauqua were on hand for the opening. Almost a century ago, many towns hosted traveling Chautauqua which brought music and the arts to rural communities. My father as a child attended a Chautauqua in Dixon, IL which had permanent buildings, and my mother attended the Chautauqua in Franklin Grove, IL which had sites for tents. The one in Plains seems to be a revitalization of one like that, and not a whole season like we have in Lakeside, Ohio and Chautauqua, NY.


Eastern Illinois University has Chautauqua information in its archive.  "Chautauquas were retreat camps, primarily for adults. The Chautauqua movement can be traced to 1874 at Lake Chautauqua, New York when a group of Protestant ministers began a training camp for Sunday school teachers. Chautauquas grew in popularity and spread throughout the country. The actual format of chautauqua programming varied within each camp. Some were more religious based, while others focused more on entertainment. The chautauqua movement peaked in the 1920's but declined as radio and other new technologies created new forms of entertainment and recreation for Americans."

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