could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Chautauqua, Part 1

What is Chautauqua?
        Chautauqua – An adult education movement in the United States
            Very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

        First organized in 1873 by Lewis Miller and Bishop John Vincent as a Sunday School assembly in Chautauqua County, New York

        Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America
        Brought entertainment and culture for the whole community
            Speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day

                A management company could have 8 going at a time
                Booking agents
                Towns got their programs through the company
            Fill in with local talent

See: “Chautauqua” by Edna Luce, Buffalo Tales, Vol. 10, No. 7. July-August, 1987
        For information about Chautauqua in general & in this area. – personal memorieS


Chautauqua in Kearney

1887 proposal – Make Kearney a headquarters for a Chautauqua Assembly like NY Assembly.
        New lake made from the Kearney Canal
        Proposal to the Board of Trade by the Rev. Dr. Archibald of Cincinnati, Ohio,
            He would buy 320 acres of ground [1/2 section]
            Stock company be formed with a capital of $50,000
                [Boom period, raising $$ for all kinds of things].
        Proceeds used to improve the grounds,
            make the lake
            building a pavilion
            erect such other buildings necessary to carry on a Chautauqua Assembly.
        Give Kearney a reputation as a summer resort – located near the center of US

        Board of Trade heartily endorsed the Chautauqua movement.
        Nothing further was mentioned

Winter 1889-90 – Hesperian Chautauqua circle met at the homes of young (society) ladies

Beginning in 1890 – Chautauqua programs around the state
        Small towns like Long Pine, Crete, Beaver City
        Larger towns like Fremont, Auburn, Tecumseh, Fairbury, York

        Beatrice - had a Chautauqua grounds beside the city

            City had built a street car line from the down town to the Chautauqua grounds.

        Both Burlington & UP ran special excursion trains to some of these towns to Chautauqua

1891, Nov – Editorial suggesting Kearney form a Chautauqua Association
        suggests the ministers might get behind the idea.
        Performances could be given on the sloping land around Lake Kearney or the two lakes west of town.
            [that would be the lake by the State Industrial School or Echo Lake]

        [But then the following year Boom ended, idea died]

        Still Chautauquas around the state

1904Lexington started one at their city park.

1906Hastings had their first one
        July 23, 1906 – over 200 people from Kearney filled four coaches on the Burlington
        Tent could accommodate everyone; many stood to listen.
        Couldn’t put up a bigger tent because they did not have permission to cut down any trees

        Four types of music – 150 voice choir, a band, an orchestra, and a concert company.


            A theologian and philosopher from Chicago
                Spoke in the morning and evening
            Sen. Robert LaFollette, a reformer and economist from Wisconsin.
                Spoke for 3 ½ hours in the afternoon.

        July 28, 1906 – Plans underway to organize a Chautauqua association in Kearney

        A committee for organization and a committee for grounds met all fall

Jan. 1907 Adopted Articles of Incorporation for the Kearney Chautauqua Association.
                    [possibly not filed with the state]
        Capital $25,000 to be raised by sale of 1000 shares at $25 each.
                $5000 to be subscribed.
                Pay 25% up front and the rest “upon call”. [$1,250 cash up front]
        A board of 9 directors and such officers as the Board shall elect or appoint.
        Committee to sell stock were leading business men in town.

        Mar. 16, 1907 – Our first Chautauqua to be held July 13-21, 1907
            Grounds including Third Ward [Harmon Park now] park and a large tract adjoining it [on north & west?]
                to be fenced in and “parked” as soon as possible
                arranged with drives, water fountains and lighting.

        Part of program was announced [gives idea of the types of programs]

Williams’ Dixie Jubilee Singers
Sappho Ladies Quartette
Royal Hungarian Orchestra
Harmonic Concert Company
Local musical talent on last day, men’s quartet and Midway Military Band.

American Vitigraph Co. – Am. Vitagraph Co. was a movie studio formed in 1897.
        By 1907 it was the most prolific American film company. Warner Bros. bought it in 1925.
Ralph Bingham - the ‘boy orator’ starting 26 years ago [1881] at age six.
        From Richmond, VA. An entertainer, not a lecturer.

        Plays violin, speaks in Negro, Dutch & Yankee dialects

Dr. Campbell (sermon)
Gilbert A. Eldridge, impersonator (lecture)
Mgr Tihen, the highest titled priest in America
Congressman J. Adam Bede, humorist of Congress (lecture)
Opie Reed (lecture)
J. Elton Packard (crayon artist [cartoonist])
John P. Dolliver – address, The Working Man of Nazareth
Dr. James Montgomery - pastor of Fowler Methodist Episcopal Church, Minneapolis

        Tents would be available to rent for the season from $2.50 to $5.
                Two cars of tents brought in from Fremont
                Tents were 10x12, 12x14, & 12x19

        Streets closed: City Council gave permission to close 5th Ave from 29th to 31st & 30th St. from 4th to 6th

        [Third Ward park was on the edge of town]

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Revised: 02/08/2018