Chautauqua, Part 2
Time Period covered
1907 – 1920 – had one every year
1921 – 1922 – skipped
April 1, 1921 – Kearney Chautauqua
Association voted 3-1 to not have it
treasurer planned to be out of town during the summer
Treasurer also the man who handled tent rental
1923 – Had one
1924 – Skipped
1925 – 1928 – Had one every year
1929 – None – Ended nationwide in 1932
Chautauqua Park Property
Sept. – Dream of extending Chautauqua park over Capitol Hill, extensive
landscaping with trees, flowers, walkways and a lake.
Oct. – Stock to raise funds for purchase of 80 acres were now
available in amounts from $1 up and could be made payable in four
Mar. – Shares $1 each, $250 raised so far. Goal $5000.
Aug. – Still planning to purchase property to make a permanent park
north of Third Ward
12-15 acres which would be fenced,
planted to trees and grass and artificial lake
At a cost of $5000.
When more money was raised a
permanent pavilion could be built.
Such was the enthusiasm that $1000 worth of stock shares in the corp. were
sold the last afternoon.
Final accounting showed expenses over
income of about $400.
Sept. 1 – S C Bassett suggestion
Chautauqua needed a park and holds
its session in June or July
County fair should be held in the
needs the same kind of facilities only with more buildings to display its
holds its session in August,
The two should consider joining
Oct. – Association called for payment of subscriptions so 14 acres of
land north and west of the park could be purchased at a cost of $2400.
Over the winter three blocks were purchased just north of Third Ward Park
Options on a fourth “where the large
tent had stood in the last two years. “
Intend to put a small lake in the
north end of the land.
It was thought the city would be able
to help in the beautification of the area since the Chautauqua only two
weeks out of the year and the public can use it the rest of the time.
Won’t be able to afford to build the
pavilion this year.
June – City Council passed an ordinance to form Kearney Chautauqua
Close 31st & 32nd St. between 5th &
Close 6th Ave between 33rd St. and
the alley between 30th & 31st St.
[area north and west of original
block that was Third Ward Park]
Aug – There was enthusiasm for building the lake on their property.
A contractor estimated cost of dirt
Water would be piped from the east
end of Kearney Lake.
Apr. – A contractor began the work of Parking the Chautauqua.
[basically planting grass]
Included planting 500 trees around
July – “Improvement of Chautauqua park has gone forward as far as the
funds in hand would permit. Two rows of trees have been set out around the
Aug. – Chautauqua association and Commercial Club leaders met.
Commercial Club asked City Council to
revive its park plan.
Commercial Club voted to sell $500 in
stock to complete horticultural landscape plans including a fairly large
lake north of Third Ward park which could be used for skating by children
whose parents feared the depth of Kearney Lake.
Plans currently before the City
Council were to make this park a sort of fairgrounds where the county fair
or fall festivals could be held.
Feb. – City Council passed ordinance to put a bond issue up for vote
$40,000 for parks including
purchasing a strip of land [location not given]
Chautauqua park and make improvements including a large auditorium
The fair association could build a
track and such buildings as they deemed necessary for holding fairs.
Apr. – Park Bonds are Defeated.
Lost by about 600 votes, getting
about 25% of votes cast.
Then Chautauqua moved around in Kearney
1919 – held on the High School grounds. [This would have been
Longfellow down town]
1920 – back at the Chautauqua grounds.
1921 – The Association is out of debt and owns 11 acres of inside
property [inside the city limits?]
[Location not given] [Is 3 blocks = to 11 acres?]
1923 – New brown tent to be pitched on the half block immediately
east of St. James school.
1925 – 1928 - “at the old Chautauqua grounds at the Third Ward park.”
Dates July 4-12.
Each evening to conclude with moving
pictures. Different each night.
In past years surrounding towns in
the county have had celebrations but Kearney has been relatively quiet.
This year the Fourth of July program
will end with a “monster display of fireworks.”
collection of fireworks.
Program for July 4
10 a.m. parade including fire
then hose race to throw water,
hook and ladder exhibition,
all kinds of races.
2 p.m. to Chautauqua park for
9 p.m. Grounds open for free
admission to fireworks.
Kearney Day attendance lower
Speaker, Sen. Morris Brown could not attend.
program had a conflict with another event in the city.
Saturday attendance lower
Ringling Circus performed
storm cancelled the program altogether.
Draft boys were guests at first Chautauqua performance
July 25, 1919 – “As a substitute number for the lecture on ‘Problems of the
Air,’ by Lieutenant Andrew Nielson, who for some reason was not able to make
the trip by airplane to Kearney….......”
Chautauqua was an important part of
Normal School summer program
Held the last week of the Normal
July 29, 1920 – One of the Chautauqua
speakers agreed to give the commencement address at the Normal School.
Friday, July 30, 1920 – Large crowd
expected for Sunday afternoon and evening performances.
People were reminded that city ordinance prohibited sale of tickets on
They should buy them ahead if time.
Chautauqua Aug. 20-25
Big problem – Chautauqua and fair to
be held at the same time.
management did not check of fair dates until it was too late to change
included three days of horse racing
at fair between Chautauqua programs."
As a result - “The Chautauqua was a
financial failure this year….”
July 6 – Guarantors of Chautauqua to meet that evening.
Important that all 50 be there.
Chautauqua has been cancelled are not true.
July 1927 – Fifteen guarantors showed up and elected officers.
that any profit would be donated to Harmon Field.
Aug 9 – [last day] For the first time in 10 years the Chautauqua was
expected to go over the top financially.
go to Harmon Field.
[post event evaluation] Chautauqua declared a success.
They had thought there would be a
small amount left over
but with some expenses higher than expected they broke even.
But all were excited about next year.
Profit for Harmon Field expected next
Sept. 18, 1927 – Sum of Sixty-Two Cents is Cleared
Chautauqua Association Gives it to