The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark: On July 4, 1898, over 4,000 people gathered for the opening day of the Colorado Chautauqua. Boulder civic leaders and Texas educators had joined together to create a cultural and educational summer retreat. Today, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of three remaining Chautauquas in the United States, and the only site west of the Mississippi River, in continuous operation, with its original structures intact.
Before radio and television, the Chautauqua Movement united millions in common cultural and educational experiences. Orators, performers, and educators traveled a national Chautauqua circuit of more than 12,000 sites bringing lectures, performances, concerts, classes, and exhibitions to thousands of people in small towns and cities. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauquas, “the most American thing in America.”
Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons, Chautauqua Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a local landmark on twenty-six acres. The site includes:
The Auditorium (1898), included on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been voted one of the top ten places artists love to play because of its superior acoustics and intimate feel.
The Dining Hall (1898) is now open all year, offering excellent cuisine.
The Academic Hall (1900) houses Chautauqua’s administrative offices and housed the first collegiate-level summer school in Colorado.
The Community House (1918) is a stunning example of Arts and Crafts architecture and has been winterized and renovated.
There are music performances, theater, performances of the Colorado Music Festival, programs, forums, lectures and family activities. Cottages and lodges are available for rent and there is a dining hall.