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1901 Chautauqua

The original Chautauqua at Madison began in 1901. The Chautauqua was a bit of a fad during this time that swept the country. They were a mix of politics, religion, entertainment and education. People camped out in tents for up to ten days enjoying the festivities. The old camp grounds had been used as a picnic area, Civil War hospital, race track and fair grounds. Financial problems and lack of interest caused the end of the old Chautauqua in 1929.

In the 1970’s what began as a sidewalk art show expanded into today’s major event which takes place the last full weekend in Sept. with artists competing in a juried fine arts display. Now called the Madison Chautauqua Festival of the Arts. It celebrated its 38th anniversary in 2008.

MJCPL: Chautauqua Impressions by Richard N. Campen
MJCPL: Chautauqua in Indiana by Frank Miles
MJCPL: Historical Files
MJCPL: Newspaper on microfilm