The mission and purpose of the Chautauqua Historical Society is the preservation and enhancement of the historic traditions and culture of New Piasa Chautauqua, Chautauqua, Illinois, the encouragement of historical research on the Chautauqua community and nearby historic districts, the publication of historical brochures, pamphlets, and other written material on New Piasa Chautauqua, remaining permanent assemblies and Chautauquas in other parts of the United States and the national Chautauqua movement, and the establishment of an educational program to inform the Chautauqua community and the general public of the historical and educational value of New Piasa Chautauqua.
New Piasa Chautauqua has been a functioning summer resort community since 1885, when it was organized as the Piasa Bluffs Assembly. The Assembly was patterned after the New York Chautauqua, organized in 1874. At Piasa Bluffs, the mission included an emphasis on religion, education, and wholesome family life and recreation. When the original venture failed for financial reasons in 1908, it was reorganized as New Piasa Chautauqua in 1909. The mission of the community remained the same. New Piasa Chautauqua was placed on The National Register of Historic Districts in 1982.
Chautauqua Historical Society is a member operated organization that relies on its volunteers to accomplish its goals and execute its activities.
CHS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who works closely with organization members to determine the plans and goals for the group. The current Board of Directors can be found here.
CHS is also fortunate to have a Tomlinson-Hurd Archival Intern each season. More information on this role can be found here.
Living St. Louis Episode Featuring New Piasa Chautauqua
For more insight into New Piasa Chautauqua, view this video from KETC-TV, Living St. Louis.
“KETC-TV, Living St. Louis Producer Jim Kirchherr spends time relaxing and visiting with residents of Chautauqua. This hidden camping area located near Alton, Illinois, along the Mississippi river road is used to enjoy the outdoors, play games, and escape from a busy lifestyle. Roque, an early form of croquet, can only be found at a few locations including Chautauqua. Recreation is the main feature of the camp site. Many visitors to the area were brought here during their youth and have continued the tradition with their children. This episode recreates the history and delight of staying at Chautauqua.”