Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kerrville's Chautauqua, 1905

The Chautauqua movement began in New York state in the latter part of the 19th century and by the turn of the 20th had spread as far as Kerrville.  This lovely old postcard, published by the Kerrville Book Store, shows the "Presbyterian Chautauqua Grounds," one mile from Kerrville.  I believe this was the site of the present-day portion of the Schreiner University Campus that houses the Westminster open air chapel and the renovated Union Church. 
Note two things: the hand-written note, and the fellow on horseback in the creek crossing. 
In recent years Schreiner University has held events they call "Chautauquas," but in reality they're far from the original events, either in New York, or in Kerrville in 1905.  Those were events where you came for at least a week, heard numerous edifying lectures and talks, ate good food in community, and had time to reflect.
It's my opinion Kerrville could once again host a real Chautauqua, just like the old-time events.
Click image to enlarge
Presbyterian Chautauqua Grounds, published by Kerrville Book Store, around 1905


  1. Interesting. I never heard of a Chautauquas. Just wondering, who funded the food and speakers. Were the lectures confined to any specific topics? I wonder if a comic book convention would qualify - just a thought.

    1. The food, speakers, and entertainment was funded through ticket sales. I've seen ads in the old Kerrville newspapers. Pretty cool idea.


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