Brochure from Texas-Colorado Chautauqua Opening Season, 1898

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Artifact Is: Document
Located at: Colorado Chautauqua Association

Artifact Significant To: Nation


Artifact Description:

Held in the archives of the Colorado Chautauqua Association, this trifold brochure is from the Texas-Colorado Chautauqua’s opening season in 1898.  With red lettering on white paper, the double-sided document is 6” x 9” when unfolded.  Illustrations of the Auditorium and tents to be pitched for the summer reflect the late 19th century time period.  Text describes summer offerings of this Western representation of the Chautauqua movement.  Highlighted programs include science, mathematics, languages and pedagogy.  The printed information for participants such as admission, tent rentals and meal costs provide important details for interpreting this unique history.  

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

The Texas-Colorado Chautauqua was part of a widespread national Chautauqua movement (circa 1874-1930) to bring adult education, arts and culture to communities across America.  Orators and entertainers featured were the most popular of the day.  Located in Boulder at the base of the Flatirons, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of the few Chautauqua organizations to endure and is the only one that remains west of the Mississippi River.  The Colorado Chautauqua became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.  Values held by the original Chautauqua movement – art, lifelong learning, culture, voluntary simplicity and nature - are just as relevant today.

How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?

Over a century ago, the Texas Board of Regents were searching for a Colorado town with a cool climate to create a summer school for teachers.  Boulder officials enthusiastically competed to be selected for this retreat.  Boulder prevailed and bonds were approved to purchase land.  The Auditorium and Dining Hall were constructed in a matter of weeks.  The Texas-Colorado Chautauqua opened on July 4, 1898 with 4,000 people in attendance.  (Texas was dropped from the name later.)  The Colorado Chautauqua served not only the intended Texas teachers, but also Boulder residents, Denverites and folks from surrounding rural communities.  

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