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Fenton History Center

Chautauqua Remembered Then and Now

Chautauqua Remembered Then and Now

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This book is concerned with providing the viewer with historical understanding based primarily on observation and comparison of the visual record. Larger image size has allowed for better visibility of detail and ability for the viewer to identify more closely with content of the image. There is specific emphasis on the then and now type of presentation. Numerous books have used this approach, in which a present image of a location is paired with one of the same location from an earlier time period on facing pages for comparison. In addition this book has included comparison of views of the same location from different positions, views from separate periods in the past, and comparison of closely related locations.

The then and now type of presentation provides the viewer with the fascinating experience of clearly observing the changes that have occurred at the same location during an elapsed period of time. Such comparisons also allow the observer to become more aware of the historical identity of a location, rather than merely tacitly accepting the existing reality. Comparison with the simpler patterns of earlier times can also allow the viewer to become more aware of some of the advantages of a less complicated manner of living the subject of this book is the Chautauqua Institution, located on Chautauqua Lake in western New York State and founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Vincent. The location was first known as the Chautauqua Assembly at Fair Point, and later was renamed Chautauqua Institution in 1902. Although the purpose of the founders began with the summer education of Sunday school teachers, development of lifelong education and recreational pursuits also became emphasized. The development by Bishop Vincent of the home reading program known as the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (C.L.S.C.) was especially well received, and assisted in recognition of Chautauqua on a national basis. The extensive variety of the Chautauqua program, including music, art, plays, opera, dance, and lectures, has been maintained at a high level of excellence.

The major venue for much of the Chautauqua program for most of its existence has been the Amphitheater located in the center of the Chautauqua grounds. The structure was replaced in 2017, and then and now presentation of images is especially useful in referring to the changes that have occurred there. This type of presentation is also helpful in remembering a location which has been related to so many good memories. For ease of reference in the image descriptions, the former Amphitheater is referred to as the old Amphitheater, and the rebuilt Amphitheater is referred to as the new Amphitheater.

Many additional historical images of Chautauqua Institution and closely related lake views, along with detailed descriptions and background information, can be found in my previous book entitled Town of Chautauqua: Journey Through Time. The book also makes use of the then and now concept as part of its presentation, and can be effectively considered as a companion volume to this book. Further historical information can also be found in the sources listed in the bibliography given in the previous book.


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