Early Chautauqua Topic of Fenton Brown Bag Talk


Article Contributed by
Fenton History Center

The Fenton History Center’s monthly lecture is Wednesday, July 12 at noon at the Fenton Mansion, 67 Washington St. The talk is about the beginnings of Chautauqua Institution. “More than Meets the Eye: The Early Story of Chautauqua” will be presented by Chautauqua Institution Special Programs instructor Richard Heitzenrater, who is the William Kellon Quick Professor Emeritus of Church History and Wesley Studies at Duke Divinity School. Dr. Heitzenrator Previously taught at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and Centre College, Danville, Kentucky. He graduated from Jamestown High School in 1957 and has been visiting Chautauqua Institution since 1947.

The talk will focus on the instigating features of both the Camp Meeting (1871-75) and the Assembly (starting in 1874) at Fair Point on Chautauqua Lake. It will look at the main influences in that region at the time, including oil money from Pennsylvania, the spread of railroads and steamboats, recovering from the Civil War, the founding of colleges, religious revivals and squabbling, industrialization, the publication of Darwin, and the like.

“The story is much more than the ideas of J. H. Vincent paid for by the money of Lewis Miller, in spite of propaganda to the contrary,” said Dr. Heitzenrator. “The talk will appeal to those interested in the history of the area, the national and regional issues of the late nineteenth century, the problems of defining origins of societal structures, the humorous side of history, and little-known details about well-known events, people, and institutions.”

Attendees are welcome to bring 1870-1900 era pictures and or stories they have of the area.

More information about all of the talks can be found on the Fenton website at www.fentonhistorycenter.org or by calling the Fenton History Center at 716-664-6256.