The Complete Chautauquan:

Camp Meetings

By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

It was near the beginning of the 19th Century when James McGrady of Kentucky led the camp meeting movement.  With the revival movement of the 1800s, the camp meeting idea spread rapidly.  Here are some camp meetings that still have an annual assembly.

Georgia, Flovila: Indian Springs Holiness Camp Meeting Association history: Our History and Heritage.

Illinois: Des Plains Camp Meeting Association history: 140 Years in Christ

New Jersey: Delanco Camp Meeting Association History: Celebrating 20 Years at Lake Agape

New Jersey: Here is a nice page on the history of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association: History of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association from the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association Website.

North Carolina:  Here is the history page of Camp Wesley:
A History of Camp Wesley Interdenominational Holiness Camp

Here is a website that is devoted to the Camp Meeting Assemblies:

A Heavenly Chautauqua

OF THE MANY Chautauquas he manages, Dr. W. L. Davidson's favorite is at Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, of which Assembly he is justly proud. He has managed this Assembly for fifteen years. Invariably he greets all newcomers on the program with, "Well, well: I'm glad you're here. You've got to heaven at last." ~From The Lyceumite & Talent, October 1907

Camp Assemblies

Protestant Christian church groups were responsible for starting many camp meetings at popular resort locations to encourage Bible teachings and church growth in American communities. The Methodists were very much into this sort of "summer assembly" and were quick to use this type of encampment to train Sunday school teachers for church work. One such assembly was the one at Fair Point, New York, on Chautauqua Lake started by John Hyel Vincent, a important leader in the development of Sunday school, which is used by many protestant churches today. Out of the Chautauqua Assembly came the popular adult education vacation place that spawned many other "chautauquas" across North America. Many of these also developed out of the Methodist and other Church Camp meetings. However, it is important to note that not all of the summer church camp assemblies became chautauquas.

Below is a list of some of the Methodist camp grounds that retained their original mission and religous purpose and most of which did not become part of the Chautauqua Movement:

Illinois, Chicago. Camp Berger [German Speaking] .

Illinois, Des Plaines. The Des Plaines Summer Assembly is one of the oldest and most important of the summer camp grounds in America, and it is still in business today. Having been founded in 1860, prior to the Civil War, it now celebrates 140 years of consecutive summer assemblies at the same location. The Des Plaines Methodist Camp Ground [1860]: 125 Years of Methodist History by Daniel R. Sailor, June 1984.

Illinois, Dixon. Franklin Grove Camp Ground. Illinois, Freeport. Lena Camp Ground.

Illinois, Jolliet. New Lenox Camp Ground.

Illinois, Lake Bluff. Althought the Lake Bluff Assembly did become an active part of the Chautauqua Movement and very active in the CLSC, it was a long time camp ground before the chautauqua idea ever came about, and would no doubt have been an important camp meeting even if the Chautauqua Movement hadn't taken place.

Page Created 07/01/00
Copyright © 2001
By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell
Last Updated  07/01/01