The Complete Chautauquan

The Ottawa Chautauqua Assembly

By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

Chautauqua in Ottawa, Kansas

Ottawa Assembly [The Inter-State Sunday-school Assembly], Forest Park, Ottawa, KS 

  • 1880, First Assembly, in Topeka, KS [Vincent 41]
  • 1882, Assembly held at Hartzell Park, near Topeka, KS. [Vincent 292]
  • 1883, First Assembly held at Forest Park, Ottawa, KS. [Vincent 292] 
  • 1885, "The Inter-State Sunday-school Assembly, Kansas, was origanized in 1878 by Rev. J. E. Gilbert, then pastorof the first Methodist-Episcopal Church, Topeka.  He conducted the meetings for two years.  The third year, Dr. E. W. Schauffler of Kansas City was chosen president.  In 1882 the meeting was held at Hartzell Park near Topeka, under the presidency of George M Stearns, Rev. J. L. Hurlbut conductor.  In 1883 the fifth annual meeting was held at Forest Park, adjoining the city of Ottawa, Kan., which is now the permanent location of the Assembly.  Ottawa is situated on the Southern Kansas Railway, and is the terminus of a branch of the Missouri Pacific Railway.  It is firty-one miles south-west from Kansas City, Mo.  It has a population of seven thousand.  Forest Park is the property of the city, and lies within its limits.  It contains forty acres, and lies on the banks of the Maraise de Cygnes River.  Through the liberality of the city, the Park has been provided with a large and convenient tabernacle, normal-class building, and assembly-hall.  The Assembly has free use of the park during the meetings, and the people of the city and adjoining country take an active an earnest and active interest in the welfare of the Assembly.  The Sunday-school normal work is the 'heart' of the Assembly.  'Chautauqua was the suggestion, and has been the ideal.'  For five years Professor Sherwin has had charge of the music.  Rev. B. T. Vincent was an instructor one year.  In 1885 Prof. R. S. Holmes taught an advanced normal class.  The 'C. L. S. C.' round-tables, camp-fires, and 'Recognition Day' services are observed at the 'Inter-State Sunday-school Assembly.'  It is the ambition of this organization, in the language of one of its officers, 'to be known as the Chautauqua of the West.'  Tje eighth annual session, form June 22 to July 2, 1886.  Rev. D. C. Milner of Atchinson, Kan., president; Rev. Dr. J. L. Hurlbut of New York, superintendent of instruction; D. C. Hanes, Ottawa, Kan., secretary.  [Vincent 292-3]
  • 1886, Jun 22-Jul 3 [Chaut v7 p46] 
  • 1887, Jun 15-29; Rec Jun 22 [Chaut v7 p576] 
  • 1908, Henry Durst, secretary. 1908 ICA Member (TLT0208) 
  • 1914, Last Ottawa Chautauqua 

October 1899 -- The attractions which have made the Ottawa Assembly one the of largest and best equipped of all the Chautauquas proved no less effective in this its 19th year.  Forest Park, where the assembly is held, is city property, and the only buildings within its precincts are those devoted to the public needs of the assembly.  Four or five thousand people in regular attendance live for the most part in tents, and the white avenues and well-kept lawns present a beautiful appearance among the magnificent shade trees.  The C. L. S. C. department under Mrs. Noble L. Prentis were as usual very important centers of influence at the assembly.  The Round Tables were more than usually attractive, C. L. S. C. receptions and Recognition-Day exercises fully attanded, and the increase of interest in the Circle are very marked.  There were as always popular lectures, and those of a more serious sort of a high order.  Especial attention has been given to the children's work during the past few years, and the Boys' Club, organized by Dr. Jas. A. Babbitt, head of the Chautauqua Boys' Club, has proven one of the most interesting departments of the assembly.  The seal of popular approval was set upon the movement in behalf of the boys by an immediate and generous response to the appeal for funds for the new Boys' Club building, which is to be made a basis for a complete system of education.  Next year it is proposed to have a well-equipped building as much like the Boy's Club Building at Chautauqua as a possible.  ~From The Chautauquan.

October 1900 -- The Ottawa Chautauqua Assembly held its twenty-second session at Forest Park, Ottawa, Kansas, July 9 to 20.  Dr. Jesse L. Hurlbut, who has been superintendent of instruction since 1881, was in charge this year, aided by the president, Rev. Dr. Northrop, of Kansas City.  The grove is the finest in the state of Kansas, and with its hundreds of white tents dotting the green lawns under the old forest trees, presented a picturesque appearance.  The Boys' Club, under the direction of Professor Knowlton, took possesion of a new building erceted expressly for their use.  The Girls' Club was also large in membership, and enthusiastic.  Dr. Hurlbut conducted the Sunday-school teacher's normal class.  Eight members of the Class of 1900, C. L. S. C., were present to recieve their diplomas, and to listen to a magnificent recognition address by Dr. Hillis on "The Message of John Ruskin."  The Chautauqua Round Table, held daily under the direction of Mrs. L. B. Kellogg, of Emporia, was one of the most interesting features of the assembly.  Dr. A. A. Wright made the minister's institute a popular feature ; and the lectures on English literature by Professor Squires, of the University of South Dakota, were attended by at least six hundred people each day.  The chorus was larger than for many years, and was led by Professor Chapman, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. 


Pages on This Website: 
Chautauqua Introduction

  What Is Chautauqua?
  Lyceum and Chautauqua
Chautauqua History
  The Lyceum
  The Institution
  The CLSC
  The Independents
     Independents by Name
     Independents by Town
           Ottawa, KS, Chautauqua
           Winfield, KS, Assembly
           Siloam Springs, AR
           Waxahachie, TX
     Independents by Meeting Dates
  The Chautauqua Circuits
  The Chautauquans
     Chautauqua Talent Bureaus
     Chautauqua Platform Talent
  Chautauqua in Oklahoma
     Sapulpa, OK
     Tulsa, OK
Chautauqua Today
  The Historic Model Chautauquas
      Survival of the Fittest
         The Chautauqua Institution
         Camp Meeting Assns
      Revival of Ideals
         DeFuniak Springs, FL
         Waxahachie, TX
   The Modern Model Chautauquas
     Chautauqua Scholars HOT!
     Chautauqua Characters
     Great Plains Chautauqua
     Tulsa, OK, Chautauqua
           1999 Tulsa Photos
           2001 Articles and Photos
   History Alive!
   Cyber Chautauquas
Chautauqua Reference
   The Complete Story
   Chautauqua Collection
     Chautauqua Postcards
     Items Wanted
   Chautauqua Bibliography


Page Created 06/12/01
Copyright © 2001
By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell 
Last Updated 03/03/02