Chautauqua, Illinois is where the Frauenthals and Kings had their summer cottages.

Grandpa Ed and Grandma Lilian Frauenthal had the cottage where Alice, mom and I stayed.  The Kings had a cottage near the end of a road whose name I can't remember.  Aunt Ann and Uncle Harold met in Chautauqua, I believe. Who can forget those idyllic summer days where we played roque, threw horse shoes, played tennis, took fencing classes, and swam every day till we shriveled up. The favorite swimming pastime was a game called "shark". The children's day pageant was always a highlight with a big parade. On the fourth of July there was a big fireworks display by the Mississippi River. Chatauqua was nestled between two very high bluffs, it felt very protected with a visitors gate at one end and the river at the other end. It was surprising that the Air Force named this place as a finalist for the Air Force Academy, it seemed such an unlikely choice. Most nights we went to the semi-outdoor theater where they had free popcorn, free movies and a community sing. The theater was open on three sides and the kids usually sat up in the front rows. The theater was also the non-denominational Sunday School and a place for plays and musicals.

The town was fed water by an incredible artesian spring that came from the bluffs, It was definitely a "power spot".
More old Chautauqua pictures
Even more pictures
Discussion of Chautauqua (add your memories and comments)









Where was the picture below above taken?  It might be next to the movie theater.  The third cottage from the bottom may be where Johnny Paul and his family lived?  Near the administration building and roque courts?  

You got to the pavilion via the boardwalk, the pavilion is where the dances were held and was right next to the swimming pool.

I only vaguely remember this memorial, I'm trying to place where it might have been.  Terry

What a great shot of the light house, the pavilion, and the area where docks would be in later years in the picture below.



Contact Information:

New Piasa Chautauqua
12552 Alton Avenue
Elsah, IL 62028
(618) 374-2822
This video is amazing because it focues on the game of roque still played at Chautauqua:

from the Wikipedia entry

Chautauqua, Illinois (also known as the New Piasa Chautauqua Historic District) is a private gated summer resort that started as a 19th century tent settlement. The name Piasa is taken from a nearby Native American painting of a mythical bird, called the Piasa Bird, which was painted on the bluffs high above the Mississippi River. Chautauqua is located between Elsah and Grafton in Jersey County. Today, it is bordered by and has access from the Great River Road. It has functioned as a private non-denominational Christian summer resort for over a century.

[edit] History

Founded in 1885 by Methodist leaders, Piasa Chautauqua attracted thousands of people from the St. Louis area and other places in Illinois. Arriving first by packet boat, and later by automobile or the trains that ran by as often as six times a day, the vacationers were entertained, educated, and inspired by such luminaries like William Jennings Bryan, evangelists Sam Jones, Billy Sunday and Gypsy Smith, the Swiss Bell Ringers, John Philip Sousaís band and "Sunny Jim," reputed to be one of the Theodore Rooseveltís Rough Riders.

The physical situation of the settlement added to its appeal as the hottest summer days had cool valley breezes and some evenings might require a jacket. Before the days of air-conditioning, this offered a welcome relief from the heat of the city. An early swimming pool, that used to be filled with cold spring water, remains a popular attraction.

A 1912 brochure described it as this:

"Piasa Chautauqua is located less than 40 miles from St. Louis in a beautiful valley between high, massive bluffs with the great Mississippi serving as a guard in front and almost unexplored forest at back, one of natureís most picturesque spots, unknown to thousands but dear to those who have enjoyed its beauties and regained health from its wonderful springs and its clear, pure air, delightful cool nights, beautiful scenery and outdoor amusements, boating, swimming, fishing, bathing, lawn tennis, croquet, baseball..."

A recently formed historical society is working to integrate the Chautauqua history with that of the surrounding area. It has now been designated as the New Piasa Chautauqua Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Today, there are over two hundred cottages and substantial homes at Chautauqua. Many are occupied by the descendants of earlier owners.