During the summer months, the city of Bastrop works to provide activities for its citizens who are on vacation, and one of the more interesting activities, the Chautauqua, took place this week in 1928.
Chautauquas were events created to educate and entertain. They were popular the 1800s and early 1900s and included educational lectures, plays and other forms of entertainment.
Plans for Bastrop's own chautauqua started in early June of 1928. The chautauqua was a five-day program and started Friday, June 29. B. Emmert of the Associated Chautauqua Company of Topeka, Kansas came to Bastrop to help plan the event which took place under a large tent at the corner of Jefferson and Franklin Streets.
Chautauqua Advance Representative Eleanor Mitchell, with the help of local ladies, sold tickets for the event. Tickets were sold at 50 cents each.
Each day of the event included several different entertainments. The chautauqua opened with a performance by “The Minstrel of the Balkans”, a Yugoslavian Tamburica Orchestra. Other offerings included William G. Polman and Company who performed opera numbers in costume, a bell ringer group and lectures by physician Dr. Henry Blackburn and Pastor Dr. Alexander Cairns.
The event was advertised in the Enterprise in the weeks leading up to the event with the paper noting “many unique staging ideas are to be featured and nothing has been neglected which will make Chautauqua week a period of delightful entertainment and leave a vivid memory of time well spent.”
Many people attended and enjoyed the event with the Enterprise reporting that the tent was nearly filled on opening night.
Bastrop residents found the Chautauqua both entertaining and interesting and were glad to be a part of such an educational and enjoyable event.