Gehlbach discusses history behind Lincoln Chautauqua

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[November 05, 2019]     Send a link to a friend  Share

Pictures by Curtis Fox

A map of the Lincoln Chautauqua grounds with the lots where people built their summer cottages. Note the streets and precise blocks of lots. It was designed by a landscape architect. Abbie Alexander found this historic document.




The auditorium played host to nationally known celebrities during the height of the Chautauqua season, usually in August. It seated an audience of over 4,000. According to Bill Gossett this historic and one-of-a-kind structure was demolished during WWII.

Check out these cottages at the Chautauqua and the lake.

Nancy Gehlbach researched the history of the Chautauqua and told a compelling story at the LCGHS monthly meeting.


This cottage is a remnant of the Chautauqua that belonged to the Alexander family. It was moved into Lincoln when the Chautauqua closed and now resides on Grand Avenue.


Nancy Gehlbach (L) was assisted in telling the story of the Chautauqua by Abbie Alexander (R) whose family had a cottage at the Chautauqua and a downtown grocery. Alexander’s Grocery was a Lincoln institution for many years.


Memorial Park now occupies the grounds where the Lincoln Chautauqua existed. Imagine the huge auditorium, dozens of cottages, and crowds of people enjoying the summer of fun where the stately trees now stand. Once upon a time, Lincoln was a much different place.


Lincoln Chautauqua sign at what is now Memorial Park.


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