The Chautauqua Preservation Society was first formed in 1974 at the time of the renovation and rededication of the Waxahachie Chautauqua Auditorium. The five members of the board of directors at that time were Waxahachie residents: Josephine Ruskin, Ed Miles, Marvin Singleton, Jr., Martha Jane Bryce, and a very young lawyer named Steve Chapman. The new organization's stated purpose was to further the restoration and maintenance of the Chautauqua Auditorium and the grounds surrounding it. In 1994, after a long period of inactivity, the Society was dissolved by the State of Texas.
In 1999, 25 years after that magnificent Chautauqua Auditorium restoration effort, the Chautauqua Preservation Society was revived. Steve Chapman was the sole surviving member of the original organization and we were fortunate to have him sitting on the board of the revived organization also. Other board members in 1999-2000 included: Fred Weldon, Betty Weldon, Beth Price, Alice Sklar, Melissa Salmon, Scott Salmon, Holly Young, Buddy Young, Kirk Hunter, and Maureen Moore. Their dedication to Chautauqua remained true to the original Chautauqua Preservation Society. Their mission included not only the preservation of the Chautauqua Auditorium and grounds but also the providing of cultural and educational programs in the style of the old Chautauqua. They aimed to continue the Chautauqua legacy that was begun in Waxahachie in 1900.
Beginning in 2000, the centennial of the founding of the Waxahachie Chautauqua Summer Encampment and Assembly, the Chautauqua Preservation Society has produced an annual one-day Chautauqua Assembly the last Saturday in September. Educational, inspirational and entertaining programs are presented by respected scholars, artists and teachers in the restored Chautauqua Auditorium, in old-fashioned tents, and in the surrounding pastoral shaded setting of Getzendaner Park. Lectures and performances revolve around a particular theme that is viewed through the arts, humanities and sciences. The goal of the revived Chautauqua is to continue the unique spirit and tradition of the historic Chautauqua by offering a place for discovery and renewal.
We are a registered IRS 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
We are a member of the Chautauqua Network of the Chautauqua Institution, and the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce.