Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 10, 2006):
Founded in 1898 as the Texas-Colorado Chautauqua, the Colorado Chautauqua is the only site of its kind, an independent institution established and continuously operating as a chautauqua open to the general public. Its programming successfully assimilated the popular entertainment featured at the circuit chautauqua with the educational emphasis of the independent assembly.The Chautauqua Idea was institutionalized in two quite distinct formats: the independent assembly and the circuit chautauqua. The independent assembly was designed to be held annually in the summer at a permanent location. The circuit chautauqua was a traveling troupe of educators and entertainers that brought a week or two of programming to rural towns all over the United States. The Colorado Chautauqua survives as a unique and distinctively western expression of the movement.