Texas Monthly

Texas Journey
Haley Shapley

Mark Twain reportedly once described the chautauqua, an adult education assembly popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as “the only institution where you can be educated and entertained at the same time and not know the difference.” Hundreds of these gatherings popped up all over the U.S., but the premier example west of the Mississippi River was the Texas–Colorado Chautauqua, which opened in Boulder, Colorado, on the Fourth of July in 1898. It’s one of only a handful of chautauquas (pronounced shuh-TAWK-wahs and so named because the first was founded on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake) that’s been in continuous operation since its founding, with its historic structures still in place and in use.