On this page, by clicking on past camper photos you will see pictures of summer campers going back to 2002. By clicking on newspaper articles below, you will see articles telling about the history of the property that is now Camp Chautauqua. In many of the articles the camp will be referred to as The Miami Valley Chautauqua Association. After being purchased by the Michigan Baptist Fellowship it was referred to as The Chautauqua Baptist Fellowship Park. After the newspaper articles there will be a link to over 100 historical photos of Miami Valley Chautauqua. The next link is long ago campers, containing 12 panoramic photos of campers who attended Camp Chautauqua in the 1960's and 1970's.
Many famous people have appeared at Chautauqua over the years. They include Booker T. Washington, Billy Sunday, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Senator Robert A. Taft, Hank Williams Jr., Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Bill Anderson and many others.
On July 26, 1901 Chautauqua opened after purchasing the VanDeveer Farm, with it's 2-mile frontage curve on the Great Miami River. On the 1901 program there were many national characters such as the Hon. Champ Clark, the Rev. Sam Jones and Gen. Ballington Booth.
In 1902 the programs biggest attraction was Lt. Richard Pearson, the young naval officer who sank the Collier Merrimac in the narrow channel of Santiago and bottled up the Spanish fleet.
In 1909 the United States Post Office Department recognized Chautauqua and granted a new summer post office, which placed Chautauqua on the map. The largest crowd at Chautauqua was when Helen Stone, the missionary who was kidnapped and held captive in the Balkan wilderness, addressed 18,000 people.
The 1916 program included the joint debate between Gov. James M. Cox and the Hon. Frank B. Willis, who were rival candidates for govenor of Ohio.
The 1928 Assembly program featured the Rev. Billy Sunday.
The high mark in enthusiasm for Chautauqua throughout the Miami Valley for a number of years was the appearance on July 14, 1940 of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.
Early in 1941 Chautauqua entered into a cooperative agreement with radio station WLW-Cincinnati, to broadcast seven Sunday afternoon programs direct from Chautauqua. Some of the programs and performers broadcast from Chautauqua by WLW include "The Quiz Kids", a nationally known program, Peter Grant & the Crosley Choir and Orchestra, H.V. Kaltenborn, one of the best known commentators on the NBC-Radio Network, gave his nation-wide program from Chautauqua. Congressman Martin Dies spoke from Chautauqua on WLW. Widespread publicity, both on the air and through the press, proved to be first class advertising and attracted thousands to Chautauqua, which had a gross income of $93,871.64 in 1941, the biggest season in history.
Entertainers and national speakers who performed at Chautauqua during the season of 1946 included The Harmonaires (who appeared on WLW and the NBC Network), Congressman Walter H. Judd, Col. Jack Major, Senator Alben W. Barkle and others.
The 1950 season brought three great speakers to Chautauqua's famous auditorium. The speakers were Dr. J. Gordon Howard, Senator Robert A. Taft, eldest son of the 27th U.S. President William H. Taft, and Dr. B.R. Lakin.
The year 1960 saw a new use of the facilities at Miami Valley Chautauqua when the Baptist Bible Fellowship International Churches of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky began bringing their young people for week long youth meetings.
A local businessman and promoter brought the Grand Ole Opry shows to Chautauqua from 1964 - 1969. Thousands of people flocked from all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to visit the Grand Ole Opry shows at Chautauqua and see such stars as Hank Williams Jr., Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Bill Anderson and many others.
The Michigan Churches of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International purchased Chautauqua for $115,000 in 1968.
In the years since then, thousands of young people have left with changed lives. many are now missionaries to all parts of the world, pastors, assistant pastors, music ministers, and other roles in local churches in the U.S. Those who have had any part in developing Chautauqua in the past years can feel justly proud in the fact that they have laid the ground work and prepared a place where young people can gather during the summer months and be drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. The future of Camp Chautauqua is left in the hands of an all omniscient God who "so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that who so ever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" and so continues the history of Camp Chautauqua.