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Chautauqua Tabernacle

The original amphitheater constructed of terraced ground and covered with sawdust sloping downward to the covered tabernacle was originally constructed in 1872 when the Brookhaven District of the United Methodist Church founded Hennington Campground.

Twenty years later in 1892, a Chautauqua Assembly was incorporated on the 74-acre site and remained active until 1917. The Chautauqua movement established in the late nineteenth century on Lake Chautauqua in Western New York brought entertainment and culture to rural America prior to the advent of radio and other forms of entertainment. The Chautauqua Tabernacle hosted numerous preachers, speakers, teachers musicians entertainers and specialists of the day. At this Chautauqua Tabernacle, the first Parent Teachers Association was formed in 1909.

Over the years, the Chautauqua Tabernacle along with other structures in the park have seen changes. In the 1930's, a Works Progress Administration team constructed the stone fences and surrounding walls throughout the park, connected the amphitheater, and performed other improvements including work on the lake's spillway. More recently, a visiting AmeriCorps team and our local Job Corps Center completed additional upgrades and restoration projects.

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