By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



It was a strange word to me but after reading about the event that took place in Cardington in 1914, I learned that Chautauquas were quite popular with small towns.

During June and July, 1914, plans were underway for the very first Chautauqua in Cardington. The six day event was to feature a famous “unnamed” governor, world reknown writer, critic, artist, and lecturer, a brillian replica of Sam Jones, a gifted preacher and rousing school teacher, a monologist, two gifted women speakers, two remarkable impersonators, two musical specialists, three violins, three male vocal soloists, five soprano soloists, five rolicking concerts, a band /orchestra and the Royal Welsh Ladies Choir, all coming to Cardington.

The Chautauqua was held in a big tent on the Mills Field. “If when coming in the afternoon session, you care to you can bring your suppers and at the supper hour can have a basket picnic along the Olentangy River back of the big tent or can eat in the city park.”

Tp promote the event before its starting date, a “boosting” party was organized when 17 automobiles led by the K of P head left Cardington for the purpose of boosting the Chautauqua. They visited Ashley, Marengo, and Fulton and were given a very hearty welcome. Several nights later, thie time with a caravan of 39 automobiles, they visited Mt. Gilead, Edison and Caledonia The band that accompanied them played several numbers.

The village cooperated in every way: C. H. Farrington, the corner grocer ran an ad listing all of the items he had to sell during Chautauqua Week including peaches, melons, new potatoes, new cabbage, sweet potatoes, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, salmon, lunch herring, olives, cakes, pickles, dried beef and baked beans. That’s some picnic.

Professor Glenn N. Merry was the main speaker- from the University of Iowa. He was to speak on the subject, “John Mary and Uncle Sam.”

President of the local Chautauqua Planning Committee was J. M. Elllis.

I don’t know whether that was the only Chautauqua held in Cardington but the first must have been a resounding success.

Looking back; June, 1962, Walter Long, owner of Morrow Lanes, contracted for a 30 x 40 addition to be built onto the bowling alley. Mrs. Harry Bennett of Cardington, was named president of the Ohio Department of the Daughters of Union Veterans.

June, 1972: Rita Hart, water safety instructor for the Cardington Swimming Pool, announced that swimming classes would begin June 8.

June, 1982: A memorial service waa held at the high school on June 13, for the four persons killed in the June, 1982 tornado: Donald Carson, Thelma Olson, Leo Bingman and Maxine Danner. Governor James Rhodes was the guest speaker.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist