By: Lori Youse

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear famous historical figures talk about their experiences and accomplishments . . . in real life? Chautauqua is the opportunity to meet celebrated figures from our nation’s past, then talk with them about their lives, ideas, and impact.

Since 1995, when Maryland’s Chautauqua began at Garrett College, this summer event has spread to six locations, providing free programs for communities in every region of the state. Chautauqua combines scholarship and performance to present an interactive program that engages thousands of Marylanders in thoughtful dialogue.

This July, to celebrate the upcoming 25th annual modern day Maryland Chautauqua, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF), with help from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and the town of Mountain Lake Park, will be presenting a very special Chautauqua “Then and Now” festival to be held in Mountain Lake Park, MD, the original home of Chautauqua in Maryland. This three-day festival, to be held July 5-7, 2019, will be a three-day re-creation of events from Maryland’s earlier Mountain Chautauqua years.
This three-day celebration will include a schedule of daily lectures, historical re-enactments, musical presentations, workshops, and more. Special event additions will include the opportunity to visit select homes in the Mountain Lake Park historic district and to share personal stories connected to the development of Mountain Lake Park.

Mountain Chautauqua, the first Chautauqua in Maryland, was designed to blend religious revivalism with cultural and educational activities. Beginning in 1881 with the purchase of 800 acres known as Hoye’s Big Pasture, the first camp meeting was held in the summer of 1882. Soon the community saw the building of cottages, a tabernacle, an amphitheatre, a lake, a boathouse, boarding houses, and hotels. Lasting for nearly sixty years, Mountain Chautauqua brought thousands of visitors and summer residents by train to the region.
Two local historians will help to set the stage for this event. Historian Albert Feldstein will present a history of Mountain Lake Park, incorporating old postcards from the 1900s. These include pictures of Mountain Lake Park hotels, residential streets, boarding houses, lakes, Chautauqua locations, railroad stations and more.

An award-winning public historian, Albert Louis Feldstein has since 1980 successfully published over thirty books, prints, videotapes, and DVDs depicting the history of all three western Maryland Counties – Allegany, Garrett and Washington, as well as nearby West Virginia. His works have focused upon such varied subjects as historic postcards, newspapers, floods, gravesites, women’s history, African-American history, presidential campaigns, coal mining, and railroads. A 2003 effort, a political history poster entitled, “Buttons of the Cause, 1960-2003,” was from 2005 through 2013, accepted for exhibit and sale at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington. Feldstein has also developed five educational websites, all initiated in collaboration with the Western Maryland Regional Library.

Historian Dr. John Rathgeb will present a lecture on Civil War Medicine. Dr. Rathgeb has served on the Board of the Greater Oakland Business Association, The Garrett County Historical Society, and the B&O Railroad Station Committee. He has also served as a docent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland and has lectured around the country on Civil War Medicine.

Each evening, the activities will conclude with interactive presentations from Maryland Humanities Chautauqua 2019, “Making Waves.” featuring polar explorer Matthew Henson, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and Irish Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley.

Garrett Lakes Arts Festival would like to thank and recognize the major donors for the 2019 Mtn. Chautauqua Festival Project: Town of Mt. Lake Park, FirstEnergy Foundation and Garrett College. In addition, this Project has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, Project contents or opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. And also made possible by a grant from Maryland Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maryland Historical Trust in the Maryland Department of Planning, and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Maryland Humanities, Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland Department of Planning, or the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Garrett Lakes Arts Festival is committed to making all of its programs and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. Please call the GLAF Office at 301.387.3082 for special needs accommodations 30 days prior to the event.