Home
 
 
  

Welcome to The Pennsylvania Chautauqua

 
The purpose and mission of The Pennsylvania Chautauqua shall be the advancement of literary, scientific, intellectual, physical and social welfare and the promotion of cultural and religious activity, recreation and entertainment. 
 
 
For over 125 years the Pennsylvania Chautauqua has been a quiet retreat where art, culture, spiritualism, nature and community come together.
 
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua is located in the borough of Mount Gretna, a small Victorian community founded in the late 1800’s as a summer resort. Initially the only way for residents to reach their cottages in the tree-covered rolling hills of south central Pennsylvania was to travel by train. Mount Gretna was a stop along the Cornwall Lebanon Railroad line that has since become the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails. Our streets were footpaths until automobiles became the mode of travel. Many of the original cottages surround an open-air playhouse where numerous cultural events are held. Our quaint atmosphere attracts many visitors every summer for Gretna Music, the Original Mt. Gretna Cicada Music Festival, Gretna Theater, and the Mount Gretna Area Historical Society, a visit to the local ice cream shop and lake, or just a walk in the woods. While we enjoy our quiet winters, we welcome with open arms the visitors who come to experience the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, stroll the tree lined streets, admire the historical buildings and participate in the variety of programs we offer to fulfill our mission.
.

To support our mission please donate to the Foundation

 
What Is A Chautauqua?

Chautauqua was founded as an outdoor educational experience for Sunday school teachers by John Heyl Vincent, a Methodist Minister and Lewis Miller, a local businessman on Lake Chautauqua, New York in 1874. The summer camp format proved to be popular with families - thus began The Chautauqua Institute. After its inception the movement spread rapidly through the United States, bringing education, culture, physical and religious activities as well as entertainment to rural America. There were over two hundred Chautauquas at the height of the movement. The advent of the automobile, the radio and movie theaters caused the demise of most of the Chautauquas.

Chautauqua today is organized around its four pillars:  Arts, Education, Religion, and Recreation.  Each area is woven into the schedules of the Chautauquas. 

If you are interested in learning more about the programming offered by the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, view our Summer Programs

You can learn more about Chautauquas by visiting one of the 17 existing Chautauquas that comprise the Chautauqua Trail and by visiting the following web site. http://www.chautauquatrail.com


What Makes the PA Chautauqua Special?
Quiet Time

Chautauquans treasure the peace and tranquility of our community. For many residents, relaxing, reading, reflecting, and rocking on porches is the highlight of the summer. Neighborly consideration encourages that noisy outside projects be done September thru May, leaving the summer months and Sundays “quiet” for everyone’s enjoyment. Please limit use of power equipment before 7am or after 7pm Monday through Saturday. Click HERE for more details
 
Volunteers
 
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community.
Here's an example:
Did you know Chautauqua has a number of springs scattered throughout our grounds? One is by the tennis court pavilion and another is near the Porch and Pantry in the park area.
On a Saturday afternoon, volunteers cleaned out brush and overgrowth to reveal one of these springs. In addition, these folks and others (not pictured), planted ten redbud trees.
 To find your place in helping, start HERE
or contact us HERE 
or call the office at 717-964-3270.
 
Pictured left to right:Don Kensinger, Lynne Davies, Sarah Minnich, Mike Sherman

Chautauqua Cares: A Newsletter Dedicated to the Health and Well-Being of Our Community
 
 
 
 

FIRE COMPANY FUNDRAISER
Mt. Gretna "Strong at Home"
FILL THE BOOTS!!
 
The Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Department Crew was called into action more than 280  times in the past year. Your continuing support is essential to provide safety and service to Mt. Gretna and all our nearby communities. 
 
The MGVFD  is in the process of purchasing a new, mechanically and electrically up-to-date fire engine.  This engine will be delivered in 2024 and will serve our communities for the next 20 years.   The new Engine will be built as per specifications (narrow streets, etc.) and will replace 2 current pieces of MGFD equipment.  It is anticipated that this engine will cost more than $700,000. 
 
Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Department is requesting increased financial support from residents, communities, and businesses served by the MGVFD Crew.
Donations should be sent to:  
Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Company
PO 177
41 Boulevard St.,
Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
PLEASE NOTE ON CHECK -- FOR NEW EQUIPMENT!   
 
Thank You for your consideration, 
Joseph Shay, President, MGVFD
.
 
 
 

Pennsylvania Chautauqua Pole Banner
This decorative double-sided pole banner makes a nice addition to any cottage. Finished size 23.75” x 51" with double pockets.
$110 includes tax.
Click here to order online or call 717-964-3270. Checks payable to PA Chautauqua.
 

Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show
 
YOU CAN  SUPPORT THE ART SHOW ALL YEAR LONG
Hello Local Mount Gretna Puzzle People. In addition to our collectible posters, we have 500 piece jigsaw puzzles of the 2020 Art Show available. Posters available by calling 717-964-3270 or 717-964-1830. Prices vary. Puzzles may be ordered: 1. online HERE  
2.  by stopping at the Borough Office (under the Post office or the Visitors Center.
$25 check (tax is included) to Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, PO Box 637, Mount Gretna, PA, 17064.
 
 

Soldiers Field Update
 
Soldiers Field Update
April 2022
 
To everyone who graciously supported the purchase of Soldiers Field I want to again thank you for your donations and, with this letter, provide an update on our progress since acquisition. 
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Weaver. I am the current President of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation. I have been a property owner in Mt. Gretna for the past seventeen years and have family roots in the community which date back to the early 1900’s. 
Here is the update:
·      The Pennsylvania Chautauqua closed on the purchase of Soldiers Field on September 27, 2018 with a combination of donated funds and a loan from Jonestown Bank and Trust. 
·      After closing we worked closely with South Londonderry Township to obtain approval for the storm water management project which we started over the past two weeks. This project involves creating a swale just south of Timber Road which will help channel water to the eastern side of the Field to alleviate standing water on the Field following significant rain events. While it is unfortunate that we need to remove some trees from the site, we believe that the benefit from eliminating standing water from the Field is critical to future uses of the Field. 
·      We have also been working to provide additional sources of funding for Soldiers Field. 
o   In 2020 we were awarded a $400,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; we are in the process of finalizing the paperwork for this grant. The proceeds of the grant will be used to retire the Jonestown Bank and Trust acquisition loan in December, 2021, reimburse the PA Chautauqua for its acquisition expenses and will provide funds for the ongoing maintenance and improvement of Soldiers Field. Note that this grant had a requirement that the recipient of the grant must be a 501 C3 non-profit. As a result of that requirement, the PA Chautauqua transferred the property to the PA Chautauqua Foundation earlier this year. 
o   In 2021, the PA Chautauqua Foundation applied for and received a $10,025 grant from the Marcellus Shale funds through Lebanon County. This grant will be used, along with matching funds from the PA Chautauqua Foundation, to fund the stormwater management project referred to above. We will not receive the actual funds until the project is completed and we demonstrate to the County that we complied with the terms of the grant application.
o   The Foundation also received a $200,000 donation from the Mount Gretna Foundation for the Performing Arts to pay for improvements to Soldiers Field
o   We have also applied for a grant of $300,000 from The Conservation Fund (TCF) which would provide funding for the acquisition and preservation of Soldiers Field. The grant can be used as matching funds for a grant application that requests funding for future improvements at Soldiers Field. 
·      The next project on the drawing board will be to connect Soldiers Field to Mt. Gretna proper with an ADA-compliant walking path and bridge over Conewago Creek. This project was presented to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its approval. The DEP has issued a permit for the bridge. We will next seek approval from South Londonderry Township for the path and bridge when we submit a land development plan for its review and approval in the future. 
·      We have established a Real Estate Committee within the Foundation to oversee the property and have continued the Soldiers Field Advisory Committee, consisting of our Mt. Gretna neighbors, to keep everyone apprised of our activities at the property. 
Our goal is to provide quarterly email/mail updates to you but if you have any questions or concerns, I invite you to please reach out to us at pachautauquafoundation@gmail.com or call the Borough Office at 717-964-3270.
 
 

Contact Info
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua
PO Box 637
Mount Gretna, PA 17064
 
General Inquiries: 717-964-3270
Hall of Philosophy Rental: 717-964-3270
Summer Programs: 717-964-1830
Worship Services: 717-737-8133 or 717-964-3050