The Pennsylvania Chautauqua EST 1892
Pennsylvania Chautauqua 125th

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Chautauqua!

The purpose and mission of The 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 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 music, theater, 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 Chautauqua, stroll the tree lined streets, admire the historical buildings and participate in the variety of programs we offer to fulfill our mission.

Explore our website, check out our programming schedule, and come visit.

To support our mission please donate to the Foundation

Update From Our Campmeeting Friends
Some Resources to consider.

Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show
Hello Local Mount Gretna Puzzle People. We have 500 piece jigsaw puzzles of this year's Art Show Poster available for your stay at home days. We are not mailing them out at this time. To respect social distancing, you may pick one up from the bin outside my house, 315 Muhlenberg Ave., in the driveway. On our sweet community's honor system, please mail a $25 check (tax is included) to Mount Gretna Art Show, PO Box 637, Mount Gretna, PA, 17064. PM me after you have gotten yours and I will Lysol the outside of the bin. Kerry Royer


What makes the 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.

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

This Week in Mt. Gretna

No Events at this time.



Corona Virus Update
March 24, 2020
Dear Pennsylvania Chautauqua Stockholders and Friends of Soldiers Field,
While summer in Mount Gretna seems a long way off, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the possibility that this may be a very different kind of summer for all of us.  The Pa Chautauqua Board of Managers, along with the Art Show Committee and the Summer Programs Committee will be very closely adhering to the recommendations of the CDC and Pa Department of Health regarding the impact of Covid-19 on our community.  Health and safety will be our first priority.   We appreciate your patience and understanding as we keep you informed about decisions to cancel or postpone events and programs over the next few months.  
It’s hard to imagine Mount Gretna without the bustling summers we’ve come to know and love.  Last year, the Art Premier launched our summer with their auction, serving as a reminder of our community’s commitment to supporting the Arts.  The Mount Gretna Art Show was a huge success in August, and we had over 100 programs in the Hall of Philosophy over the course of the summer.   The Playhouse was alive with Cicada, Gretna Music, and Gretna Theater.  Mount Gretna School of Art students peppered our community with their easels and art supplies.  We enjoyed gathering together at the Timbers, the Hideaway, the Porch and Pantry, the Fire House, the Pizzeria, and the Jigger Shop.  Residents and visitors gathered on the porch of the Mount Gretna Historic Society to share stories from the past.  Mount Gretna thrives on social interaction; we make a trip to the Post Office a social event!  These next few months are going to be very different for us. We will provide timely event and program updates over the next few months on our Pa Chautauqua website http://www.pachautauqua.info/default.php.  We are guardedly hopeful that we’ll be able to have at least some of our events and programs this summer; it’s hard to imagine Mount Gretna without them. The Mount Gretna Borough is continuing to address measures protecting the safety of pedestrians in our community such as additional traffic calming measures along Route 117 and Pinch Road.   
The Pa Chautauqua and the Mount Gretna Borough plan to provide updates by email in the future rather than by sending a mailing like this one.  If you would like to be included in future mailings from the Mount Gretna Borough or the Pa Chautauqua, please send your name, Mount Gretna address, and primary mailing address to: pachautauqua@gmail.com.  
Take care of yourselves and one another.
With kindest regards,
Lynne Davies 
President, Pennsylvania Chautauqua

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Soldiers Field
February 2020
Gretna Grady didn’t see his shadow on Sunday so we can count on an early spring! Many thanks to Val and Fred Swarr for creating a great Gretna tradition and fundraiser for the Fire Company!
The Soldiers Field tract (18.14 ac) was purchased by the Pa Chautauqua Association in 2018.  An Advisory Committee, formed in late January 2019, includes volunteer representatives from seven Mount Gretna area neighborhoods. Representatives are Jennifer Besse, Tom Clemens, Kristi Donahue, Ned Gibble, Sid Hostetter, Marla Pitt and Jackie Zimmerman. The Committee meets monthly and provides input, advice, knowledge and resources to the Pa Chautauqua Board of Managers.  Board members who serve on the Committee are Jeanette Leid and Mike Sherman.
Since the first update this past July, volunteer work, committee meetings, project planning, permitting and grant work have continued. On August 4th, thirty-three attendees at the Soldiers Field Open House provided feedback and discussions with Committee members and table hosts on the following subjects:  stewardship/land management, walking paths and pedestrian bridge, parking, traffic and Brigade activities
South Londonderry Township has approved a stormwater project that will address and correct stormwater runoff and resulting accelerated erosion conditions along Timber Road and in the adjacent woods.  The work will consist of a vegetated swale along Timber Road that will combine with an existing culvert outlet near the intersection with Valley Road and convey stormwater to a water quality best management practice.  Work on this project is projected to start in early April.  A grant application to fund a portion of this work was filed with the Lebanon County Planning Department last month. Funding decisions will be made by March 31.
Work continues to close our two grants and receive remaining grant funds from The Conservation Fund and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).   Grant closings will hopefully be completed by the end of first quarter 2020.   A grant application to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to restore walking paths, build a pedestrian bridge and overflow parking area was not chosen for funding in the 2019 grant cycle. The Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation expects to apply to DCNR and DCED this April for funding this same project.
Volunteer activities, public walks and programs are being discussed and planned for this spring and summer.  Efforts to remove invasive species, plant trees and shrubs and other beneficial projects will commence as the weather improves toward the end of winter.  Members of the Soldiers Field Volunteer Brigade will be notified of future activities.  To be added to the Brigade mailing list please contact MDSherman01@comcast.net.

Additional information is available by calling 717-964-3270. 

Lancaster News Article



Phone Info
  • 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

Mail Info
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua
PO Box 637
Mount Gretna, PA 17064