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  Chautauqua Auditorium
Forest Park at E. North 9th St., Shelbyville (Shelby Co.)

 

 
   
 

 

Built by H.B. Trout in 1903, this 20-sided wood-frame auditorium is 150 feet in diameter. It has a patented radial roof truss system, which was invented by Morrison H. Vail in 1902. The structure can hold 6,000 patrons, making it the largest surviving “Chautauqua” auditorium of its kind in the nation. The auditorium was built as part of the Chautauqua Movement, which promoted education and entertainment through communal events. In the 1910s and 1920s, vaudevillians Gallagher & Shean and local bandleader George Goforth were regular performers. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, but a century of deterioration and the need for a complete roof replacement pose serious structural challenges. An initial restoration bid was estimated at $1.75 million. The City Council has indicated that the building will be razed if repairs are not addressed in two years.

 

     
 

  HOW CAN I HELP?

 

To learn more about the auditorium and donate to the roof stabilization project, please visit the Chautauqua Auditorium Preservation Commission’s web site: www.shelbyvillechautauqua.com.

 
     
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112

 

 

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