Carters Re-Establish Plains Chautauqua

Posted on June 19, 2014

Lakeside Chautauqua’s management team visited Plains, Ga. for the community’s first weekend Chautauqua program, inspired by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.

The small farming community began as a one-day  brief educational program that emphasized its history.

However, with the encouragement of Rosalynn, the Plains Chautauqua programs are now generated for larger audiences with diverse topics.

Rosalynn was instrumental in resurrecting the Plains Chautauqua, and President Carter served as the keynote speaker at the event.    

“Chautauqua is good for our country,” explained President Carter.

He added that it provides a “better picture of what our nation is and where the foundations for the greatness of America has been derived.”   

Throughout the Plains Chautauqua program, the Carters attended various lectures, participated in worship services and mingled with guests.  

At the opening dinner reception, Lakeside Chautauqua’s management team was honored to share a table with the Carters, providing the staff with an opportunity to discuss the historic North American Chautauqua Movement and its relevance today. 

In addition to promoting the virtues of Chautauqua, the group discussed Lakeside’s role in pioneering the movement in the 19th century.  They also emphasized the importance of working together with other Chautauqua communities to revitalize the movement in the 21st century.

Throughout the weekend, participants learned about President Carter’s childhood farm, his presidential campaign, The Carter Center and Miss Julia Coleman, the woman instrumental in originally bringing Chautauqua to Plains, Ga.

The Carters are committed to promoting the Chautauqua Trail to help all Americans understand the value of places like Lakeside Chautauqua.

The Plains community was deeply welcoming, providing southern hospitality and embodying the Chautauqua experience. 

Plains, Ga. is a small rural town south of Atlanta with a population of more than 750 people. Visitors can learn about the community and the Carters. Individuals can tour President Carter’s boyhood farm and the train station where the presidential campaign was organized, as well as a peanut farm.        

These are exciting times for the 21st century Chautauqua Movement, and all Lakesiders are part of making history with their presence on the grounds of Lakeside.

For more information on the Chautauqua Trail, visit