Although built to house chautauqua events, the Rockville Chautauqua Pavilion is of a more simple form than some of the more camp and resort-like settings previously mentioned. It was built at Beechwood Park in 1913 when the Rockville Chautauqua was two years old. Its in the form of an octagon with timber beams and rises 1 ½ stories with a clerestory. The two-level roof structure was original wood shingle but was replaced in 1976-1978 with a standing seam metal roof. The pavilion has open sides and a stage area at one end. It was built to hold 2800 people.

The first meeting was held in August 1911, and evangelist Billy Sunday was the speaker. This first event drew 3,500 people. The Rockville Chautauqua reached its peak attendance in 1915 when between 8,000-10,000 came to hear former president William Howard Taft. By 1930, the Chautauqua Association decided to dissolve the group and permanently give the camp to the local parks department. They continue to maintain the park today.

Other features within Beechwood Park that date back to the chautauqua days include the entry gates and ticket booths, a picnic shelter, and water fountain. The pavilion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.



Rockville, IN 47872