The buildings are beautifully preserved. It's surprisingly appropriate that they are being used to house artists' studios and galleries because in the late 1800s, before the amusement park was built in 1911, the park was part of a program called the National Chautauqua Assembly. This was an adult education movement with Methodist roots, dedicated to teaching science, arts, languages and literature and once referred to by former president Theodore Roosevelt as "the most American thing about America". There were traveling programs and some permanent sites, including Glen Echo.
The amusement park closed in 1968 and in '71 the Federal Government bought the land. The National Park Service collaborated with art organizations to create a visual and performing arts program on the site which would be in the spirit of the original Chautauqua movement. What an inspired decision.
It's an evening class, so I nipped out to enjoy the lights. Wonderful!
Anyone got a spare bulb?