The August 11, 1904 Ames Intelligencer reported about the first Ames Chautauqua. Wednesday, August 17th, marks the beginning of the Ames Chautauqua. Arrangements already made involve an expenditure for entertainment and instructive talent, larger by far, than ever before expended in this county for a similar purpose. And this obligation has not been blindly incurred, for a wise discrimination has been used in the selection of all the features. Only ability of the highest order could have developed the great reputation of most of the speakers appearing on the program.
Ames should accord this movement all necessary support. Aside from its good influences, which are certain to be of advantage to the community, business reasons of the best require that this be generously done.
A large tent was pitched west of downtown Ames between what is now Sixth and Ninth streets, on the high ground overlooking what is now Brookside Park. After the Chautauqua program moved to the east side of town, this area was known as the Chautauqua Addition, laid out as a subdivision for housing on April 13, 1909.
The Ames City Band was among the groups featured for entertainment.
Many participants chose to camp on the Chautauqua grounds. Tent rental fees for the 1908 season were $3.50 for a 10 by 12 foot tent with a 3 foot side wall; $4.00 for a 12 by 14 tent; $5.00 for a 10 by 14 tent with a 6 foot side wall; and $10.00 for a 14 by 21 tent.
Ames Chautauqua 1909 Program