The New Piasa Chautauqua was founded in 1885. Thousands of people traveled from St. Louis, Springfield and other surrounding cities to set up tents and attend the very first meeting. By 1886, the first cottage was built on the land purchased as a permanent home for the New Piasa Chautauqua. At its peak, the resort community, structured around culture and scholarly activities, boasted of 135 cottages and a hotel.
Today, this private gated community is still occupied by many descendants of the original residents. Though Chautauqua is not open to the public, the landmark lighthouse and bluff side cottages offer a glimpse of this unique river community.