Demolition of Chautauqua Amphitheater complete

Sep 15, 2016

It's the end of an era at the Chautauqua Institution. Following a two-year legal fight, the 123-year-old Amphitheater has been demolished.

Crews are clearing the debris left over from the demolition of the Chautauqua Amphitheater
Credit Chautauqua Institution

The Chautauqua Institution's Chief Marketing Officer, George Murphy, says most of the structure, which was exposed to the elements, has been replaced since it was built in 1893 and only about 20 percent of the building was original.

The new Amphitheater, Murphy says, will be safer and more accessible.

Credit Chautauqua Institution

"It will look very much like the current one, and there's been two schools of thought on that. But the community here said, 'We love the open-air, the style and simplicity. We want it to look and feel exactly the way the current one is.' And that's the way it will be. Trust me, you'll sit in it and feel like you're in the old one, but experience the new one," Murphy said.   

Brian Berg, with the Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater, says the process has been a "travesty and a tragedy."
"We know from planners at universities and cities across this country that what people are attracted to, what they value, what makes people go to places like Chautauqua, is authenticity" Berg said.

The new Chautauqua Amphitheater is expected to open in time for 2017 season.