Report supports restoration of Chautauqua Amphitheater

Apr 2, 2015

Supporters are getting a boost in their push to restore the Chautauqua Amphitheater. Brian Berg, who is spearheading the effort, says CJS Architects has devised ways to improve the 122-year-old structure "while maintaining its historic integrity."

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Last year, officials at the Chautauqua Institution announced a plan that would have replaced the structure with a modern replica. That prompted outrage by many. Berg says a petition to stop the plan now has 10,000 signatures.

The Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater reached out to many to help their efforts.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation responded by proclaiming the amphitheater a "National Treasure."

"It really emphasized some of those historic moments and performers and performances and its uniqueness and its role and its place in American history," Berg said.

The  location has been host to several luminaries including Franklin Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony and Thurgood Marshall.

It appears the report from CJS Architects is not sitting well with Chautauqua officials. According to a story in the Buffalo News, Chautauqua Institution president Thomas Becker was upset the architect's report was initially revealed to the newspaper. Becker has reportedly threatened to stop communication with the preservation group.