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The History of the Bluff

and the Merom Bluff Chautauqua

The crown of the town of Merom is the bluff, overlooking the Wabash river. This has always been the town commons, though the ownership control of the property were subjects of litigation in the courts.  A grove of walnut and other lofty trees, standing in their native prime, the chief adornment of the site and a more picturesque natural park could hardly be imagined.  The spot has many associations for the native residents of the town and has been the scene of picnics, political meetings, weddings, and many other celebrations from almost the first years of the county’s history.

   The park has for several years been the grounds on which the Merom Bluff Chautauqua is held which is always the first full weekend in June. If we accept the Union Christian College, the Chautauqua may be considered the principal institution of the town at this time.  Every year thousands of people gather in the beautiful surroundings, amid the perfect influences of nature and enjoy the best literature, oratory and music, and intellectual and religious culture.  The first Chautauqua was held during August 1905.  Among the speakers and entertainers at these assemblies, may be mentioned Eugene Debs, Eli Perkins, WilliamJ. Bryan, Joseph Folk, Lafollette Tillman (pitchfork Ben), Governor Yates and others of note. In 1908 it was estimated that nearly fifty thousand people visited the Chautauqua. We hope you enjoyed this small bit of history about the Chautauqua and would love for you to attend our festival and visit our wonderful town of Merom