Chautauquans perform at Dangberg Historic Ranch

Two Young Chautauquans in character in front of the Genoa Courthouse Museum for Western Heritage Days in Genoa.

Two Young Chautauquans in character in front of the Genoa Courthouse Museum for Western Heritage Days in Genoa.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

National and local historical characters will appear at Dangberg Historic Park this summer, celebrating 150 years of Chautauqua. Junko Tabei, Lucky Baldwin and young Chautauquans will lead off the Dangberg Summer Festival in June.

"Let us Take You on an Adventure" is the theme of the Wednesday evening Chautauquas featuring national characters who have made some of the greatest accomplishments in our history.

Bowen Lee will portray Junko Tabei, who was a Japanese mountaineer, author, and teacher, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.  She was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent.

As Tabei, Lee will recount her life as a child growing up in Fukushima, and her early years as a world class mountain climber, which led to her successful ascent to the summit of Mt. Everest in 1975.

Lee has been on the stage of national and international storytelling events. She conducts workshops for educators and performs virtually with national, international, and regional programs. She has won numerous national story slams and has been a National Storytelling Network Grand Slam winner. Lee is a Chautauqua scholar who has performed Asian women in history, including Anna May Wong and Lee's great grandmother, who was born and raised in the Chinese fishing village of Monterey, Calif.

Wednesday evening Chautauqua ticket prices are $15 for 17 years and older. Youth 16 years and younger are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased at the event. Members of Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch will receive discount pricing and should contact the park for more information. The gate opens at 5:30 pm.

David Woodruff will portray Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin who was one of the greatest pioneers of California business 10 a.m. Friday. Earning a fortune speculating on mining stocks of the Great Comstock Lode, Baldwin owned over 8,000 acres of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

He built the Tallac Hotel and Casino at Lake Tahoe, and the palatial 620 room Baldwin Hotel in San Francisco. Baldwin's daughter Anita inherited his shrewd business acumen, overseeing the development of the family's 45,000 acres in Southern California and the Santa Anita Racetrack.

Woodruff has been presenting living history in first person since 2017. Woodruff and his wife Gayle, who will portray Anita Baldwin, are the authors of several books on Eastern Sierra history, as well as presenters of a variety of local history programs.

The Douglas County Historical Society Young Chautauquans will portray an array of historical characters 10 a.m. June 14 including, Alice Roosevelt, Anna Pavlova, Laura Ingles, Joan of Arc, Shirley Temple, Ralph Baer and Betsy Ross.

All Friday morning Chautauquas are free for all to attend.

"As a Chautauquan myself, I am absolutely thrilled that we can present such a wonderful line-up of talent, who will perform our history in one of the most entertaining and educational formats," said Kim Harris, the park's events manager.

All events are held outdoors. For more information on these events, or on visiting Dangberg Historic Park, visit


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