Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Restoration

Man in a ginny boon at top of dome of large building which looks like US Capitol

The Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood at 95 Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs is the grand entrance to what was a 4,000 seat auditorium.  A tornado during Hurricane Eloise in 1975 destroyed the auditorium leaving the grand entrance standing.  The structure resembles the United States Capitol made of wood and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1975, it has been used as a community center for weddings, meetings, dinners, and various uses including art gallery and museum exhibits for the revived Florida Chautauqua Assembly for which the building was originally built. 

Grant Project Objective

To restore and rehabilitate the structure including architectural and engineering services, the installation of an elevator, new plumbing, electrical, heating and air system (HVAC), replacement of rotting wood, interior and exterior painting, installation of new bead board ceiling on second floor, lightning and fire suppression system, installation of eight ADA compliant bathrooms (four on each floor), a new kitchen on each floor, a new wood floor on first floor, restoration of original floor on second floor and installation of ADA/handicapped parking spaces with signage and sidewalk/front door accessibility.


Major funding from the Florida Division of Historical Resources with 25% match (in-kind and cash) by the City of DeFuniak Springs.

Originally, the project was anticipated to cost approximately $625,000 ($497,113 from the Florida Division of Historical Resources and the remaining costs from the City).  However, once the project officially started in 2017, the contractor concluded there would not be enough funding to complete the restoration/rehabilitation project.  Once the project ended June 30, 2018, the City had to submit another grant request for another $498,500 (with a City Match of 25%) to complete the project.  The first grant is now referenced as "Phase I" and the second grant as "Phase II."  The contractor has again concluded that another $300,000 is needed to complete the project.  The City submitted a "Phase III grant request to the Florida Division of Historical Resources on June 1, 2020 and is awaiting panel review, ranking and approval by the state legislature and governor in 2022.


Phase III

  • June 9, 2020:  Application resubmitted with councilman’s edits.
  • June 3, 2020:  Grant Writer requested grantor to reopen application for modifications requested by a councilman.
  • June 1, 2020:  Application submitted.
  • May 29, 2020:  City Council reverses decision and directs staff to apply for a Phase III grant.  Agenda.
  • May 26, 2020:  City Council reconsiders and approves applying for a Phase III grant.  Agenda.
  • March 16, 2020:  City Council meets with citizen Dr. Mendy Henderson and architect/contractor Victor Bowman to discusses Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Project and whether to apply for a phase III grant.  Meeting agenda.  Council voted to move forward with a Phase III grant.

Phase II
(July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021)

  • February 22, 2021: City Council considers using remaining budgeted project funds for completion of restoration of north side staircase. Voted to table decision until next council meeting.  Recommendation from architect.  Expenditures as of February 22, 2021.
  • July 16, 2020:  City and Florida Division of Historical Resources sign amended agreement to concentrate all grant funding to the first floor of the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood.
  • July 13, 2020:  City Council to review and consider amended agreement with Florida Division of Historical Resources to focus this phase grant project exclusively on completing and opening the first floor.
  • June 26, 2020: UPDATE - Fire suppression for the second floor is being installed.  Sidewalk and handicapped parking spaces have been poured and the doors and flooring installation is scheduled for next week (week of June 29).
  • June 22, 2020:  City Council discusses budget amendment and Change of Scope of Work.  Agenda.  Expenditure Ledger as of June 22, 2020.
  • June 16, 2020:  Grants Manager Chris Mitchell submits request for budget amendments to Florida Division of Historical Resources.  City Council asked to ratify this request at upcoming June 22 council meeting. Budget amendment needed, per contractor, to focus all funding to full restoration/rehabilitation of the first floor so public can begin renting the facility.  Rental funds and a hopeful third phase grant (for which the City has submitted an application) from the Florida Division of Historical Resources will be used to complete the second floor.
  • May 26, 2020:  City Council asked to approve change order (scope of work) to focus all grant funding on completing first floor.  No decision made and voted down request to apply for Phase III grant. Reversed that decision on May 29, 2020.  Agenda item 6A.
  • Quarter 2 Report submitted to the Florida Division of Historical Resources including required photos with descriptions from architect/contractor.
  • Quarter 1 Report submitted to the Florida Division of Historical Resources
  • October 28, 2019:  City Council approves contract with Parish & Bowman for contract services.  Agenda item 3F2.  
  • October 28, 2019:  City Council approves Pendleton & Bowman for architectural services.  Agenda item 3F1.
  • October 14, 2019:  City Council approves $60,000 to be placed in the Facility Maintenance Chautauqua account line item for the removal of the center column and shoring up the 2nd Floor, as well as a Security/SCADA system.  Agenda item 9B.
  • October 14, 2019:  City Council approves using same contractor/architect for Phase II project.  Agenda item 9A.
  • September 23, 2019:  City Project Director Jim Gierlinski requests Council approval to rollover $100,000 from the 2019 budget to  the 2020 budget for the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood city projects.  Agenda Item 9B.
  • September 23, 2019:  City Council discusses using same contractor/architect for Phase II project.  Agenda Item 9A.
  • Fully Executed Agreement between Florida Division of Historical Resources and City of DeFuniak Springs.
  • August 12, 2019:  City Council approves grant agreement with Florida Division of Historical Resources.  Agenda and background.
  • July 22, 2019:  City Council approves moving forward with revised first floor plans (NOT GRANT FUNDED) which involves reconfiguring new walls installed for kitchen and ADA bathrooms in Phase I to make room for more meeting space.  Agenda Request with background.  Agenda

Phase I 
(July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)