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50 Lincoln Dr., Chesterfield, Indiana 46017

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“Camp Chesterfield” State Historical Marker To Be Dedicated in Chesterfield, Indiana

A public dedication ceremony for an Indiana state historical marker commemorating Historic Camp Chesterfield and women in the Spiritualist movement is scheduled for Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Madison County. The public part of the program will begin at 5:00 pm at Camp Chesterfield, at 50 Lincoln Dr., Chesterfield, Indiana 46017. Parking for the program is available on-site.

The text follows for the state marker entitled “Women and Spiritualism / Camp Chesterfield:”

Camp Chesterfield, a Spiritualist camp opened in the 1890s, provided leadership and public speaking opportunities for women in an era before they could legally vote. Spiritualism gained popularity after the devastation of the Civil War, as Americans sought to communicate with spirits of loved ones. Many women were ordained and respected for their spiritual guidance. Lecturer Amelia Colby-Luther and suffragist Flora Hardin Millspaugh were critical in organizing Camp Chesterfield. Women oversaw camp operations, led fundraising efforts, delivered lectures, and earned an income as mediums. Under Rev. Mable Riffle’s leadership (ca. 1910-1961), the camp expanded exponentially, drawing thousands of visitors annually from across the U.S.

The new marker acknowledges women in the Spiritualist movement nationally and the opportunities Spiritualism gave them to speak on issues such as slavery and women’s suffrage. Women served prominently in the leadership and work of Spiritualist organizations across the country. The marker is made possible through the cooperation of the Indiana Historical Bureau, William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Indiana Landmarks, and the Friends of Camp Chesterfield Foundation. It is the eighth state historical marker to be installed in Madison County. For a listing of other markers in the county, see: https://www.in.gov/history/state-historical-markers/find-a-marker/find-historical-markers-by-county/indiana-historical-markers-by-county/#madison.

Dedication of the marker is being held in recognition of the anniversary of modern Spiritualism on March 31st. Camp Chesterfield is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was established in the 1890s in Chesterfield, Indiana and is located at Washington and North Streets in Chesterfield. The dedication is open to the public and will be followed at 6:00 pm by a tour and other activities held in the Hett Museum and Art Gallery; cost of attendance is $40.

State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history. These markers help communities throughout the state promote, preserve, and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages. For over 100 years the Indiana Historical Bureau, a division of the Indiana State Library, has been marking Indiana history. Since 1946, the marker format has been the large roadside marker, which has the familiar dark blue background with gold lettering and the outline of the state of Indiana at the top. Approximately 750 of these markers have been installed over the years.

For more information about the Indiana Historical Marker Program, including details on this marker, a listing of other markers in the state, or other resources about Indiana, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website at http://www.IN.gov/history or call (317) 232-2535. For more information on the dedication and other activities at Camp Chesterfield, contact the Camp office at (765) 378-0235 or www.campchesterfield.com.

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