Cameron Abbey-Mott, 17, of Westfield, New York changes the sheets in a room in the Athenaeum on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. Cameron works on the housekeeping staff in the hotel along with approximately 30 other workers.
Over the past two months I’ve been fascinated with Chautauqua and its ability to function as a small American utopia. It’s easy to walk around and not think about the many people it takes, many of whom are seasonal workers, to keep this community running smoothly for the summer. A high concentration of the guests at Chautauqua pass through the Athenaeum, whether to sit on its iconic porch, eat dinner in the Heirloom, or spend the night in a room. It’s a monster of a hotel, built in 1881, and for the most part not much of it has changed since then. Cameron Abbey-Mott is nearly invisible to guests but is still integral to keeping this place functioning.