By: Dave Boling
Sometime this past summer I read in the Lakesider there would be a telescope available in the park that night and all were invited to stop by and view the stars. It reminded me of something I had read one time at the Heritage Hall Archives.
His name was Rev. Dr. Ephraim Llewellyn Eaton, he went by his initials, E. L. E. L. was a preacher, a singer, author, prohibition advocate and astronomer. Described as a “gifted speaker with a rich, clear voice, an abundance of humor who knows how to tell a story.” He was a Lakeside speaker in July 1894, '95 and '96. His lectures were a blend of theology and science. As reported in the Lakeside Daily News, E. L. began his 1896 lecture by saying that he had brought his telescope - described as an equatorially mounted 4 and 1/2 inch Clark telescope driven by sidereal clock - with him and invited everybody to “come and look at the at the planet Saturn and its rings.”
Dr. Eaton saw the study of Astronomy as an antidote for many theological errors. He promoted his lecture as “God’s Glorious Universe or a stroll through the Milky Way.” Using lantern slides of celestial objects such as the sun, moon, planets, stars and comets he taught ‘‘The Bible and Astronomy teaches things alike. There is one God and Astronomy teaches the same truth by showing that the same laws work throughout the universe.’’ He would lead his audience through examples where science had proven the allusions in the Bible.
Ephraim Llewellyn Eaton was one of the largest draws on the Chautauqua Circuit. He also pastored churches in Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. E. L. died in Madison, Wisconsin at the age of 85 he had been a Methodist clergyman for 47 years connecting the mysteries of the universe to the glories of God and teaching his audiences how to hold them both. He added to chautauqua experience that left people gazing upward to the stars.
The Lakeside Daily News, July 30, 1896