Would Robert have been a Royals fan?


We couldn’t resist. #madphotoshopskills

Even though St. Louis fell short of the World Series this year, the fact that our friends in Kansas City are doing so well brings an interesting question to light… would Robert Campbell have been (gasp!) a Royals fan?

Even though Robert lived the majority of his adult life in the city of St. Louis, he has significant ties to the KC area. Mr. Campbell began investing in real estate shortly after he retired from the fur trade in the late 1830s. Most of his property was scattered throughout the St. Louis area, ranging from his family’s Lucas Place home at what is today 1508 Locust Street downtown all the way out to a plot of land that would eventually become Creve Coeur Park. But a lesser-known fact about our buddy Rob is that he also played a crucially important role in establishing what is today the bustling metropolis of Kansas City, Missouri.

Robert actually owned 1/7 of Kansas City’s original town site, buying the land as early as 1841 and making him one of the city’s founding landlords. He then went on to sell the land to his nephew John Campbell, who would build the city’s first three-story brick warehouse, serve as an alderman and found the KC Fire Department. Without Robert Campbell, Kansas City would look very different today.

Robert, of course, died long before the Royals were running the bases, but it’s fun to think: would Robert Campbell have been a Royals fan? Quite possibly. But probably only if the Cardinals were out of contention.

kansas city

Kansas City has grown a bit since Robert’s purchase of part of the original town site in the 1840s.

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There’s More to the Story: Halloween at CHM

The Campbell monument at Bellefontaine Cemetery here in St. Louis. All 15 members of the immediate Campbell family are buried here (legend has it that two of their dogs are buried with them as well).

The Campbell monument at Bellefontaine Cemetery here in STL. All 15 members of the immediate Campbell family are buried here (legend has it that two of their dogs are buried with them too).

October is an interesting time of year for us here at CHM.

On one hand, it’s a blast. We get to put up black bunting around the House, carve pumpkins, we’ve been on TV and in print a few times, and we even get to dress up for our Halloween Night twilight tours. On the other hand, a certain seriousness accompanies the season, especially when it comes to talking about some of the darker chapters of the Campbell family’s time in St. Louis. Though the Campbells certainly lived pretty well and had some beautiful things, this time of year brings into sharp focus the fact that having wealth didn’t necessarily make you immune to  tragedy. Ten of Robert and Virginia’s 13 children died before their eighth birthdays, eight boys and two girls. To put this in perspective,the mortality rate for white children in St. Louis in the 1850s was around 21%. The Campbells were pushing 76%.

Of the three sons to survive into adulthood, one died tragically at the age of 30 (James) and the other two lived increasingly reclusive and peculiar lives (Hugh and Hazlett). Hazlett suffered from debilitating mental illness as he grew older and by the time both sons died in the 1930s, neither had married or had children of their own – the Campbell family line ended with no heirs, despite Robert and Virginia’s best efforts.

These are all sad stories, no doubt. But they’re stories that need telling. There was more to the Campbells’ lives than fancy parties and beautiful furnishings (though there certainly were and still are a bunch of those things in this house). Join us the rest of this month here on the blog and then in person on Halloween night as we unpack the darker chapters of death, disease and despair that were a big part of 19th century life at the Campbell House.

psychic party graphic

Psychic Party at the Campbell House! Click to enlarge.

Upcoming October Events:

Halloween Twilight Tours
Friday, October 31 at 6:30 sold out!, 7:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Advance reservations required, click here to buy tickets online.

Campbell House Psychic Party
Hosted by Mr. Tim Rohan, Vice President of the CHM Board of Directors
Yep, this is EXACTLY as cool as it sounds. Join us for a gourmet selection of wine, beer, an open bar and gourmet hors-doeurves. One of three psychics will provide you with your own private reading. Click here for more information on purchasing tickets.

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Last week you met Dylan, this week we’re happy to introduce Gabby! She’s been a blast to have around the office since she started in September and we’re happy to have her on board!

Intern Gabby! Click to learn more about volunteering and internships with CHM.

Intern Gabby! Click to learn more about volunteering and internships with CHM.

What are you studying and where?  I am studying to be a history major at UMSL

Why Campbell House?  CHM was chosen for me by the history department and I’m so glad! I’ve loved working at CHM and I’ve learned so much.

What are you working on at CHM?  I am working on the nomination for the Campbell House to become a National Historic Landmark. (this is a HUGE project that’s going to take 2-5 years to complete – click here to check it out. We’re so glad Gabby is getting it off the ground for us!)

When you aren’t having a blast at Campbell House, what are you up doing?  I’m either working at Sole and Blues in the Loop or cooking dinner with my family. (Gabby definitely is the most stylish person in the office AND brings the tastiest looking lunches. Hands down.)

What is your favorite thing about CHM so far?  I’ve loved stepping back in time and learning more about St. Louis history.

iPhone or Android?  iPhone! I love Apple products, MacBook all the way!

Favorite color?  purple.

Favorite band/singer?  Mumford and Sons.

Andy Warhol said that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. What happened in your 15 minutes?  I don’t think I’ve had my 15 minutes yet. I believe I have much greater things to come! (how’s that for an answer?!)

If you owned a CB radio, what would your handle be?  “Madagabgar” (10-4, madagabgar!)

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Well, really he’s not an intern. In fact, he’s a graduate research assistant from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. (But that wouldn’t fit in the title.) Dylan joined us at the beginning of this school year and will be with us for the next two years in conjunction with his work in the Museum Studies graduate program at UMSL – we couldn’t be more pleased to have him here!

What  are you studying and where?  (well, we already covered this. He’s in the UMSL Museum Studies program)

Why Campbell House Museum? I was assigned here by my program, presumably because I worked for two years at Roseland Cottage: an 1846 house museum back home in Connecticut.


Graduate Research Assistant Dylan! Click his photo to learn more about volunteering and internship opportunities at the Campbell House Museum.

What are you working on at CHM?  Presently, I’m updating the docent guide manual and sourcing material.

When you aren’t having a blast at Campbell House, what are you up to?  Studying.

What is your favorite thing about CHM thus far?  Its archives (well thanks! We think they’re pretty swell too… check them out online here.)

iPhone or Android?  Dumb phones, thankyouverymuch.

Favorite color?  orange.

Favorite band/singer  song?  Auld Lang Syne

Andy Warhol said that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. What happened in your 15 minutes?  The second hand on the clock ticked 900 times. (well played, Dylan. Well played indeed…)

If you were given a yacht tomorrow (assuming you don’t already have one) what would you name it?  “Nostalgia for Infinity”

So there you have it! The next time you’re at Campbell House Museum (hopefully for our upcoming Halloween Twilight Tours) say hello, chat about his awesome program at UMSL, and help us welcome him to the Campbell family!

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#DrinkupTweetupSTL with Distilled History

Distilled History

We’re once again partnering with award-winning local blog Distilled History – click to check them out.

Friday, September 26, 2014
5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
(swing by after work)
at the Campbell House Museum
Downtown STL at the corner of 15th and Locust

We had so much fun at least year’s #drinkuptweetupSTL that we though we’d give it another whirl, but bigger and better. Once again we’ll have delicious food courtesy of Maya Cafe in Maplewood and beer courtesy of hometown brewer Schlafly. Check out what else is going on below:

Live Music

We are very excited to welcome St. Louis sensation Typhoon Jackson to the CHM stage (that’s our show biz term for the east side of the garden). They’ve been seen all over the place throughout the past year, serving as the house band for the Gateway Arch’s Summer Flicks and Foodies event and making appearances on the STL airwaves. We think their “backwood, down home, funky on the side” sound is going be be a great addition to our garden oasis in downtown St. Louis and the perfect backdrop to experience CHM and some distilled history!


Typhoon Jackson. Did we mention their drummer is our Weekend Manager, David? He’s kind of a big deal.


Rad Raffle


Sterling silver cup that once belonged to President Ulysses S. Grant, today in the collection of CHM. (look close and you can see ‘USG’ engraved on the side)

Alright, so “rad” is probably not the word that comes to mind when you’re thinking about raffles. BUT this one is. We’ll have tickets for sale and drawings throughout the night for great prizes from Urban Chestnut, Schlafly, Distilled History and the Campbell House. However, it’s the Grand Prize that really takes the cake. The final drawing of the night will give one lucky winner the chance to take a swig of their favorite brew from a sterling silver cup that once belonged to President Ulysses S. Grant himself. You read that right. You (yes you) can drink from the same cup as the man who helped to end the Civil War, hung out with Abraham Lincoln and Robert Campbell, and served as the 18th President of the United States of America (and let’s be real, he was no lightweight himself).

Campbell Brews


Ginny’s House Party Ale, honoring our main lady Virginia Campbell. Just one of the Campbell brews we’ll have that night!

We’re really excited about this addition to #drinkuptweetupSTL. Our friend Cameron at Distilled History has brewed up specialty Campbell-themed brews complete with custom labels featuring six members of the Campbell family. We’ll have some available to drink that night, and there will also be a special edition 6-pack or two included in the raffle!

It’s Free

Really, truly. The food is on us, the drinks are on us. Just come out, see some history, and have a grand old time with Distilled History and the Campbell House Museum. The only thing we ask is that our under-21 friends sit this one out.

We hope to see you there! Be sure to join our event on Facebook and help us get the word out!

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