Tag Archives: historic preservation

Country Folk and City Slickers

We tend to focus on history within the boundaries of St. Louis City here on the blog, but St. Louis County residents rejoice! This one’s for you. Last year the Campbell House started a collaborative lecture series with the Historic Hanley House in Clayton, Missouri and we’re continuing the series next Wednesday.


Top: Lucas Place neighborhood at the western edge of St. Louis City in mid-19th century. Bottom: Hanley House in St. Louis County around the same time period.

What makes a CHM/HH collaboration so neat is that, even though both houses are located in the midst of bustling urban centers today, back in the mid-19th century St. Louis City and County could not have been more different. The Campbells’ 1851 townhouse sat in the Lucas Place neighborhood at the very western edge of mid-19th century St. Louis City (today, it’s smack dab in the middle of town). The Hanley’s country farmhouse was considerably farther out, a full day’s journey from the city center (if that’s not living in the boonies, we don’t know what is). But despite this major difference, there are actually some interesting parallels between the Campbell and Hanley families and their homes. Here are just a few:

  • Our main man Robert Campbell was born in 1804 and died in 1879. Martin Hanley, namesake of the Hanley House, was born ten years after Robert in 1814 and also died in 1879.
  • Hanley House was built in 1855 in the Greek Revival style, imitating the grand plantation houses of the South. Campbell House was built four years earlier in 1851. It’s also considered a Greek Revival (as well as Early Victorian) style house because of the columns framing its front door and its roof-line ornamentation.
  • Martin Hanley and his wife Cyrene had 11 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. Robert and Virginia Campbell had 13 children, 10 of whom died in childhood.
  • The Hanley family sided with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Robert Campbell sided with the North as a Conditional Unionist, believing that the Union should be preserved with slavery intact. Both men were slave owners, and the Hanley family could be somewhat vocal about their secessionist views since  they lived far away from the city center. Robert had to tread more lightly, in some ways straddling the fence between Northern and Southern sympathies, in order to stay in good graces with his neighbors and political friends in the city.
  • Martin Hanley helped establish Clayton as the St. Louis County seat after the city/county split in 1876, donating four acres of his own land. Robert Campbell, in addition to owning large tracts of land in St. Louis City and County, was one of the founding landowners of Kansas City, MO and El Paso, TX.
  • The Hanley House was continuously occupied by members of the Hanley family from the time of its construction through 1968, when it was purchased by the City of Clayton and turned into a museum. The Campbell House was continuously occupied by members of the Campbell family from the time they moved in in 1854 through 1938 when the last Campbell son passed away, opening as museum shortly thereafter.

Click the images to enlarge

Pretty interesting, right? Well now that we’ve got you hooked, here’s our shameless plug. Join us a week from today, Wednesday January 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Church of St. Michael & St. George in Clayton for a more in-depth discussion of the parallels between the city slicker Campbells and country folk Hanleys. Campbell House Executive Director Andy Hahn will be joining Hanley House Curator to discuss medical practices in urban vs. rural 19th century St. Louis (and perhaps offering clues as to why the Hanley children survived and so many of the Campbell kids did not). For more information, see below or call the Clayton Century Foundation at (314) 290-8553. We hope to see you there!

Treating the Sick in St. Louis City & County
Wednesday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Church of St. Michael & St. George
(Great Hall)
6345 Wydown Blvd in Clayton, MO

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2014 – Our Year in Review

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are past and we’ve settled into the swing of 2015, we finally have a chance to take a look back at last year and share some news with you about what CHM has achieved over the past 12 months. In short, 2014 was one of the most successful years in the Campbell House Museum’s history. It was gangbusters and often exhausting, but we couldn’t be more pleased as we’ve crunched the numbers over the past few days. Here’s some of what made 2014 such a banner year.

Record-Breaking Attendance

dennis tour

Docent and Board of Directors member Dennis takes a group through the Museum in December 2014.

In 2014 the Campbell House Museum saw its highest levels of attendance since the mid-1970s, welcoming 4,852 lovely people like you through for tours. For some perspective: the last time our attendance topped 4,800, gas was 44¢ a gallon, the Vietnam War was ending and NBC was debuting a newfangled game show called Wheel of Fortune. While this figure might not seem like a lot at first glance, consider that almost every single one of our nearly 5,000 visitors in 2014 received an hour-long, guided tour led by one of our expert docents. That’s not too shabby in our book.

Stellar Reputation

At the time this post went to press, CHM was ranked as one of the top five St. Louis museums on TripAdvisor, way ahead of many of our big-budget (and wonderful!) friends throughout the city. Over the past several years, the Campbell House has increased its local profile as a must-experience site for St. Louisans and out-of-towners alike and its national profile as a leader for scholarship and research in the Fur Trade, Westward Expansion and Victorian Interior Design. This is reflected not just in our excellent TripAdvisor reviews but in publications like the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal and the Winterthur Portfolio. (p.s. if you haven’t reviewed us on TripAdvisor yet, we’d greatly appreciate some kind words!)

The lucky raffle winner of a shot of bathtub gin from a cup once owned by President U.S. Grant at 2014's #drinkuptweetupSTL

The lucky raffle winner of a shot of bathtub gin from a cup once owned by President U.S. Grant at 2014’s #drinkuptweetupSTL

Outstanding Events

2014 was a great year for special events at CHM. Kicking off in February with our celebration of STL250 and continuing through the year in our collaborations with Union Avenue Opera and #drinkuptweetupSTL with Distilled History and wrapping up with the enormously successful St. Louis Holiday Historic House Tour a few weeks ago, more people than ever are experiencing St. Louis history in unique, engaging ways.

Education, Education, Education

Nearly 500 students, ranging from third graders at the St. Louis French Immersion School to college students studying history, music and museum studies from universities across America stopped by to say hello and learn about the Campbell family and their home in 2014. CHM adopted a new mission this year, to “enliven the history of St. Louis and Westward Expansion through the story of the Campbell family and their home,” and a primary goal of this mission is to engage and involve students and the community. We’re off to a solid start.

But enough of us tooting our own horn.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible STL community, our supporters, members and volunteers. You came to see us, helped us accomplish our mission and supported local history. As we move into 2015, CHM asks for your continued support. We might not be the biggest fish in the pond, but we have an important story to tell and your attendance at our events, your financial support, even the simple act of reading this blog post demonstrates your commitment to making this small institution a big player in the preservation of St. Louis history. Thank you.



Students from Oakville High School visited the Museum and participated in a historic documents workshop in September 2014.


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STL Holiday Historic House Tour – THIS THURSDAY!

Get in the spirit of the hol­i­days in high style by vis­it­ing five of St. Louis’ finest his­toric homes and build­ings. For one night only, get the chance to expe­ri­ence the Camp­bell House Museum, Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum, Chatillon-DeMenil House, Samuel Cup­ples House at St. Louis Uni­ver­sity and Old Cour­t­house, each decked out in their fes­tive fin­ery. Each stop along the way will fea­ture light hol­i­day refresh­ments and enter­tain­ment. Many loca­tions also have gift shops to help you with your hol­i­day shopping!

Par­tic­i­pants can tour the loca­tions on continuously-running char­ter buses that will shut­tle them from stop to stop or may opt to take a self-guided tour. To pur­chase tour tick­ets, call the Camp­bell House Museum at (314) 421‑0325 or click here to pur­chase tick­etsTime is running out! We hope to see you there!

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Don’t be a scrooge! Join us for the St. Louis Holiday Historic House Tour!


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