Since opening in 1943, the Campbell House Museum has served the greater St. Louis area as one of the nation’s premier historic property museums.
The house served as a family home of Robert Campbell from 1851 to 1938. The Museum preserves not only the Campbell’s house, the family home of Robert Campbell—a prominent figure in the history of St. Louis and of the American West— but also the family’s collection of original furniture, fixtures, paintings, letters, objects , thousands of pages of family documents, and unique album of 60 interior photographs taken in the mid-1880s.
In 2000, the Museum began a meticulous restoration project that returned the building to its opulent 1880s appearance, when the house was one of the centers of St. Louis society. The museum is considered to be one of the best preserved mid-Victorian house museums in the United States.
In the mid 1850s, the area where the Campbell House is situated
was named Lucas place. It was the first suburban clearly defined wealthy neighborhood,
a very expensive, upscale residential neighborhood with very large homes.
Built in 1851, the first house in this elegant Lucas Place
neighborhood, the Campbell House was built by John H. Hall (born in 1801 in Kentucky) who,
along with his business partner James F. Donaldson (born about 1800 in
Maryland), owned a hardware, cutlery, and mechanics tools store. Hall sold the property
at 1508 Lucas Place to Cornelia Wilson in April 1853, witch lived here for only
one year. In 1854 Robert Campbell, legendary fur trader and merchant, became
its third owner, and the house remained in his family for more than 80 years, until
After settling in St. Louis, Campbell began an important
business career which included the fur trade, dry goods, steamboats, banks and
real estate. He also helped develop places like Kansas City and El Paso, Texas.
At the end of this career, Campbell owned the Southern Hotel, the biggest hotel
in St. Louis. When Campbell died in 1879, he was considered the wealthiest man
Two of Campbell's sons, Hugh and Hazlett, continued to live
in the house after Robert's death. After Hazlett's death in 1938 the house was
willed to Yale University and it was put it up for sale. The furnishings were
sent to the Selkirk Gallery to be auctioned. Stix, Baer and Fuller, a local
department store, bought the home in 1941 as part of its 50th anniversary
celebration and gave it to the Campbell House Foundation, a group that was
formed to turn the home into a museum. The Foundation raised enough funds to go
to Selkirk Gallery to buy back 90 per cent of the Campbell furnishings. The
house was opened as a museum in 1943 showcasing Victorian furnishings and
In 1973 an important album of 60 photographs was donated to
the Museum. The photos, dating from about 1885, show the house interior, exterior
and surrounding neighborhood. The discovery of the Campbell House photo album
allowed for accurate restoration of the interior of the rooms and after the exterior
in 2005, returning the building to its opulent 1880s appearance.
The house was one of the centers of St. Louis society,
hosting notable Americans as President Ulysses S. Grant, General William
Tecumseh Sherman and Sioux Chieftain Red Cloud. It is the only surviving
building from the Lucas Place neighborhood.