Saint Louis, MO

The historic Robert G. Campbell House is amazing inside and celebrated as a museum

CJ Coombs
Historic Robert G. Campbell House, St. Louis City, Missouri.Photo byAndy Hahn, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The historic Robert G. Campbell house is located at 1508 Locust Street in St. Louis City, Missouri. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 21, 1977. The owner is The Campbell House Foundation.

The house was built in 1851. It's a three-story townhouse with Italianate architecture and Federal-style elements. Campbell purchased the home in 1854. He was a businessman and successful fur trader and so many other things.

In 1856, Campbell bought an adjoining property so his house could be remodeled. In 1877, a small porch was converted to a morning room. Interestingly, Robert Campbell entertained President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, General Sherman, and others in this house.

When Robert Campbell died on October 16, 1879, at age 75, his sons, James and Hugh, received the property. When they left the house, the contents were left and the house was unchanged. After they died, the Campbell House Foundation purchased the home and furnishings. It's now the Campbell House Museum.

The first floor consisted of a double parlor, a morning room, a dining room, a kitchen, a butler's pantry, and two halls. The walls are wallpapered. The double parlor and hall contain carpeting and elsewhere are wood floors.

There are windows with interior shutters. There are bronze chandeliers, and the morning dining rooms have a fireplace. The chandelier in the dining room is said to be of 1875 vintage.

The main staircase in the hall is U-shaped. Rooms on the second floor include a master bedroom suite, three bedrooms, a bathroom, a stairhall, and halls. The master bedroom suites have a fireplace.

The third floor contains three bedrooms, two miscellaneous rooms, and a room that used to be a library-sitting room. There are also administrative offices for the Campbell House Foundation in the house.

This historic home was restored between 1941 and 1943. Also on the property is a two-story carriage house. The property is enclosed by decorative iron and wood fences. Maintenance on the home is performed routinely.

The house is now in a commercialized area although it used to be part of a stylish neighborhood. It's on the southwest corner of Locust and 15th Streets. The house is important because it's the only surviving home of that stylish neighborhood of the late 1800s called Lucas Place. It might be the only home in the country that was restored with its original furnishings.

Campbell was in the home from 1854 to 1879. His widowed wife, Virginia Jane Kyle Campbell, stayed in the home until she died on January 30, 1882, at age 60. Their son, Hugh, lived in the home until 1931. The house was in the ownership of the Estate of Hazlett Campell, another son, from 1931 to 1938. From 1938 to about 1942, it was in the ownership of Yale University, and from 1942 to about 1943, it was owned by the Stix, Baer & Fuller Dry Goods Company. After that through the present, it's been under the ownership of the Campbell House Foundation.

Robert G. Campbell

Campbell was born on February 12, 1804, in County Tyrone, Ireland. he immigrated to St. Louis in 1824. He traveled several times to Philadelphia to see his brother. On one visit, he met Virginia Kyle, a native of North Carolina. They married in 1841. They had 13 children and only three sons reached maturity. They were Hugh, Hazlett, and James.

I can't think of another phrase other than Campbell was a man with many hats. His involvements included the following:

  • Fur trader/trapper with others making trips to the Rocky Mountains.
  • Partner with William Sublette in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.
  • Built Fort Laramie (originally Fort William in honor of William Sublette).
  • Commanding officer of a state militia regiment.
  • Member of the staff of Governor Edwards of Missouri.
  • Contributed supplies or the Irish following the potato crop failure in 1846.
  • Member of the Missouri Historical and Philosophical Society (1848).
  • A representative of the U.S. government in the great Indian Council at Horse Creek, Wyoming.
  • Owner of the Southern Hotel in St. Louis which he purchased in 1854 with one $500,000 check.
  • Member of President Grant's Indian Commission which visited all reservations to bring about more amicable relations {appointed 1869).

Campbell also invested in real estate and had many holdings in St. Louis and Kansas City. He was also the president of the Bank of the State of Missouri and the Merchants' National Bank.

The Campbell House Museum

The museum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, opened on February 6, 1943. In 1946, it was designated a City of St. Louis Landmark. Amazingly, so many original possessions of Campbell's are in the museum. Visit here for photos.

For information related to visiting hours and rates, visit here.

Thanks much for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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