Don’t Miss to Visit Campbell House on this Halloween: Learn about the Campbell family and the changes in business, community life, and technology that this family, its workers, and the rest of the neighborhood had to deal with around 1910.
Campbell House is open for self-guided tours Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. and is included in the price of Museum entry. After seeing the other exhibits, visitors with tickets between 11 am and 2:30 pm will be able to tour the famous house. Please let the Visitor Services staff know about your Campbell House visit when you check in.
Don’t Miss to Visit Campbell House on this Halloween
In 1887, a group of investors from Youngstown, Ohio, sent Amasa B. Campbell (1845-1912) and his friend John A. Finch to Idaho to look into the stories about the great Coeur d’Alene Mining District. The partners quickly saw that they could make a lot of money.
They put $25,000 into the Gem mine and built a mill to process the ore. Soon, they were making tens of thousands of dollars a month. Campbell went back to Ohio, where he married schoolteacher Grace Fox (1859–1924). They moved to Wallace, Idaho, a noisy mining town that was very different from Youngstown, where life was quiet.
Helen Campbell was born in Spokane in 1892 and died in 1964. This was the same year that there were problems between workers and managers in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District. Financial panics and the fall of silver prices around the world made these fights worse, and the mine area in Idaho was put under martial law twice by the governors of Idaho.
Campbell and Finch moved their mining business and home from Idaho to Spokane in 1898. This gave them a safer place to live and work, as well as more educational, social, and business possibilities.
Like many wealthy women of the Progressive Era, Grace Campbell took care of her home, helped charities with her time and money, and played a social role by visiting friends, hosting formal dinners, and traveling with friends and family to New York, California, Europe, and the Middle East.
Daughter Helen liked all the new things that women could do in the 20th century. She played golf, tennis, and rode horses, among other things. She went to the polls and learned to drive a car after she got the right to do so. Helen liked to wear the latest styles, flip her hair, and try out exciting new dances like the foxtrot. She also stuck to customs like paying calls and having a big party for her formal launch.
Campbell House could not have been run without its servants. A coachman, a cook, two maids, and a gardener were usually on staff. The servants had their own eating room and lived on the third floor or in the carriage house. During their free time, they met new people in neighborhood parks and, if they were new to the country, they learned English.
As the years went by, the coachman learned to use the car instead of the horse-drawn carriage. Other inventions made life easier. Electric lights were cleaner than gas lights, central heating made it easier to keep the house warm, and the call box let the staff know quickly when they were needed.
THE Campbell House facts
Kirtland K. Cutter, a well-known builder in Spokane, was hired by both the Campbells and the Finches to create their new homes in Browne’s Addition. The traditional banker Finch picked a style called Neoclassical Revival. Campbell, the brave miner, chose an English Tudor Revival style with stucco, sandstone, brick, and heavy logs for the outside. The big main house, with its off-center service wing, and the carriage house next to it were both carefully made to serve specific purposes.
The two-level interior of the first floor adds a sense of excitement. To the right of the dark, wood-paneled main hall is a light, gilded French waiting room where Grace Campbell met her guests. On the left, the dark wooden beams and inglenook fireplace of the library make it a cozy place for both casual nights at home and formal parties.
A big eating room with a fireplace surrounded by blue and white Dutch tiles is reached by four steps. The back of the house has a deep porch that looks out over the Spokane River. There is also a well-planned service area and four bedrooms on the second floor. The den is designed in the popular Middle Eastern style.
Grace Campbell died in 1924, and Helen Campbell (then Mrs. W.W. Powell) gave the house to the Eastern Washington State Historical Society in her memory. Campbell House is now a neighborhood museum with displays of history and art. In 1960, when a new museum opened on the east yard of the Campbell House, the house started to get back to its former beauty.
From 1984 to 2001, an official repair project changed every part of the Campbell House complex, including the buildings, the grounds, the interior design, the technology systems, and the furniture. Campbell House is now a museum that shows what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.