This month’s featured Landmark home is the Lucy C. Bull House at 81 North First Street. Built between 1900 and 1907, it is another fine example of the Colonial Revival Cottage style that was very popular at the beginning of the 20th Century. Houses seen up and down First Street share many of the same style characteristics and were built in the same era.

The house is single story with a combination of narrow, horizontal, clapboard and shiplap wood siding. The hip roof and has a central gable window overhanging the porch. The unusually wide eaves are unbracketed. Square columns support the wide wooden front porch. The original front door features a twist to ring doorbell and new beveled glass panes above, with central mail slot and decorations below. Windows are double hung with a unique large corner window on the north edge. It has a full but unfinished basement.

Mrs. Lucy (Cooper) Bull, sister to Samuel F. Cooper and Dr. Charles N. Cooper arrived in Campbell from Illinois in the late 1890’s. The 1910 Census shows that she was head of the house, single, lived alone and her occupation was listed as Housekeeper.

Lucy’s brother, Samuel Cooper was known locally as Colonel Cooper, after serving in the Iowa Cavalry and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was also a teacher and had a law practice. After arriving in Campbell at the invitation of his brother Charles, the Colonel was instrumental in the creation of the First Bank of Campbell, in 1895. The little red brick First Bank of Campbell building still stands on the north-east corner of Campbell and Central Avenues.

In 1919, our former Mayor Barbara Conant’s grandparents Benjamin Austin and Susan Bickler Austin bought the house and raised three daughters: Margaret (Barbara Conant’s mom), Marion and Myrrl. Mayor Conant shared her fond memories of large family gatherings, sliding down the cellar door to the basement and how her grandmother making donuts in the kitchen on a wood stove every Saturday. She recalls her grandmother made noodles on a long, wooden kitchen table each year on Good Friday. She would make huge balls of dough, roll them out flat on the table and after they sat for a while she would hand cut them into long, thin strands. Many weddings and birthdays were celebrated in the back yard.

Current owners bought the home in 1992, and sought Landmark status which was granted in 2003. They have done extensive restoration and renovation, enlarging the kitchen and adding a master bath and bedroom to the back of the house, while raising their three children. The large original dining room features a pass-through butler’s pantry (see photo) which is still accessible to the kitchen.

During the renovation, the owners discovered a couple of treasures. One was an old, long wooden kitchen table, left in the basement. They restored it and made it part of their open kitchen. Another item they found was stuck between two studs, and apparently...Read More

Applications to be in our annual Bunnies and Bonnets Parade will be open on Friday, February 7th and will remain open until Sunday, March 13th. We will only be taking applications for the parade online. This parade is very popular so we encourage you to get your applications in early.

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This Place Matters: The Gilman House

Posted on January 6th, 2020 by susanblake

The January featured Landmark is the Gilman House located at 151 N. First Street. and Grant Avenue.. Built in 1900, it has watched over the transformation of our downtown from a rural, agricultural area with orchards and dirt roads when horse and buggies passed by, to today’s Civic Center with City Hall just across the street.

The house was the original home of an early settler, Mrs. Maude Gilman. Mrs. Gilman is reported to have been an active member of the Campbell Methodist Episcopal Church. That church was located at the northwest corner of Campbell Avenue and North First Street, currently a Starbucks, and stood at that location until 1955.

This single story, Colonial Revival Cottage home is unique with its wide corner entry, wooden porch and many cantilevered windows. The windows allow for more light and opened up the views on all sides of the house. It also features a hip roof with dormer gable above the front entrance and a combination of narrow ship lap siding below with redwood shingles above. Leaded and Stained glass windows adorn many of the front three façades.

It is a fine example of adaptive re-use as the current owner has done extensive restoration while turning it into his business. When he purchased the house, most of the doors and door frames along with decorative molding had been removed. Fortunately, he found them stacked and preserved in the basement, and he was then able to figure out the puzzle and have them reinstalled.

In talking with the owner, he shared out an interesting story about the home. About ten years ago, shortly after he had purchased it and moved in, an elderly lady came to the front door and knocked. She asked if she could come in for a few minutes, just to look around.

Welcoming her in, she said that she had lived here as a child. She said that she was now 86, but remembered how she loved to sit by the big window in the dining room (on Grant) and watch the buggies go by on Sundays on their way to church. Back then the ‘side’ streets were dirt, but the town sprayed them with oil starting on the main road (Campbell Avenue) to help keep the dust down. She also said that the house was a hangout for all the local kids after school.

Before she left, she told him that the house had spirits. She made her way back out to the front door, but paused, laughing. She said she was just a silly old woman and paused again. Turning back briefly, she told him, “Oh, they’re still here.” Unfortunately, the owner did not catch her name.

Want to learn more about Campbell’s historic structures? There’s a free app for that. Search for: Historic Campbell, available for Android or Apple.

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Susan Blake, Campbell Historic Preservation Board.

Check out the archives for This Place Matters for more stories about Campbell's historic homes.

Evelyn and her Vintage Ties at Christmas in Campbell

Posted on December 21st, 2019 by sheldon

Evelyn and her Vintage Ties and Downtown Campbell would like to wish you a holly jolly Christmas. I hope some of you managed to catch them. Wow! They sounded fabulous at our Christmas in Campbell street music yesterday!

12 Last Minute Gift Ideas from Downtown Campbell

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by DCBA

Ok, we know you're out there. Those of you who don't get around to doing holiday shopping until you're staring at a deadline. Come visit us in Downtown Campbell. We've got you covered with a wide variety of gift options that you can come in and pick out without fighting crazy mobs of shoppers and get back in time to binge watch your latest obsession on Netflix. You're welcome.

This Place Matters: The First Ainsley House

Posted on December 11th, 2019 by susanblake

This month’s featured landmark home is the first J. C. Ainsley House at 84 North Third St. The Queen Anne cottage style house is estimated to have been built in 1874, on a 7 ½ acre ranch. It originally stood on the northeast corner of East Campbell Ave. and Winchester (Road) Blvd. Its story is another example how homes were saved rather than demolished by moving them to new locations as the township grew.

Yet another house built by George Whitney, it shows his talent for creating unique details in the Queen Anne Style. The wide shiplap siding made of clear heart redwood, was likely sourced in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ornately carved brackets support the eaves, with cut scallop shaped shingles and decorative work underneath. The one story house with no basement and an unfinished attic, had a half story added in 1983. The addition maintains the exterior architectural integrity of the Queen Anne style.

When John Colpitts Ainsley first arrived in Campbell in 1887, he purchased this house and ranch lands. Originally from England, he came to the United States in 1884 to seek his fortune in America. While still a bachelor, Mr. Ainsley began to experiment with canning fruit on a stove in his backyard sheds. It was here that J.C. figured out how to keep our locally grown peaches, pears, apricots and prunes from spoiling, while maintaining their flavor and color. His canning methods allowed the fruits to be shipped back to eager buyers in England who were looking for quality above and beyond what they could get locally. J.C. Ainsley is credited with inventing canned fruit salad.

In 1891, his “Washboiler Cannery” produced a thousand cases of fruit. (See Jeanette Watson Campbell the Orchard City). Mr. Ainsley went on to become a highly successful business man, building the J.C. Ainsley Packing Company, while providing good employment for many of the town’s residents. He married a local young lady, Alcinda Shelly, on May 1, 1894 and they had two children.

In 1921, the Campbell Union School District purchased the house and property and built the Campbell Union Grammar School, now the Heritage Village Office Complex. The district moved the house to the rear of the property to make way for the new school building, where it was rented to the first school principal for $25 a month. At one point the house was converted to a Manual Arts shop for students when the principal’s wife decided their growing family needed more room.

During the Great Depression, the house was put up for sale, and in 1930, it was sold to the only bidder, the school custodian and volunteer fireman, Antone Ferro. Mr. Ferro bought the house for $150. In 1933, he moved the house once again, by using horses, a capstan and a system of 12 foot long wooden skids with short wooden rollers rather than a wheeled vehicle, to its current location on North Third St. This method of house moving was common in Campbell because it allowed the structures to be maneuvered...Read More

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