District Blog

Every year, as part of the Celebrate Campbell Awards Dinner event, the Campbell Chamber of Commerce invites us (Downtown Campbell Business Association) to name a person to honor for their contributions to our little fun village of Downtown Campbell in the previous year.

This year, we cheated. We couldn't narrow it down to just one person to give the award to. Our persons of the year for 2019 are Michael Sanders and Mark Thornton. They're a couple of regulars of the Downtown Campbell scene by way of their affiliation with the Home Church.

The Home Church is one of the community organizations that has quietly worked alongside the Downtown Campbell Business Association to help us run many of the events happening in Downtown Campbell, but Michael and Mark have done far more than just show up to help us check tickets and direct traffic. They've gone the extra mile out of love for their community to help make Downtown Campbell the place that it is.

Michael Sanders is the Facilities Manager and IT Manager of the Home Church and can come close to outrunning Usain Bolt if you tell him that you're taking his photo (despite a broken foot). He's been at the Home Church for over 20 years and we've been quite familiar with him for most of those years. His friends attest to his great sense of compassion for those around him, good humor, and his amazing singing voice.

Mark Thornton is a leader and volunteer at the Home Church who's very much a hands on kind of person no matter what it is. He loves working with his hands and is an avid gardener, cook, and nature lover. He's hands on with teenagers and loves working with them to shape the character of young adults. His friends speak warmly of how reliable and sensitive he is in difficult situations.

The Downtown Campbell Business Association is very grateful to these two men and the Home Church for all of their support over the years. We are so proud to name these two gentlemen as our persons of the year for 2019 and we will be celebrating their contributions to the community this weekend at the 52nd Annual Celebrate Campbell Awards dinner.

BTW, both of these men are dog people. Can you tell?

Friends Don't Let Friends Spread Germs

Posted on March 9th, 2020 by sheldon

Undoubtedly, you know there's this Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus thing going around. Regardless of how you feel about the risks of it, we have one thing to ask of you. Please stay home if you're sick.

It doesn't matter if you truly only have a cold and can back it up with laboratory test results. People on the street won't see it as trivial. Anyone who appears to be spreading germs in Downtown Campbell is going to discourage people from coming here. Downtown Campbell remains open for business as it always is, but things aren't normal. We'll eventually find a new normal, but we are going to need help from our loyal community to get there sooner.

You can start by making sure that all of your friends understand that FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS SPREAD GERMS. Downtown Campbell is a very social place. You come here to celebrate birthdays, retirements, bachelorette parties, and last nights in town. If you're going to hit the town with friends here, please do us a solid and remind your entire crew to stay away if they're sick or even think they might be coming down with something. Make sure your friends know you'll forgive them if they have to back out.

Even under the best of circumstances, operating a small business is a monumental challenge. In most cases, it's not something any sane person will want to do to make money. You do it because it's who you are. You do it because there's something about it that you just love, but it's still a struggle. Challenging times are coming and we will need your help. Start by keeping all of us more healthy.

We're sure you've heard plenty about the Covid-19 "novel coronavirus". We're going to post some links for you as a public service announcement. Local governments are acting urgently to to enact precautions with public health and safety in mind. There is a lot of information being shared out there about this and some of it is of questionable value.

If you are trying to understand what Covid 19 is and how it affects you, please start with these three websites. For the most relevant local level information affecting Santa Clara County, we especially recommend that you check the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's Coronavirus page or social media accounts for updates.

The Covid 19 Coronavirus is a fast moving topic and official news sources may not be able to keep up with the latest developments, but please use these official information sources to judge the accuracy of things that you read online.

This Place Matters: The Arnott House

Posted on March 5th, 2020 by susanblake

The featured landmark home this month is the Ed Arnott House at 155 Alice Avenue. Built in 1922, this house is a fine example of the Craftsman/California Bungalow style with many character defining features. It has a broad, closed veranda style porch supported by brick and stone pillars and unusual stacked wooden brackets at the top. An additional open porch can be seen on the west side of the house. Its low-pitched roof is supported by projecting eaves and exposed roof rafter tails. Large transom style windows frame the front door with many small divided- light, casement windows on either side of the chimney and the side porch. The house also has a small finished basement.

The current owners said that they found several old-double hung windows along with heavy weights in the basement when they started their renovation efforts. The original front door went missing over the years and when they bought the home in 2012, the existing hollow core front door was in bad shape and unsafe, with gaps that let light and wind through it. They replaced it with a new, solid fir door in the Craftsman/Bungalow style that matches interior molding woodwork.

The Peter Paul Arnott and Son’s Lumber Yard was one of the early 1900’s businesses in downtown Campbell. Along with lumber, Peter and his son Ed helped provide cement building blocks for foundations, chimneys and basements. They were kept busy as the newly created downtown business district on East Campbell Avenue grew rapidly. (See photo)

However, on October 27, 1917, a disastrous fire quickly swept through the downtown community and destroyed many buildings including the house of E.A. Arnott according to Jeanette Watson’s book, ‘CAMPBELL the Orchard City’. Although not much is known about the Arnotts, one can surmise that the Ed Arnott House on Alice Avenue was built using materials that were readily available from the family’s business.

Alice Avenue, now part of a historic district, was created in 1915 on a portion of the site of fruit drying yards owned by the George E. Hyde Company, a canning and fruit dehydrating plant occupying 17 acres in Campbell. This residential subdivision named “Hyde Residential Park” was built primarily for housing cannery workers, though George and Alice Hyde (the Street’s namesake) resided there too.

Photo courtesy of Campbell Museums.

Campbell Avenue looking east at the corner of First Street, 1905-1910. On the right side of the street is the newly constructed Odd Fellows Hall, Peter Arnott’s residence (with palm trees) and Al Smith’s Auto Shop where the fire started that wiped out the entire block of buildings.

Want to learn more about Campbell’s Historic buildings? There’s a free app for that. Search for: Historic Campbell, available for both Android and Apple.

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Wow! Our Wednesday Night Dungeons & Dragons nights have eclipsed our wildest expectations! We've never thought we'd have so many players at our weekly D&D nights. Come join us for pick-up n play one-shot campaigns for all experience levels every Wednesday night at 7PM. If you're a Dungeon Master, please message us. We could use a few more DM's.

Special thanks to Recycle Bookstore for helping out with supplying DnD books for our players! ?❤️

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Have ya’ll met Alyssa? Alyssa has been such a great team member at Bombshell. Besides being a great employee at Bombshell, Alyssa is also working hard on finishing her Masters in Art Therapy and she also has an internship at a local hospital! Alyssa loves to help others, has a huge heart, and is full of positive energy.

We love you so much Alyssa!

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If your skin needs a little moisture boost in this season of winter dryness, give this great moisturizing CBD body lotion by Yuzu soap a try! Moisturize, soothe, and heal your skin with this 100% hemp-derived CBD lotion. It's formulated with plant-based oils and butters that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

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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.


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

We were hoping to have better news, but the weather report is looking very unfavorable for the Carol of Lights on Saturday, December 7th. This event has been held in rain before, but the weather forecasts are predicting a downpour with high winds.

That's more than we can do for safety reasons. We're very disappointed that we have to cancel, but it's in the best interest of safety for everyone involved from the families who'd be coming to our many volunteers and hired vendors who'd be working in potentially dangerous conditions.

Thank you all for understanding and please remember that we've still got our Santa hats on for Christmas in Campbell street music on the remaining Friday and Saturday nights until Christmas that aren't rain soaked.

Also, there are other holiday events taking place indoors that were scheduled to take place alongside the Carol of Lights. Those are still happening.

View the Events Calendar