October 01, 2022

Charles B. Campbell

According to the Creston Daily Advertiser on the June 6, 1919, C.B. Campbell superintendent of construction work for H.L. Stevens company, an architectural engineer of Chicago, arrived in Creston to be in charge of the erection of a new hotel. The hotel soon to be known as the Iowana was designed by R.S. Frodin, an architect in the H.L. Stevens Company but Campbell was the one who directed the building of the hotel. This was probably his first project in Creston but not his last. Shortly after the hotel was built he made a decision to stay in Creston. He formed his own contracting firm, C. B. Campbell Construction Company.

In the 1920 Census of Creston, Union County, Iowa, Charles B Campbell, 40, born in Scotland was living in Creston along with his wife, Maria, in a rental at 403 N. Elm St. Charles Buchan Campbell was born in Stirling, Scotland, on the July 18, 1879. He was married to Maria Miller Bell also of Scotland on Nov. 26, 1904. They immigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1906. While building the Iowana, his family was living in Cleveland, Ohio. Their two children included a son Charles J. Campbell, 11, in 1920 and a daughter, Jean M. Campbell, 4. Charles J. had been born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Jean was born in Ohio. Charles B. Campbell was listed as Superintendent of Construction in the building industry.

C.B. had spent years of traveling from work site to work site, obviously with his family in tow. Surely this was one of the reasons he decided to make Creston his home base. Being the boss of his own company required him to spend more time in the community promoting his business and less time on the job sites. So while in Creston, Marie and he were part of the Creston social life. He had time to doing things he enjoyed. His son, C.J. Campbell played on the Creston Football Team in High School and surely his Charles was in the stands to watch. On November 1924, the local Elks Lodge had a charity ball with entertainment. Charles and Maria Campbell were major donors of prizes. He was also a member and officer of White Shine of Jerusalem, Union Shrine # 23, a Creston fraternal organization. In December 1925, Charles took his prized Irish Setter, Play Boy, to the St. Joseph Kennel Club Show were they received first place. Play Boy had already been a consistent winner at other shows. He was always ready to help out in the community. When the Red Cross was raising money in Creston for tornado relief in Iowa, he was one of the businesses that donated generously. In December 1922, Campbell was one of the first members of the newly organized Creston Golf & Country Club.

The C.B. Campbell Construction Company won building contracts in two states while his headquarters was in Creston. The Company was incorporated and C.B. Campbell was selected President, F.E. Schadde was vice president, Helen Schadde was Secretary and Otis (Otra) M. Woodard, a carpenter, as treasurer of this Construction Company in Creston. Schadde was a plumbing and heating specialist, and his sister, Helen, was named the corporation secretary.

Creston contracts included the building of the Elks Lodge in 1922 and both the Masonic Temple on the corner of Oak and Montgomery and the First Congregational Church one block to the west in 1923. In 1920 through 1922, C.B. Campbell Construction Company was selected to build schools all over southern Iowa. The schools they built included Coburg, Arispe, Thayer, Orient, Redfield, and Nodaway. In 1922, the construction company took on two more projects. They built a dormitory on the campus of Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Missouri, and they built a school at Lake City. While C.B. Campbell Construction Company was building the Lake City High School, Charles was quoted for the Creston Advertiser Gazette in July 9, 1923; “Creston is always ahead of any place, its size in the country around in building, especially residences.” In July 1925, Campbell was named a member of the board of directors of the Master Builders Association of Iowa.

In 1925, the company built a school in Tarko, Missouri, but building projects seem to run out for the company. The company was suffering with financial difficulties. More than likely caused by the mild recession that had effected the United States between 1924-1927. On Jan. 17, 1927, the stockholders of the C.B. Campbell Construction Company met and voted that the corporation should go through the process of dissolution. Charles’ wife and son, joined him during the summer as he worked on construction projects in Amarillo and Crowell, Texas.

By 1930, according to the U.S. Federal Census of Adrian, Monroe County, Wisconsin, Charles B. Campbell, Maria Campbell, and their children Charles J. and Jean were renting a house at 83 Town Roads, Adrian, Wisconsin. He was listed as the Superintendent of Building Construction.

During the remaining years of his life he continued to build in Wisconsin and Indiana. Four buildings remain in Creston as memories of this man who helped build our town, Creston.