Author Archives: Andy Hahn

Christmas at the Campbell House

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Part of what makes Camp­bell House so unique is that the vast major­ity of every­thing you see when you go through the House is com­pletely orig­i­nal.  No fakes, MSGs or fillers.  What you’re see­ing belonged to the Camp­bells, was used by them on a daily basis, and is still call­ing CHM home more than 160 years later.  But when it comes to Christ­mas­time at the Camp­bell House, we’ve had to be a lit­tle bit creative.

2929787835_xmas_tree_question_mark_M_answer_103_xlargeYou see, though we would like to say that all of the beau­ti­ful orna­men­ta­tion, lus­cious green­ery, and Vic­to­rian frills found through­out the build­ing is spot-on orig­i­nal as well… it’s not.  In fact, we only have TWO orig­i­nal Camp­bell Christ­mas pieces in our col­lec­tion.  That’s not two sets of dec­o­ra­tions or two boxes… it’s two.  And there’s a pretty easy expla­na­tion for why this is.

The Camp­bells, as we’re well aware, knew how to throw a party.  Folks like Pres­i­dent U.S. Grant, Gen­eral William Tecum­seh Sher­man, James Eads, and Henry Shaw reg­u­larly supped here at the House, and Vir­ginia even had the for­mal par­lor dou­bled in size to accom­mo­date the elab­o­rate get-togethers.  As you can imag­ine, their Christ­mas par­ties (and later, their son Hugh’s Christ­mas par­ties) would have been a grand affair, and the Camp­bells made sure their guests went home with gifts to remind them of the evening.  But these weren’t spe­cialty gift bags or neon t-shirts with “Camp­bell Xmas Party 1854″ embla­zoned across the front.  When you came to a Camp­bell Christ­mas party, you were allowed to take with you an orna­ment from their tree.  And, as many guests came and went through the halls of this grand home, so too did the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.  Kind of a neat tra­di­tion, right?  Great for the guests, not so great for us here at CHM who would love to get our mitts on some of those orna­ments in the present day.

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Par­lor tree, mid-construction.

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Com­pleted par­lor tree.

So, when you come through Camp­bell House this hol­i­day sea­son (and we HIGHLY encour­age you to do so), know that you’re look­ing at our best guess of what a Camp­bell Christ­mas might have looked like.  Is it spot-on orig­i­nal?  No.  But it is quite the sight to behold.  Hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing takes the bet­ter part of a month to com­plete.  It’s worth the effort.

Check out pic­tures below of the two remain­ing Camp­bell Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions in our col­lec­tion.  Also some pic­tures of how we deck our halls dur­ing the hol­i­day season!

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The only Camp­bell orna­ment remain­ing in the CHM col­lec­tion. A small, cel­lu­loid (thin plastic-like mate­r­ial) piece depict­ing a young girl with a bas­ket of apples. The orna­ment was taken off the Camp­bell Christ­mas tree and given to a young vis­i­tor in 1922. 

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The only other Camp­bell Christ­mas piece still in our col­lec­tion today, is this rein­deer. Orig­i­nally part of a full set of Santa’s eight rein­deer that sat on the Camp­bells’ din­ing room table (see below), Vixen ended up with a dif­fer­ent St. Louis fam­ily for more than 90 years before he was returned to Camp­bell House.

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Ster­ling sil­ver harp name­plate on the critter’s back iden­ti­fy­ing him as Vixen. Please dis­re­gard the neon green iPhone case.

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The orig­i­nal full set of rein­deer on the Camp­bell fam­ily din­ing table,  circa 1895.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Story: Father Dunne’s Boys and Hugh Campbell

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Father Dunne and some of his boys”

Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate, as an orga­ni­za­tion, will be 108 years old this com­ing Feb­ru­ary. Back in 1931, dur­ing the 25th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat rec­ol­lected that, “A mys­te­ri­ous ‘Friend of the Home,’ who has never per­mit­ted his name to be known, began his min­is­tra­tions at [at the Home on] Selby Place, send­ing every now and then a wag­onload of pro­vi­sions and leav­ing with Father Dunne, gifts of money, always anony­mously. In those early days it is prob­a­ble the home could not have existed but for this friend. Suf­fice it to say that his inter­est has never abated. A boun­ti­ful Thanks­giv­ing din­ner every year since then is one of his out­stand­ing bene­fac­tions.” This is the story of who that anony­mous bene­fac­tor was.

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Fr. Peter Joseph Dunne

The future Father Peter Joseph Dunne was born June 29, 1870 in Chicago.  His father was a car­pen­ter, but both his par­ents did not enjoy good health, and the fam­ily moved to a small farm in Kansas in 1873 to get away from “the sti­fling city streets.” Nev­er­the­less, Peter Dunne’s mother died in 1879 and his father took Peter and his four sib­lings to reside in Kansas City, Mis­souri, where Peter’s father died three years later.  An orphan at the age of 12, Peter was employed in a print­ery, but later found work at the Catholic Orphans’ Home for Girls in Kansas City where his sis­ters resided.  Work­ing var­i­ous odd jobs and appren­tice­ships through age 24, Peter moved to St. Louis in the win­ter of 1891, where he first was a team­ster, then, after panic of 1893, became night watch­man at Saint Louis University.

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Though poorly edu­cated, the Jesuits put him on the path to priest­hood. He spent four years at St. Benedict’s Col­lege in Atchi­son, Kansas, then entered Ken­rick Sem­i­nary in 1898.  At age 32, Peter Joseph Dunne was ordained a priest on June 13, 1903. His first assign­ment was at St. Columbkille’s Church in Caron­delet, then, in May 1905 to St. Rose’s Catholic Church.  No doubt always alert to the prob­lems of par­ent­less boys and the need for edu­ca­tion, on Sep­tem­ber 10, 1905 he preached a ser­mon claim­ing the edu­ca­tion of boys in St. Louis, as in the rest of the nation, was neglected in favor of girls. “Girls are not inclined by nature to be as bad as the boys,” thought Father Dunne. “Boys are not nat­u­rally bad, but they must be prop­erly trained.” The St. Louis Repub­lic news­pa­per reported, “The attack on the sys­tem of the instruc­tion of youths as con­ducted by the Catholic Church is said to be the first pub­lic utter­ance of its kind.”

Untitled-1Per­haps in reac­tion to Father Dunne’s ser­mon, or per­haps it was already part of the plan, on Decem­ber 6, 1905, Arch­bishop John Glen­non announced the estab­lish­ment of a “home for poor boys and girls” in St. Louis, most of whom worked menial jobs, such as sell­ing news­pa­pers or shin­ing shoes, to sur­vive on the streets. He appointed Father P. J. Dunne as direc­tor to “devise ways and means for its cre­ation and main­te­nance.” The home was to be located on Six­teenth or Sev­en­teenth Street, between Wash­ing­ton Avenue and O’Fallon Street (“the con­gested dis­trict east of Jef­fer­son Avenue.”) Accord­ing to Father Dunne, they would start with the boys:  “News­boys, boot­blacks and all home­less boys who are too old to find a shel­ter at orphan­ages will be cared for free of charge.” In addi­tion, the home would pro­vide “a refuge for boys who are arrested and taken before the juve­nile court.”  Father Dunne would solicit funds from local busi­ness­men: “Sev­eral promi­nent St. Louis phil­an­thropists have already sig­ni­fied their will­ing­ness to do all within their power to pro­mote the enterprise.”

IMG_6234But funds were slow in com­ing in. In early Feb­ru­ary 1906 Father Dunnes’ News­boys’ Home opened at 1013 Selby Place (in north St. Louis, just across from today’s Carr Park). Three boys were the first res­i­dents. The first night there was no fur­ni­ture, but a neigh­bor­ing mer­chant loaned him blan­kets and com­forts for the night.  Sev­en­teen years later, at the annual Thanks­giv­ing din­ner, Father Dunne recalled how sev­eral days later “This kind man came to the house and I was not at home. He asked the cook if there was any­thing to eat in the house for the boys. She told him there was very lit­tle – one-half a loaf of bread and two dough­nuts. The gen­tle­man went to a whole­sale house and sent up a two-horse load of gro­ceries and pro­vi­sions that lasted us many months.”

Per Father Dunne’s rec­ol­lec­tion, this same “unknown bene­fac­tor” would visit the Home as fre­quently as twice a week to check on things. By May 1906 the num­ber of home­less boys had increased to 35. With the help of friends, includ­ing the anony­mous gift-giver, Father Dunne rented a larger house at 2737 Locust Street.  It was here that the newsboys’

"That Feller", Mr. Hugh Campbell

That Feller”, Mr. Hugh Campbell

cel­e­brated their first Thanks­giv­ing. The St. Louis Repub­lic head­line read “Prince of Mys­tery Stuffs News­boys,” and described “that feller” – as the news­boys referred to the donor – as a “distinguished-looking, hand­some and a thor­ough aris­to­crat in his bear­ing” who watched as the 56 res­i­dents ate turkey, dress­ing, rolls, fruit, nuts, pie, cake, and ice cream, all served by wait­ers “who looked as if they might have stepped out of the Ara­bian Nights.”  At each boy’s plate were a dol­lar bill, a box of Busy Bee candy, and a toy turkey.  The anony­mous bene­fac­tor would go on to spend approx­i­mately $1,000 every Thanks­giv­ing for the next 25 years to pro­vide a sim­i­lar feast. It was only after the donor’s death in 1931 that Father Dunne offi­cially iden­ti­fied the spon­sor as Hugh Camp­bell, Jr., the mil­lion­aire son of Robert Campbell.

Ban­quets occurred year after year, seem­ingly grow­ing in excess (and cer­tainly in the num­ber of res­i­dent boys) over time. On Novem­ber 10, 1907, just before the occa­sion of the sec­ond Thanks­giv­ing ban­quet, Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate moved to brand new and even larger quar­ters at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue, at the cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton & Gar­ri­son avenues.  This was the result of dona­tions from 30 local busi­ness­men, with Hugh IMG_6230Camp­bell allegedly pro­vid­ing the bulk of the funds.  The Home could now pro­vide for at least 125 boys, and more over time. By 1909, news reports recorded not only the sump­tu­ous feast (always catered), but accom­pa­nied by a stringed orches­tra (most often De Martini’s), that would enter­tain the boys with patri­otic Amer­i­can or lively Irish music.  Each meal began with a prayer of thanks for the unknown bene­fac­tor, who seemed to attend in the early years, but less fre­quently as the years passed.  At its’ height, the Thanks­giv­ing ban­quet pro­vided no less than 600 pounds of turkey to feed upwards of 200 boys.

FrDunneHC2 (1)The news­boys referred to the stranger who pro­vided the din­ners as “that feller” or “Mr. Mur­phy.”  Hugh Camp­bell report­edly told Father Dunne that his dona­tions were to remain anony­mous, and if his name ever got out, the News­boys’ Home “would never get another nickel.” He also told the priest, “You had bet­ter take what you can while I’m liv­ing because my will is made and you will get noth­ing when I die.”  It was only after his death on August 9, 1931 that the extent of his gen­eros­ity to the News­boys’ Home was made known.

Dur­ing one of the Camp­bell estate law­suits, in 1933, Father Dunne tes­ti­fied that Hugh Camp­bell first came to the Selby Place res­i­dence in 1906 after read­ing about the new home in the news­pa­per.  We know now that Hugh has always had an inter­est in these types of char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions, hav­ing donated to the cre­ation of a “Street Boys’ Home” in St. Louis in 1877.  Hugh also gave Father Dunne money, in addi­tion to the cart full of food, and con­tin­ued to pro­vide for the home and spe­cific boy’s in par­tic­u­lar through the years.  Besides the Thanks­giv­ing ban­quets, start­ing in 1906, Hugh donated the money for con­struc­tion of the Wash­ing­ton Avenue build­ing in 1907. In 1908 he donated por­traits to the Home of Father Dunne, Car­di­nal Glen­non, and the “orig­i­nal news­boy” Jimmy Flem­ing, in addi­tion to funds for the mar­ble altar in the chapel.  In 1909 he pro­vided the money for the facil­ity swim­ming pool.  Hugh also sent sev­eral of the boys through the Ranken School of Mechan­i­cal Trades, bought one boy an arti­fi­cial leg, sent “fruit enough for six months” with the Thanks­giv­ing day din­ners, and fur­nished the Home’s 75 piece band with uniforms.

After Hugh’s death another “unknown bene­fac­tor” pro­vided the Thanks­giv­ing meal in 1931.  The ban­quets con­tin­ued in the ensu­ing years, but news reports never again empha­sized the extrav­a­gance of the feast.  Father Dunne died in March photo (6)1939.  In 1948, RKO pic­tures released a movie “Fight­ing Father Dunne” star­ring Pat O’Brien as Father Dunne, a fic­tion­al­ized low bud­get response to 1938’s MGM pro­duc­tion of “Boy’s Town.” This despite the fact that Father Dunne’s News­boys Home and Pro­tec­torate had pre­ceded Father Flanagan’s orig­i­nal home for home­less boys by 10 years and Boys’ Town by 14.

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Father Dunne and boys with newly designed build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue

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For­mer Dunne’s News­boys’ Home build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue in the cur­rent day

The News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate con­tin­ued through the years.  It remained at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue, but in 1947 was reor­ga­nized and placed under the Catholic Char­i­ties depart­ment of chil­dren.  In 1956 the home cel­e­brated its 50th anniver­sary at the Wash­ing­ton Avenue loca­tion.  In July 1970 the build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Ave was sold to the Sal­va­tion Army and Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home moved to 4253 Clarence Ave (the build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue still stands today and was vacated in May 2013 by the Sal­va­tion Army). The con­cept of the home­less news­boys had changed over time, and ser­vices were pro­vided for trou­bled and emo­tion­ally dis­turbed youth. In 1988, the News­boys’ Home moved to 853 Dunn Rd (on the cam­pus of the for­mer Aquinas High School).  In 2006, “Father Dunne’s Old News­boys’ Home,” a Catholic Char­i­ties’ agency pro­vid­ing res­i­den­tial ser­vices for boys in fos­ter care, ages 12–21, was one of five agen­cies that merged to form Good Shep­herd Chil­dren & Fam­ily Services.

**Spe­cial thanks to CHM Senior Research Tom Gron­ski for guest-writing this blog post.

Fall 2013 Campbell House Newsletter — Hot Off the Press!

NewsletterGraphicAlrighty, folks.  So this has been a long time com­ing, and our apolo­gies for not hav­ing some­thing up a lit­tle sooner but there has been SO MUCH going on around Camp­bell House over the past cou­ple of weeks– not the least of which is the pub­li­ca­tion of the lat­est edi­tion of our newslet­ter, the Camp­bell House Courier!

Next week we’ll have up another post­ing in our “Peel­ing Back the Lay­ers” series on the CHM restora­tion, but for now we wanted to get you as jazzed as we are to read about every­thing that’s been going on here at the house over the past year.

Check out the link below to read about our Glo­ri­ous Gowns exhibit, the newly installed restored par­lor draperies, get some updates from Direc­tor Andy (AKA: The Boss), some major events we’ve held like ‘Feast­ing with the Camp­bells’, and a really inter­est­ing nugget of research that we found on Robert Camp­bell and Texas. (hint: if Robert Camp­bell hadn’t been around, the city of El Paso as we know it would not exist today.)

Have we piqued your inter­est? Good!

Now click here to check it out.

 

Peeling Back the Layers of Time — WALLPAPER

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Binders full of hun­dreds of plastic-sleeved wall­pa­per frag­ments revealed dur­ing the restora­tion can be found in our stor­age area.

This week’s topic in our “Peel­ing Back the Lay­ers” series looks at some of the incred­i­ble wall­pa­per that has graced the walls of Camp­bell House since its con­struc­tion in 1851.

When the museum began its exten­sive restora­tion project in 2000, great care was taken to pre­serve any­thing and every­thing that was found in walls, under floor­boards, and under lay­ers of paint and wall­pa­per.  Everything—from large orig­i­nal doors and win­dows to the small­est scrap of faded wall­pa­per was saved and is pre­served for future study here at Camp­bell House.  Our climate-controlled archives room is chock-full of binders and boxes con­tain­ing all of these fragments.

Over time, wall­pa­per itself has faded in and out of style and, along with this, lots of dif­fer­ent designs saw peaks in pop­u­lar­ity.  The first thing a lot of us think of when think of wall­pa­per might be some­thing like you see to the right.

Random internet picture of terrible wallpaper.

Ran­dom inter­net pic­ture of ter­ri­ble wallpaper.

Yikes, right?  Have no fear—our wall­pa­per is way more inter­est­ing than Grandma’s din­ing room.

Like the linoleum we talked about a cou­ple of weeks ago, we found quite a few lay­ers of wall­pa­per­ing when we began the restoration.

After uncov­er­ing all of these nifty scraps, we began the process of recre­at­ing wall­pa­pers and inte­ri­ors that matched the orig­i­nals, which was an enor­mous project, read more about that and see some neat pic­tures of us at work dur­ing the restora­tion after the break—

Here’s a taste of what we have in our wall­pa­per collection:

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Circa 1870 wall­pa­per from CHM’s 3rd floor sit­ting room, still attached to plaster.

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Wall­pa­per bor­der rem­nant from the sec­ond floor of the Car­riage House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wall­pa­per sam­ples found in the sec­ond floor ser­vants hall with a “felt board” back­ing, dat­ing from the early 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Circa 1860 wall­pa­per bor­der frag­ment found in the third floor stair­well. The bor­der accented an unusu­ally large pat­terned Ash­lar paper—designed to look like fin­ished brick or stone. See the cur­rent iter­a­tion of Ash­lar paper found today at Camp­bell House below. 

 

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Ash­lar block wall­pa­per on the walls at Camp­bell House today– installed in the early 2000s dur­ing our restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Block flo­ral motif pat­tern found under the crown mold­ing in the ser­vants hall and out­side the sec­ond floor bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bor­der paper frag­ment found in Mrs. Kyle’s room behind man­tle facade dat­ing from the 1860s– this likely pre­dated the many exten­sive struc­tural addi­tions and improve­ments that the Camp­bells made to their home over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wall­pa­per frag­ment found on the west wall of CHM’s library. This was found behind a divid­ing wall, mean­ing it dates from before the 1880s and was installed by Robert and Virginia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall­pa­per Restoration

After uncov­er­ing all of those neat his­tor­i­cal pieces of wall­pa­per, we began the process of re-papering with spe­cially designed spot-on recre­ations of what orig­i­nally hung on the Camp­bells’ walls.  This was quite the process—wallpapering in the 1880s was noth­ing like what it is today.

Wall­pa­per had to be recre­ated through color analy­sis and pho­tos of the var­i­ous rooms that were taken in the 1880s, when it arrived it came in rolls like this:

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The wall­pa­per came rolled in 30 inch-wide strips.  How­ever, the design was only on 19 inches of the strip, which meant our installers had to hand cut the edges of the wall­pa­per and pay extra spe­cial atten­tion to make sure edges matched up once the paper was pasted to the walls.

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All of the wall­pa­pers used in our restora­tion were custom-designed to match orig­i­nal wall­pa­pers found in the house dur­ing the 19th cen­tury by spe­cialty design firms.

 

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The end prod­uct: the entire wall of the Campbell’s mas­ter bed­room is cov­ered with indi­vid­ual strips that had to be hand-cut and then pasted into place.

 

 

So that sounds like quite the project, right?  Well things got even cra­zier with the com­plex wall­pa­per and bor­der design found in Mrs. Kyle’s bed­room.  Like the green lily wall­pa­per seen above, the Japanese-inspired wall­pa­per for this project came in small strips that had to be hand-trimmed.

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What made this room extra tricky, though, was the bor­der that had to be sliced off the top of the roll, pasted, and reassem­bled by hand into a com­plex design on the ceil­ing and around the tops of the walls.

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Red and gold trim along the top of the wall­pa­per had to be cut off.

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Our crafts­man del­i­cately past­ing the cut-off sliv­ers of wall­pa­per into a box-design on the ceiling.

 

 

 

 

 

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The final product.

Check out the pic­tures below for some more exam­ples of wall­pa­per­ing that was done dur­ing our restoration:

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Mrs. Kyle’s sec­ond floor bedroom

Dining-Room

Din­ing room

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Head housekeeper’s sec­ond floor bedroom

Library

Third floor library

Drink Up & Tweetup with Campbell House and Distilled History!

distilled historyMark your cal­en­dar!  All of us here at CHM are very excited to part­ner with Dis­tilled His­tory, win­ner of the River­front Times 2013 St. Louis Web Award for Best Per­sonal Blog, and host a Tweetup on Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 27th cel­e­brat­ing St. Louis his­tory and Smith­son­ian Museum Day!  We’ll be about a block away from where Taste of St. Louis is going down, so keep in mind that you can stop on by and then head on over to Sol­diers Memo­r­ial to enjoy all that Taste has to offer.

What, you might be ask­ing, makes this Tweetup extra fun and inter­est­ing?  Well, not only do you get to expe­ri­ence the Camp­bell House Museum (for free), not only do you get to hang out with some awe­some mem­bers of the St. Louis twit­ter­verse (for free), not only do you get the chance to sign up for tick­ets to Camp­bell House and other muse­ums for Smith­son­ian Museum Day (for free), not only do you get to have some great food pro­vided by the deli­cious Maya Cafe (for… well, you get the point. This whole shindig is free.), but you get to have a drink while you do it!

We’re going to be tak­ing a look at St. Louis and Camp­bell his­tory from the unique (and quite enjoy­able) per­spec­tive of beer, wine, and spir­its.  We’ll have a great selec­tion of Schlafly beer, wine, Vir­ginia Campbell’s famous Roman Punch, and a spe­cially pre­pared batch of home­made bath­tub gin for your tast­ing delight.  Let me reit­er­ate that last point: there will be bath­tub gin. Our friend Cameron (who hap­pens to be Dis­tilled History’s award-winning author) will be brew­ing it up, and he assures us it’s per­fectly safe… just a lit­tle, erm, strong.  Click here to read more about his bath­tub gin experimentation.

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Recipe for Roman Punch from Vir­ginia Campbell’s 1860 cook­book… don’t worry, ours will be sans eggs.

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Pres­i­dent Grant’s cup, with “U.S.G.” inscribed on its side

In addi­tion to the out of the ordi­nary nature of the Tweetup, we’ll be hav­ing a pretty unique, one of a kind raf­fle.  For a buck or two, you (yes you!) get a free drink!  But, since all the drinks will tech­ni­cally be free, we decided to make it pretty spe­cial.  The win­ner of this raf­fle gets to take a swig out of a cup once belong­ing to Pres­i­dent U.S. Grant, who was quite the drinker him­self.  It’s in the col­lec­tion here at Camp­bell House and we’re pulling it out of the vault so that a lucky attendee can have the chance to join in some his­tor­i­cal com­mu­nion with our late great, high tol­er­anced for­mer president.

So, let’s recap:

1.) Great food and drink

2.) A unique look at St. Louis and Camp­bell history

3.) The chance to take a swig from a cup belong­ing to Pres­i­dent U.S. Grant

4.) Oppor­tu­nity to hang out with mem­bers of the STL Twitterverse

5.) Sign up for free tick­ets to CHM and other great muse­ums for Smith­son­ian Museum Day

6.) It’s free. (though we cer­tainly won’t sneeze at donations)

The only thing miss­ing?  You.

So swing by after work from 4–6 pm on Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 27th.  Spend an hour, spend five min­utes, what­ever floats your boat.  Taste of St. Louis will be going on down­town, about a block away from us (and we’ll have park­ing… hint hint) We’d love to see you there!

TwitterShoot us a tweet for more info:

@campbellmuseum  or  @distlhistory

#drinkuptwee­t­up­STL