History of Campbell, California

51 N Central Ave, Campbell, CA 95008

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73875056


Benjamin Campbell, Campbell’s maker, came with his family to the west in 1846. It is noted that his father, William, surveyed the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, and started a sawmill near the city of Saratoga. Benjamin Campbell acquired 160 acres in 1851 and planted them with hay and grain. This acreage later became the historical downtown center of Campbell.


Mr. Campbell sold an acre of his property to the railroad in 1878 for $5 and by 1887 the first subdivision was recorded west of the railroad from Campbell Avenue to the place where the Water Tower Plaza is now located. The area became the hub for shipping fruit, and the drying grounds and canneries made Campbell an important rail hub within a short period of time. With its 17-acre drying yard, the Campbell Fruit Growers’ Union became a well recognized cooperative.


In Campbell, there were three major canneries, such as J.C. Hyde Cannery, Ainsley Packing Company, and Payne Cannery. Most of the produce from the Ainsley Cannery of high quality fruit was exported to England. Ainsley Park commemorates the man and his cannery, located between Harrison and the railroad tracks. Two giant black walnut trees that were planted by the Swope family, descendants of Benjamin Campbell, are of particular interest in the park.

Bank of Campbell

Campbell required a bank, with all the business, and the Bank of Campbell was established at the corner of Campbell and Central Avenues in 1895. Campbell’s Bank, now named the Farley Building, is the oldest commercial building in Campbell.

President Theodore Roosevelt

In 1903, Campbell was visited by President Theodore Roosevelt. At the invitation of Professor J. Fred Smith, Campbell Union High School’s first principal, he arrived. While here, President Roosevelt, on the school grounds, planted a redwood tree. In 1980, Campbell Union High School closed its doors and now operates as a community center, providing a meeting place for a number of clubs and groups.

Board of Trade

For its churches, which once guided community life, Campbell was first known. The Board of Trade later became the leading service in the city. The Board of Trade is now known as the Chamber of Commerce of Campbell.

Campbell’s Official Incorporation 

In 1952, Campbell was officially incorporated as a city. Before the official City Hall was built, city offices occupied numerous buildings, such as Fire House No. 1 and the former Congregational Church. From a small farming community with a population of about 5,000 to a progressive community with a population of over 38,000, Campbell has developed.

This amazing historical landmark is just one of the many must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss in Campbell, California:

  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Los Gatos Creek Trail 
  • Los Gatos Creek County Park
  • Ainsley House 
  • John D. Morgan Park
  • Campbell Historical Museum
  • Campbell Park
  • Stojanovich Family Park  

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 3880 South Bascom Avenue in San Jose, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!

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