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Campbell College

Holton, Kansas 



My Tom-Tom got me around Kansas City to Lawrence without incident.  However, the closed streets around the University of Kansas campus confused it.  Human help soon arrived to find me a legal parking place and directions to the research library.  After signing a solemn pledge not to misuse materials, I was allowed to see their holdings for the Charta, the Campbell College student newspaper.   The Holton Public Library provided information on former Campbell buildings.  The diploma was taken from <>


Campbell College opened in 1880 at Holton Kansas.  Citizens of Holton raised the first $10,000, and a Utah miner named A.C. Campbell, a Holton native, matched this and added another $1,100 for eleven acres of land.  A “fine stone building” was completed in 1880 in time for the opening of classes.  Originally a non-denominational school, Campbell passed over to the United Brethren Church in 1902, the church putting up $40,000 over four years to operate the school.  At the same time, Lane University, a United Brethren college at Lecompton, was merged with Campbell to form Campbell University. Cyclopedia of Kansas lists Campbell as having a four-year college program, a two-year normal program; a three-year academic program, and a one-year preparatory program.  The school had also developed a commercial department with courses in all branches of business.  In addition there was a conservatory of music.  A faculty of 14 provided courses for a student body of 500. Advertisements claimed that Campbell had the “largest enrollment of any college in northeastern Kansas.”


Charta notes that students had access to chapters of the YMCA and YWCA and four literary societies—Athenian and Webster for men and Calliopean and Philomelian for women.  The school also had a Campbell Debating Club, a Prohibition League, and an Athletic Association.


In 1913 Campbell University merged with Kansas City University in Kansas City, KS.  

Bricks and Mortar

Campbell College was a one-building campus until 1883, when a dormitory was added. School advertisements later claim a four-building campus.


After Campbell merged with Kansas City University, a two year school, the first junior college in Kansas, operated in Holton until 1919.  The old campus then became the property of the Holton school district. Main Building was later razed to make way for the present high school building.  Stones from the college building were used to create a berm for the high school campus.


       Colors: Crimson and Gold


Charta mentions both baseball and football games.  In the fall of 1906 Campbell students were excited both about the new field and the purchase of eleven new football uniforms.  However, newspapers show few games and little success.  Midland College—located in Atchison, KS at the time—was a frequent opponent as was St. Mary’s.  College of Emporia hung 90 points on Campbell in 1912.


With a gymnasium, Campbell also played basketball.  In 1906 the Charta expresses hope that a girls’ program will begin in the next year.


Postcard image of Main Building. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Campbell main building.jpg

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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