A RICH PAST:
The early growth of Springfield, Missouri was normal and orderly, but with the expansion of the Frisco Railroad to the city in 1870, a great business boom was set into motion. At this time, the only Methodist church was St. Paul, and the pastor there was Dr. W. B. Palmore (below, left). Sensing the needs of the people in the growing areas of Springfield, Dr. Palmore began the process of bringing another Methodist church to the city. The first meetings were held in the Frisco Opera House on Commercial St., and six months later were moved to the Grand Army of the Republic Hall, also on Commercial St.
In 1886, a plot of ground was purchased on the southwest corner of Division St. and Campbell St. to become one of the early Methodist churches in Springfield. It was ultimately organized by Rev. W. W. Jared, the first pastor. In 1887, with 13 charter members, Bishop E. R. Hendrix broke ground for what would become a large, one room, red brick church known as Palmore Chapel (above, right). The building cost, at the time,
was estimated to be about $6,500.
CAMPBELL AVENUE METHODIST
In the years following the dedication of Palmore Chapel, the church underwent pages worth of growth, declines, additions, and changes. In 1927 after seven long years of patient fundraising, a new church auditorium was constructed just west of the chapel (above). This building was remodeled more than once, and another educational building was added in 1967 in response to great growth. However, as both the Methodist church and the city of Springfield continued to change and evolve, so did this congregation, which was
by then known as Campbell Avenue Methodist.
AN EXCITING FUTURE:
If we look at the big picture, from Methodist church unifications, through 35 serving pastors, to the renaming of Springfield's north-south streets, and arriving at the 1984 relocation of our church building to Springfield's increasingly residential south side, it took nearly 100 years for this congregation to become Campbell United Methodist Church. The first service under this name in our current sanctuary was held on December 15, 1985.
Since this move, Campbell has continued to grow, both in membership and in faith. The 1990s addition of our Family Life Center to the north of the sanctuary, including multiple classrooms, a gymnasium, and a full kitchen, has allowed Campbell to minister in many ways, from Sunday School for all ages, to the creation of our Small Wonders program, all the way to serving as a Red Cross shelter during the 2007 ice storm.
Of course, all of this is merely scratching the surface. As George Bernard Shaw once said, "We are made wise not by the recollections of the past, but by the responsibility for the future."
Campbell UMC is making history today, and you can be a part of it!
YOU are invited to be a part of this story!