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Campbell House History
Times were hard in the post-Civil War depression that gripped the South when James Archibald Campbell founded Buie's Creek Academy in 1887 at Poe's, North Carolina. Although money was scarce, Campbell started work in 1890 on a home for his future bride, Cornelia Frances Pearson. The house, a simple four-room farmhouse, was occupied by the newly wed Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Campbell in spring 1891. By 1904, it had been enlarged to its present size to accommodate the Campbells and their three children: Leslie (1892), Carlyle (1894), and Elizabeth (1896).
As J.A. Campbell's school grew and prospered, the family dedicated themselves to furthering their own education and to serving the cause of education in North Carolina. In May 1911, J.A. Campbell and both his sons graduated from Wake Forest College. A few years later, his daughter graduated from Meredith College. All returned to teach at Buie's Creek Academy.
Dr. and Mrs. J.A. Campbell continued to live in their original home until Dr. Campbell's death on March 18, 1934. Soon there after, Mrs. Campbell built a house in Buie's Creek. Leslie assumed leadership of the school, which by this time had become Campbell Junior College.
Years later, after serving a variety of housing needs, the old house stood vacant and fell into disrepair until it was acquired in 1978 by the Harnett County Historical Society Foundation. The exterior of the house was restored to look as it had at the turn of the century. The interior was restored and up-fitted to serve as a meeting place for various groups and organizations in the community.
The J. A. Campbell House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is thought to be the only house to have been built by a college founder and president, and to have been the birthplace of two other college presidents. Carlyle became president of Meredith College in 1939 and retired in 1966. Under Leslie Campbell's stewardship, Campbell Junior College grew into a fully accredited four-year institution before he retired in 1967 at age 75.
Restored by the Harnett County Historical Society Foundation, the J. A. Campbell House is owned and maintained by that organization. The house is available at a reasonable fee to groups and individuals, and it is regularly used for events ranging from professional meetings to wedding receptions. Once again the walls of the old house ring with the music, laughter, and lively conversation so characteristic of the family that first occupied it.
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