Gillim House

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Photo of the Gillim House, used by the Campbell Club. Photo by AP Imagery

Quick Facts

  • Address: 517, now 521 Frederica St
  • Built: About 1880
  • Current Use: The Campbell Club


The Campbell Club constructed ca 1880 is a three-story brick building, with a central, three-story, mansard-roofed tower. A one-story, Ionic-columned portico attached to the tower leads to the front entranceway to the bay window. This bay window has round brick hoods over each window opening. A bracketed sheet-metal cornice runs along the top of the bay window. The recessed wing of the house has a one-story porch supported by Corinthian columns. All of the second story windows have segmental-arched brick hoods. A line of brick patterning delineates the second and third stories of the tower. The third story of the tower has a pair of segmental-arched windows on two sides. The concave mansard roof is constructed of standing seam metal. Dormer windows with elaborate cornices pierce the mansard roofs of the main building and the tower. A one story wing was added in the 1950's for rest room facilities.


The Campbell Club building is a surviving example of the impressive Victorian domestic architecture that once dominated Frederica Street, one of Owensboro's leading residential area in the late nineteenth century. Most of these late Victorian structures have been replaced by twentieth century commercial buildings. The Campbell Club is an outstanding example of Second Empire architecture and one of the most important late Victorian structures in Owensboro. The elegant home was built by John S. Woolfolk, incorporator of the Peoples' Wharf-Boat and Transfer Company and sold a few years later to C.D. Jackson, one of the wealthiest men in Owensboro. Jackson was a distant relative of President Andrew Jackson and owned considerable land throughout the county. When he died his heirs sold it to a wealthy distiller who kept it only a few years before selling it to attorney J. D. Powers. Powers was an officer of the Peoples' Wharf-Boat and a state legislature. Dr. W. F. Gillim owned it for 31 years and the house is commonly remembered as the Gillim House. It became a boarding house for the upper class in the early 30's and many of its residents are now leading citizens of the community. In 1959 it was converted to a private dining club, which saved it from being razed and replaced with a commercial building. Frederica St. was once lined with majestic homes from 4th St. to Griffith Avenue. The Gillim House is the only one remaining north of 9th St. and one of three left north of Parrish Avenue.[1]

Recent Improvements


Tuck pointing, paint, new metal roof, bay window to right of entry rebuilt, ramp added, outside lights are reproductions similar to originals with flickering bulbs, new iron railings, new canopy. The cupola was entirely rebuilt.


About 20 years ago the large entry mural was done by C. David Jones, who met and became a friend of Bill Hughes, a Campbell Club board member, at Western, and is now at Savannah College in Savannah, Georgia. It is Neo-Classical in style with a little Daviess County symbolism. Interesting to study and interpret. The back hallway mural was completed recently. The second and third floors have been completely remodeled and include a large party room and a game room with card tables and flat-screen television. All this has been done with the exception of the entry mural, in the last year or year and a half.[2]


  1. Nomination Form, National Register of Historic Places, 3/28/1986
  2. Campbell Club, 5/2006