The Gray/Campbell Farmstead is the oldest house in Springfield, Missouri. It is Located in Nathanael Greene Park at 2400 South Scenic on the southwest side of Springfield and is adjacent to the Botanical Center, Gardens and Arboretum at Close Memorial Park. In addition to the oldest house in Springfield (circa 1856) the Farmstead boasts a log kitchen, a two crib barn, and a log granary. The house was built by James Price Gray and was later sold to his brother-in law, John Polk Campbell, nephew and name-sake of the founder of the city of Springfield. The house was occupied by the Campbell family from 1865 until the 1950's and was moved to Nathanael Greene Park in 1984 when the Kansas and James River Expressways were constructed.
The Farmstead is open during the week for the 5th Grade Program (see below), and on the weekends April through October.
The Gray-Campbell Farmstead is a not-for-profit historical site dedicated to teaching younger generations about life in the 1860's.
5th graders from schools all over the Springfield and Greene County area get to come out during the week to see what it was like in the 1860's.
They start the day by going through orientation with a program coordinator. The coordinator gives a brief history of the farm and the rules. Then they go to our 1860's flag (which has only 34 stars) and say the Pledge of Allegiance. They then spilt into four groups and start the tour of the four buildings, spending about 30 minutes at each one.
The first group starts out by touring the house; they learn about the history and construction of the house and then look at artifacts from the original home site. They learn about rope beds and how to tighten them.
The next step is a tour of the Kitchen where they get to make cookies and wash their hands in a dry sink with lye soap and learn more about prairie living. Next stop: the Granary, where they learn about washing clothes and sawing wood. After they get wet washing Uncle John's work clothes they head to the barn. There they learn all about tools from the period and how they were sharpened back in the mid-late 1800's. Finally, they learn about the daily chore of making cornmeal and how to take the corn off of the cob.
After they have finished touring all four buildings they meet in the middle of the Farmstead and share the cornbread the 3rd group in the Kitchen has made. The kids then have a 30 minute lunch break after which they come back for a tour of the cemetery. Music and storytelling wraps up the adventure.
These are just a few of the things we do for the 5th graders that tour the Farmstead. It's alot of fun!
If you would like information about how your group can tour the Farmstead see the information in the sidebar of this article or visit the Gray/Campbell Farmstead Website.
If you would like more information on the 5th Grade Program, contact
The Lifestyle Exposition is always the 3rd weekend in September. There is lots of shade and educational fun for everyone. All four buildings are open for touring and there are a number of demonstrations. Activities usually include:
Watch a Video Slide Show of the 19th Annual 1860's Lifestyle Exposition
We have recently acquired a wonderful school house called the "Liberty School". It was built circa 1854, and is currently standing at Fellows Lake. We think this school house would be a wonderful addition to our Farmstead site, and a great addition to our program. We are starting the necessary steps to bring the Liberty School to Nathanael Greene Park but it will take work, time, and money.
There are a number of volunteer opportunities at the Gray/Campbell Farmstead throughout the year. These include helping at the Lifestyle Expo, assisting in the 5th Grade Program or signing up to help at one of the special events scheduled.
Here are some reasons why you should volunteer:
Friends of the Garden, Inc. PO Box 8566 Springfield, MO 65801 417.891.1515 | EMAIL
The Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center2400 S. Scenic AveSpringfield, MO 65807
The Friends of the Garden mission is to "inspire the discovery, understanding and appreciation of nature by creating and maintaining gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and by supporting the mission of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Park Board."