Architect David Campbell's historic Hopkinton home up for sale
Campbell House is located at 661 Jewett Roard in Hopkinton. (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
The interior of the American Craft Council. (Courtesy of the American Craft Council)
Architect David Campbell in an undeated photo. (courtesy)
A piece of Hopkinton’s history is up for sale at just less than $150,000.
The foreclosed home at 661 Jewett Road may look in disrepair now, but when it was built about 1953, it served as a hub of the burgeoning American craft movement.
One of the movement’s pioneers, architect David Campbell, designed the house and lived there with his family until his death in 1963.
In that era, Campbell helped to direct and develop the crafting community on a local and national scale. He was both director of the American Craft Council in New York and executive director of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.
Campbell began as the League’s third executive director in 1938 and created the jury system used to admit new members. He also developed a network of potters, glass blowers and woodworkers in the Concord area by luring established craftsmen, such as potters Ed and Mary Scheier and Vivika and Otto Heino, to the state.
“He literally drove around . . . and looked for craftsmen,” said Susie Lowe-Stockwell, League of New Hampshire Craftsmen executive director.
Campbell was also a lure himself for beginners seeking jobs and a mentor.
“He would help these craftspeople get started. He would buy them their equipment, give them jobs at the League, even give them a place to live,” said his daughter Patricia Campbell, 70, who now lives in Maine. “Some came to live with us until they could get going.”
Wood and leather worker Gordon Keeler was one of them. In 1952, when Keeler was 25 years old, he tracked Campbell down. Campbell gave him a job at the League and a place to live with him and his family in Hopkinton.
“I never saw a time when he was too busy to listen to anyone,” Keeler, who has since passed away, told the Monitor in 2006. “He was a man of tremendous depth and intelligence and heart.”
Campbell was born in 1908 and trained in design at Harvard. His interest in architecture was strongly linked to his support of crafts.
Campbell designed the first Museum of Contemporary Crafts – now the Museum of Arts and Design – in New York City, and in 1963, he won an award from the American Institute of Architects for promoting partnerships between craftsmen and architects, according to the American Craft Council website.
In New Hampshire, Campbell encouraged the owners of his homes to furnish them with works by local studio craftsmen, and many of the homes he designed were for craftsmen friends.
Spanning across Hopkinton, Henniker and Dunbarton, roughly 20 homes form a network linked by a design style centered on landscape, expansive windows, clean lines and simple exteriors.
“The idea was to build these houses not in competition with nature, but that blended in,” Shelley Westenberg said. Campbell designed a home in Dunbarton for her father, master potter Gerry Williams, who got his start sweeping floors at the League after he sought out Campbell in 1949.
“He had strong attachments to his family,” Williams told the Monitor in 2006. “I assume that he looked on all of us as part of his family as well.”
For 30 years, Thomas Richards lived in a Hopkinton home Campbell designed for ceramic artists Otto and Vivika Heino. The house on Briar Hill Road faces away from the street and several picture windows frame views of the woods and a brook.
“It was just the simplicity of it,” Richards said. “Trying to construct something that would fit into the landscape and be part of the landscape.”
Campbell’s home on Jewett Road also was designed with nature in mind. A wall of windows lines the living space upstairs that faces the backyard.
“It is an architect’s house,” said Patricia Campbell, who was 10 years old when the family moved in.
The three bedrooms downstairs accommodated Patricia Campbell and her older and younger sisters.
“We enjoyed the views of the mountains. It was in the woods at the time. There were enormous pine trees all around it” she said. Many of the trees have since been cut down and a driveway has been carved into the land between the home and the garage, she said.
“Landscaping was very important to all of his houses. Right now it’s embarrassing to go by there,” she said. “The house doesn’t look anything like what it was.”
Until about 2000, Campbell’s wife, Flora, lived in the home.
Most recently, it was owned by Manchester attorney David Slawsky, who lived there for more than 10 years.
“It’s a really unique home,” he said. “It has a very warm feeling.”
But, the uniqueness came at a price. The home went into foreclosure this year, he said, because the upkeep was too expensive. “It’s such a unique house that when a window breaks, you can’t just go to the Home Depot,” he said. “So many things needed to be done to update it . . . it became so impossibly expensive to maintain.”
Patricia Campbell hopes that someone will invest to restore the property. And she is offering original photos to anyone who does.
“It was a beautiful place to grow up,” she said. “For that price, somebody is going to get a great house.”
(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)