Campbell’s Nurseries and Garden Center, Inc. was founded in 1912 by Claude C. Campbell, then only 34 years old, at 28th and Vine Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. Claude, employed by the U.S. Government as a railway mail clerk, had a love of plants and grew a large garden in his backyard.
When neighbors and friends began asking whether he would sell his extra plants, Claude simply expanded a hobby he loved and added a little extra to his family’s income at the same time.
As the “hobby” grew, so did the family, and in 1926, Claude and his wife Maime moved to 3600 “J” Street where they had purchased an acre of land. The business grew, and the family was pressed into the work force when Claude was gone on trips with the railroad. It became a family joke that Claude grew the plants and then left them for the family to sell.
Robert E. (Bob) Campbell, Claude’s only son, attended the University of Nebraska where he earned his Master’s Degree in Plant Ecology. After serving in the Navy in W.W.II, Bob returned to Lincoln in 1946 with his new bride, Ellen (a California native) and took over active management of the company. He continued the main business of growing annuals, perennials, peonies, and vegetables and re-established a lawn maintenance service.
In 1950 the nursery was moved to nine acres of land at 2342 South 40th Street. The active growing of nursery stock began, and Bob, with the help of his wife, Ellen, initiated the move toward the full service nursery and garden centers you see today. With the expansion to a full-line garden center, along with the landscape and lawn maintenance business, Bob and Ellen soon found themselves unable to handle the work load with just “seasonal help” and began employing a full time staff.
As the business grew, the lawn maintenance department was closed, and in 1960, 80 acres south of Lincoln was purchased for growing of additional landscape nursery stock. Another 45 acres was added on Yankee Hill Road during the mid 1980s, and in 1989, 24 acres was purchased at 84th and Holdrege. An additional 96 acres adjacent to the Yankee Hill property was purchased for field production in 1996.
Today Campbell’s Nurseries has grown to include many aspects: landscape design, installation and maintenance, both residential and commercial; two full line garden centers at 2342 So. 40th and 5625 Pine Lake Road which offer gifts, home accessories and gardening supplies as well as nursery stock; and more than 200 acres of production””greenhouse, container and field. Dick, Mike, Doug, and Sandy now run the company. Dick oversees the Landscape and Maintenance Department and handles corporate matters; Doug supervises the Production Areas; Mike oversees the Garden Centers; and Sandy is in charge of the office.
In September of 2006 Ellen Campbell passed on and Bob followed in March of 2009 but they enjoyed watching their eleven grandchildren become involved with the business. Four grandchildren, Cassie Garrett, Cory Priefert, John Campbell and Andy Campbell, are full-time employees.