Campbell Friendship House

Campbell Friendship House was started in 1912 by the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of Northwest Indiana (M.E.) Conference to serve the huge numbers of immigrants from some fifty countries who were arriving to work in the burgeoning steel industry of the Calumet region of the state.  Workers and their families lacked homes, food, medical help, education, child care, and even a common language.  The WHMS appointed a deaconess, Miss Alma Schultz, who began work in December 1912 and soon had a day nursery, a sewing class, and a Sunday school underway.

The treasurer of the Northwest Conference WHMS, Abbie J. (Mrs. Myron) Campbell of South Bend, worked tirelessly to support the settlement work.  Over her objections, the mission was named the Campbell Friendship House.

First Methodist Church of Gary donated a site for a permanent home at 2244 Washington Street.  When the facility was outgrown, the work moved into this large brick building, erected in 1928 as a union hall, at 2100 Washington Street.  It was dedicated on October 30, 1939.  By then, the neighborhood and the House's ministry embraced a largely black population.

Early on, the Campbell House enjoyed the joint support of the Woman's Home Missionary Societies of both the Northwest and the North Indiana Conferences.  After 1919, the House was managed by the National Society.  The work later passed to the Gary Neighborhood Services, but the building is no longer used for social services and is now in serious decline.

GPS: 41 34 48.82, -87 20 16.67

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