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Benjamin Campbell, Campbell's founder, came west in 1846 with his family. His father, William, is noted for having surveyed the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, and for starting a sawmill near the town of Saratoga. In 1851, Benjamin Campbell bought 160 acres and planted it with hay and grain. This acreage later became Campbell's historical downtown core.

1878 In 1878, Mr. Campbell sold an acre of his land for $5 to the railroad and by 1887 the first subdivision was recorded west of the railroad from Campbell Avenue to the spot where the Water Tower Plaza now stands. The area became the center for shipping fruit, and within a short period of time, the drying grounds and canneries made Campbell an important rail center. The Campbell Fruit Growers' Union became a well known cooperative with its 17-acre drying yard.
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