Campbellsville Industries was formally incorporated in 1955. However, the company was in business many years before this, in the form of a work-study program for students attending a local Southern Baptist college called Campbellsville College (now Campbellsville University). The students could earn money towards their education by building lecterns, pews, Bible School craft supplies, bulletin boards, display racks, etc. Newspaper articles note that from 1955 to 1965, 412 students worked in some capacity at Campbellsville Industries.
Testimonials from previous students, described how they felt about the program. From an administrative vice president of a Tennessee college for teachers: "This job...really made it possible for me to continue in school." and from a Baptist pastor in Kentucky: "Without Campbellsville Industries...I would not have received a college education."
One day a church approached the college shop manager and asked if they could build a steeple for their church. The manager of the shop, Herb Keeton, decided that the ideal steeple should be lightweight, yet structurally strong, and be as maintenance-free as possible. He chose to fabricate the steeple with a structural aluminum angle framework and clad the steeple with an aluminum cladding, which had a durable finish. The church liked their steeple and soon other churches wanted a steeple that would not have to be continually maintained.
The steeple portion of the college business began to grow, earning Campbellsville Industries the nickname in the church industry as: "The Steeple People". Mr. Keeton, shortly thereafter, purchased the steeple portion of the business from the college. Mr. Keeton later sold the business to four employees: Jerry Bennett (President), Wilbur Cox, Kenny Bennett, and Roger Grant----who owned the company for 28 years. They in turn sold the company to the former owners, David England, Hasan El-Amouri, Tom May, and Rick Moon in 2008. At the beginning of 2022, Campbellsville Industries was handed down to three members of the Campbellsville team: Mark Sapp, Barry Parsons, and Jayme Shoopman.
Campbellsville, as we are known today in the industry, has over 20,500 installations located throughout the 50 United States, Canada, and at least 6 foreign countries. Our products include not only steeples, but also: balustrades, picket railing, baptistries, bulletin boards, clocks, cupolas, columns, cornices, crosses, domes, finials, louvers, towers, urns, and weathervanes. Thus, suggested by some, that we change the nickname of our company to better represent the variety of our offerings, to "The Steeple People.....PLUS!".
Our overview of the steeple and cupola industry across the United States, through our unique vantage point, has alerted us to a disturbing trend. We have long been concerned by the continuing loss of our American architectural heritage, as we see cupolas and clock towers disappear from some of our most historic architectural landmarks. These towers are being removed, usually because of deterioration and neglect. The cost of reproducing these towers in conventional materials and construction techniques, is preventing many county governments from replacing these towers once they have been removed. Campbellsville is currently working on replacing several historic projects, and we are actively helping local counties across that United States to restore the clock towers that have been removed years ago--projects such as the Milan County Courthouse in Cameron, TX.
The following note that was recently received from Mrs. Annette S. Lucksinger of Killeen, Texas, after seeing the clock tower we replicated on the Bell County Courthouse in Belton, TX, perhaps says it best:
"This was a great day for Bell County, and, while I'm not a native, the restoration of the courthouse has been a wonderful project. Now it looks the way it did when my grandmother graduated from the college in Belton in 1899!"
It is the many customers, like Mrs. Lucksinger, that have made Campbellsville successful in our specialty field. Their continued support has allowed Campbellsville to "shine" in what we do best, and in turn, has allowed countless children across our land to see the same wonderful, architectural exclamation marks, that their grandparents beheld years ago. We like to think at Campbellsville Industries, that we are making history.....TODAY!