The community of Campaign was impacted greatly in 1922 following the emergence of Rocky River Coal and Lumber Company. The company was formed to exploit timber and resources of Warren and Van Buren counties.
During that time, the Nashville and Atlantic Railroad was chartered to bring lumber and logs to the processing plant in Campaign. Approximately 17 miles of railroad lines were constructed to transport the logs. The late Everett Brock Sr. was the first engineer on the railroad and was later named general manager of the real estate holdings.
Elizabeth Foster, a graduate student from MTSU, has been working to preserve the rich history of Campaign, Rocky River and the company. She is doing a 300-hour internship through the public history program at MTSU.
“There is such a neat history in the Campaign community with a lot of it never documented,” said Foster. “I’m talking to people in the community, and trying to work up an exhibit for the fair, documenting how much this company shaped the community.”
On July 8, the Campaign Reunion will be held at the Campaign Community Center, with people from the area coming together to reminisce and attempt to preserve the area’s history.
McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley is making plans to attend in an effort to visit with residents, secure interviews with folks who have information to share and secure historical documents for archival purposes.
The next step in the process is “Return to Rocky River,” which will be held July 22 at the community center with Foster planning to bring all the information together. She also hopes residents who have historical items they want to share will bring them for documentation.
“I hope anyone who has information about the company or Campaign in general, any photos we can scan or other documents, will come and share for history’s sake,” said Foster. “We are creating a database for photos with the goal to preserve them for the future.”
When asked why she chose this project, she said, “I grew up in McMinnville and I have always loved history. I specifically enjoy researching projects that have not had a lot done on them. I hope to give back to the community I grew up in and preserve the history for future generations who want to know about Campaign.”