About The Cupola Club

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History of Gillum House

In 1959, Marshall Burlew and Sonny Holder hatched the idea to start a private dinner club in Owensboro, modeled after the Pendennis Club in Louisville. Over the next 6 decades the Campbell Club operated until its closure in 2017.

After revitalizing the historic Callas Sweet Shop over a period of 10 years by opening Bill’s Restaurant in 2011, it was time for a new project for Chef Bill Hughes. Bill’s Restaurant had been ranked as high as 4th best restaurant in the state, and 521 Frederica Street was for sale. This was a property Bill knew well.

In 1989, at the age of 24, Bill Hughes moved to Owensboro to assume the position of Executive Chef and General Manager of the Campbell Club. Between 1989-1998, he was able to grow the club’s membership from 340 to 562.

It will be the mission of The Cupola Club to operate in a “members first” mentality. From it’s inception, the club as been a place to conduct business and make memories. In this, The Cupola Club will shine.

The History

The Gillim House constructed ca 1880 is a three-story brick building, with a central, three-story, mansard-roofed tower. A one-story, Ionic-columned portico attached to the tower leads to the front entranceway to the bay window. This bay window has round brick hoods over each window opening. A bracketed sheet-metal cornice runs along the top of the bay window. The recessed wing of the house has a one-story porch supported by Corinthian columns. All of the second story windows have segmental-arched brick hoods. A line of brick patterning delineates the second and third stories of the tower. The third story of the tower has a pair of segmental-arched windows on two sides. The concave mansard roof is constructed of standing seam metal. Dormer windows with elaborate cornices pierce the mansard roofs of the main building and the tower. A one-story wing was added in the 1950's for rest room facilities.

The Gillim House is a surviving example of the impressive Victorian domestic architecture that once dominated Frederica Street, one of Owensboro's leading residential areas in the late nineteenth century. Most of these late Victorian structures have been replaced by twentieth century commercial buildings. The Gillim House is an outstanding example of Second Empire architecture and one of the most important late Victorian structures in Owensboro. The elegant home was built by John S. Woolfolk, incorporator of the Peoples' Wharf-Boat and Transfer Company and sold a few years later to C.D. Jackson, one of the wealthiest men in Owensboro. Jackson was a distant relative of President Andrew Jackson and owned considerable land throughout the county. When he died his heirs sold it to a wealthy distiller who kept it only a few years before selling it to attorney J. D. Powers. Powers was an officer of the Peoples' Wharf-Boat and a state legislature.

Dr. W. F. Gillim owned it for 31 years and the house is commonly remembered as the Gillim House. It became a boarding house for the upper class in the early 30's and many of its residents are now leading citizens of the community. In 1959 it was converted to a private dining club, The Campbell Club, which saved it from being razed and replaced with a commercial building. Frederica St. was once lined with majestic homes from 4th St. to Griffith Avenue. The Gillim House is the only one remaining north of 9th St. and one of three left north of Parrish Avenue.

References
1. Nomination Form, National Register of Historic Places, 3/28/1986
2. Campbell Club, 5/2006

The Present

In 1959, Marshall Burlew and Sonny Holder hatched the idea to start a private dinner club in Owensboro, modeled after the Pendennis Club in Louisville. Over the next 6 decades the Campbell Club operated until its closure in 2017.

After revitalizing the historic Callas Sweet Shop over a period of 10 years by opening Bill’s Restaurant in 2011, it was time for a new project for Chef Bill Hughes. Bill’s Restaurant had been ranked as high as 4th best restaurant in the state, and 521 Frederica Street was for sale. This was a property Bill knew well.

In 1989, at the age of 24, Bill Hughes moved to Owensboro to assume the position of Executive Chef and General Manager of the Campbell Club. Between 1989-1998, he was able to grow the club’s membership from 340 to 562. It will be the mission of The Cupola Club to operate in a “members first” mentality. From its inception, the club has been a place to conduct business and make memories. In this, The Cupola Club will shine.

The People

The Chefs at the Cupola Club are an integrated team of friends and culinary professionals that use their experience and background to bring the best food to our guests and members.

Executive Chef Bill Hughes

Bill Hughes grew up in Leitchfield, Kentucky, in a home where he saw first-hand how food brought people together when enjoyed around the dinner table. That magical combination of a good meal with loved ones paired with conversation stayed with him as he later graduated from Centre College in Danville and the prestigious Johnson & Wales in Charleston, South Carolina, with a degree in Culinary Arts.

Hughes honed his skills over the next couple of years and was part owner of a restaurant in beautiful Charleston called the Primrose House. He came to Owensboro in 1989 to take over as general manager and chef at the Campbell Club, a long-time private dinner club, located on Frederica Street. Then, suddenly, he took a hiatus from the food industry to work as a financial advisor. After 14 years with Edward Jones, those childhood memories of his mother’s cooking eventually drew him back to open his own place, Bill’s Restaurant, emphasizing local and seasonal ingredients.

Hughes has now come full circle. He and his wife, Cathy, purchased the vacant Gillim House in October 2021 with the dream of opening a new vision for a private club. On March 1, 2022, The Cupola Club was brought to life.

Samm Jackson

Samm Jackson, a Chef whose passion and heart for good food is tactile sense. While learning from esteemed international Chefs and working as the Executive Sous Chef at the Farmer and Frenchman, Chef Jackson honed his skill as recognized culinary leader in the tristate, as well carving a signature style rooted both in traditional cuisine, as well as a firm grasp on modern food trends that lend to passion led menu application and great food.

Our Rooms
Welcome to The Cupola Club
The Front Room
Available for semi-private dining. Offers a more elegant dining environment.
The Middle Room
Available for private events.
The Oak Room
A more laid back, casual vibe featuring our wall of heads by artist C. David Jones.
The Bar
The Bar
Featuring a wall of heads of past Campbell Club Presidents, by artist C. David Jones.
The President's Room
A more laid back, casual vibe featuring our wall of heads by artist C. David Jones.
The Front Parlor
This is another elegant room featuring a fireplace and bay window.
FAQs
Do I have to be a member?

Yes, in order to attend our club, you must be a member or the guest of a member.

What kind of events can be booked?

Anything from weddings and rehearsal dinners to business meetings or even yoga classes, we offer a welcoming event space.

Do you serve alcohol?

Yes! We have a large bar area that serves up all of your favorite beverages.

Can I bring a guest?

Yes, you are allowed to bring guests.

What perks come with membership?

We offer special events, specialty foods & wine on a retail basis, and room rentals at no cost.

Do I need to book in advance?

We recommend making reservations which are taken only by calling the club.

Want to Join the Club?
Completed applications can be emailed to Office@thecupolaclub.com
Download Application