History of Westbridge Camera Club
Credits and Sources. The following short history of Westbridge Camera Club was written by Mary Bucher Fisher at the request of Laurie Butts, then editor of Snapshots, the club newsletter. It originally appeared in two segments in the Decmber 1997 and January 1998 issues of the newsletter. To prepare the history, Mary summarized 'Westbridge Camera Club Historical Information,' by Ruth Fridenstine, a 28-page single-spaced report dated 1976. At Mary's request, the following three long-time members verified the first draft and/or contributed information: Laurie Butts, Wally Cash, and Helen Morris. Statements in parentheses are Mary's editorial asides. This version for the website modified the format, etc. (Fridenstine is pronounced FRY den stine.)
Cambridge Camera Club began meeting on April 13, 1949.
(The thirteenth was a lucky day for us.) First Community Church, located on Cambridge Boulevard, began sponsoring a "special activity" group for amateur photographers at the church. The group chose the name Cambridge Camera Club after the street name of the church. Members were allowed to use the church darkroom. (Maybe that's why the group began, because the church had a darkroom? How fortunate that the church pastor recognized the value of photography as a source of inspiration and a way to bring people together. Presumably, eventually the group expanded to allow nonchurch members to join the camera club.)
Early activities included photographic outings, half-hour classes prior to meetings, guest speakers, slide shows by members, contests, and a May banquet dinner--which cost only $1 in 1950. (So, many of our present traditions started nearly 50 years ago. Incidentally, evidently at least one marriage came about of people who met in Cambridge Camera Club. Ruth Pickering joined in 1956, and Robert Fridenstine in 1957; he was elected president in April 1958, and the two married in July 1959. When Ruth wrote the club history in 1976, she had been active for more than 20 years.) The only current Westbridge member who belonged to Cambridge Camera Club is Helen Morris, whose late husband was also a member. [Helen has since passed away.]
West Side Camera Club was started about 1948 or 1949.
Our only current member who belonged to West Side, Wally Cash, does not know for sure, but he thinks that West Side Camera Club was founded around 1948 or 1949. He thinks he joined it in about 1948. It was called West Side because most members lived in that neighborhood and meetings were held on the west side.
Clubs Held First Joint Meeting March 29, 1960.
Ruth said that Cambridge Camera Club invited the West Side Camera Club to hold a joint meeting. Not long after, the two groups held a joint competition, which Ruth reported was judged by Wally Cash. Wally, however, doubts that he was the judge for that joint competition, although he remembers being a judge several times for Cambridge Camera Club. From 1960 to 1969, the clubs apparently held a joint annual competition that set the stage for their eventual merger.
Clubs Merge as Westbridge, September, 1969.
By 1969, Wally says, "Both clubs were experiencing a decline in membership. We decided to have one strong club rather than two weak ones." According to Ruth, "The two clubs got together and merged, combining the two names in the process." The merged group was stronger due to greater numbers of people participating. Pooling resources helped everyone--e.g., one set of officers instead of two, a central meeting place instead of two, and a single calendar of events--making better use of community resources for speakers and judges.
The following article appeared on page 5 of the Summer 1969 issue of Camera Club Bulletin, Vol. XVII, No. 4, published by the Camera Club Committee of the Photographic Society of America as a service to its member clubs. This newsletter was edited by none other than Wallace P. Cash of Hilliard. Wally says that West Side belonged to PSA "off and on until the merger," and believes that Westbridge joined PSA when the clubs merged.
"In this day of mergers and conglomerates, we find that it has spread to the camera clubs too. In Columbus, Ohio two active clubs have decided to merge into one larger and hopefully, more active club. The CAMBBRIDGE CAMERA CLUB and the WEST SIDE CAMERA CLUB will be one and the same in September under the new name "WEST-BRIDGE CAMERA CLUB.
Preceding the merger were some of the frills and circumstance that attends any big corporate merger. Discussion as to a new name, meeting day, election of officers and other mundane items had to be attended to.
As a way to hasten the merger, and also "Start the ball rolling", the year-end banquet in June was a joint affair with both clubs participating.
Incidentally, all of the new officers in this "new" club are PSA members. In all probability, the club will hold a free membership in the Society because of PSA membership held by many of the individual members."
Meeting Places of the Three Clubs.
Cambridge Camera Club met at First Community Church from 1949 to 1969. As for West Side Camera Club, Wally says that sometimes it met in members' homes. It also met in the basement of the Bolognone Shoe Repair Shop in the bottoms on West Broad Street, and later at a Great Western Shopping Center bank.
After the merger, Westbridge Camera Club continued to meet at First Community Church through 1972. Then we moved to the Grandview Municipal Building (1973-1981); then to Battelle Memorial Institute (1981-1985); then downtown to the old gas company building at 95 West Long Street (1985-1986); and finally to the Martin Janis Senior Center (1987 to present, with temporary meeting space during Janis renovation in 1996 at both the Arlington Senior Center and at Chemical Abstracts Service). (These meeting place dates were compiled by Laurie Butts.)
Update on Meeting Place. (Added 4/21/2004)
We no longer meet at the Janis Senior Center. After that center closed all of its evening programs, we moved to the Griswold Center for senior citizens, 777 High Street, in Worthington. According to the original permit issued to Westbridge Camera Club, our first meeting held there was on January 15, 2003.
Membership counts for the past decade (Added 7/13/2008)
- 1998/1999 = 48 members
- 2000 = 42
- 2001 = 45
- 2002 = 46
- 2003 = 49
- 2004 = 43
- 2005 = 56
- 2006 = 84
- 2007 = 86
- 2008 = 109