The Capital Bicycle Club and Its Camera Club

The Capital Bicycle Club, established in 1884 during the high-wheel bicycle craze, was popular through the turn of the century. It organized riding excursions and gatherings for its mostly prominent, young, male members, and was active, as were other clubs, in advancing improved road conditions.

Bicycling helped forge friendships among men with similar interests. Some members were also serious enthusiasts of photography. These amateurs formed the Camera Club within the Capital Bicycle Club. The Camera Club sponsored a local photography exhibit in 1895 and in 1896 sponsored the Washington Salon to show art photography.

The Capital Bicycle Club building
Second Captain Clarence G. Allen The Capital Bicycle Club building at 409 Fifteenth Street Northwest, completed in 1889, reflected the wealth of its members, who often posed there for group photographs before leaving on excursions. Some, like Second Captain Clarence G. Allen, had portrait photographs taken with their cameras. Courtesy Washingtoniana Collection, Martin Luther King Memorial Library, D.C. Public Library

group photograph before leaving on an excursion

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