Marcellus Joslyn, bowling and dancing

Special to The CambrianJuly 19, 2013 

What is the history of the Cambria Joslyn Adult Recreation Center? When did it start? Who is Joslyn?

According to the book “The Joslyn Story,” by Remy Hudson and Edward Currivan (1986), the Cambria Joslyn Center was constructed in 1967, replacing a previous structure built in 1949 by the Lions Club.

The prominent lawn bowling area with an Astro-Turf-like surface was completed the following year in 1968.

The Marcellus L. Joslyn Foundation, founded in 1960, made this possible along with sponsorship from the Lions Club and County of San Luis Obispo.

Mr. Joslyn was founder and principal stockholder in his manufacturing company and, upon retiring, settled in Southern California, becoming an avid lawn bowler and philanthropist. His name now graces many lawn bowling clubs as well as adult centers in California.

The Joslyn Center was established as an independent corporation in 1985. The original Joslyn Center was replaced by the existing structure 1991.

In addition to the Cambria Lawn Bowling Club and Lions Club of Cambria, there are 13 other clubs associated with the Joslyn Recreation Center. The Cambria Couples Dance Club is one of these clubs.

It is uncertain when the dance club was started, but club treasurer records show the club has been active since 1983. The Cambria Couples Dance Club was formed to provide opportunities for couples who are members of the Joslyn Recreation Center to enjoy the social and recreational experience available in ballroom dancing. The large and smooth hardwood dance floor and well-equipped kitchen at the Joslyn Center makes an ideal setting for the dance club activities.

The original goal of the dance club was to hold at least one third of the twice-a-month dances with live music. As it is, almost all dances are live music. The Brett Mitchell Trio has been playing for the dance club since Bob Richardson passed.

Singer/pianist and composer Brett Mitchell was playing with Richardson at that time and subsequently his trio has continued the live music. Mitchell has recorded nine CDs and performed on many others. Included in the group is Cambria bass guitar player Mike Schimberg. 

Schimberg bought his lot in Cambria and built his house on it in the 1980s. He plays for many of the local musical theatre events, including the Pinedorado Follies. Rounding out the trio, drummer Dean Giles has recorded and worked with many groups, such as Louie Ortega and Rob Rio and the Revolvers.

The Couples Dance Club holds an elaborate (black-tie-preferred) holiday dance in December each year. Members look forward to this most-attended event of the year with catering provided by Linn’s Restaurant the past several years. The regular dances held twice monthly are potluck affairs with a nominal dance entrance fee to pay for the dance band. Members bring a variety of potluck menu items that can include anything from chicken piccata to coconut macaroons. 

Club member Pat Burbank states, “Our potlucks are fantastic because we have so many good cooks in the club. Plus, it’s a social and dance club, so expert dance skills are not required.”

In the past, the club has had as many as 50 member couples but currently membership is around 40 couples. There is always a desire to introduce the club to new members and the club welcomes guests as prospective members.

The club is only open to couples who are members or willing to join the Joslyn Center. Typical of most ballroom dance clubs, the club is not open to single members.

Any couples that would like to attend a dance can contact President Sharkey Warrick at 927-0756 to receive an invitation to attend a dance as guests. 

The Cambria Couples Dance Club is just one of the diverse clubs that is available to Cambrians and residents of surrounding communities at the Joslyn Center. Mr. Joslyn facilitated this many years ago by his interest in lawn bowling and his desire to provide recreation facilities for community members in Southern California.

More information can be obtained about the Joslyn Center and its many clubs at the Joslyn offices. The offices are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday or refer to their website at

Paul Carlson has lived in Cambria since 2005 and is currently the treasurer of the Cambria Couples Dance Club. The Cambrian welcomes Viewpoints from nonprofit organizations explaining what they do and how readers can participate or otherwise help. The suggested length is 500-600 words. Email contributions to Questions? Call 927-8895.

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