In August, 1854, little more than 10 years after the original YMCA was founded in London, England, the Springfield Young Men's Christian Association was founded with Col. E. M. Doty as the first President.
The YMCA was reorganized in the wake of the Civil War. The reorganization was effected at the High Street Methodist Church when Dr. Issac Kay was elected President. During this time, there being no public library the Association began a collection of books, accumulating over 1800 volumes.
The YMCA, being pressed for funds, relinquished it's collection of books. It's indebtedness, $300, was assumed by the Board of the new Public Library, organized in this year. This collection became the basis for the public library.
The Association begins plans for a new lot and building.
A four story building was constructed costing approximately $75,000, was constructed downtown near the corner of Main & Fountain streets.
In the February 19 blaze that consumed Black's Opera House , Mitchell Bros.' Plumbing, M.M. Kaufman's clothing store, the Fountain Square Theater, S.J. Lafferty & Sons' Hardware, J.H. Mulholland's jewelry store, and a blacksmith shop, the new YMCA was burned to the ground.
On January 20, the YMCA was again open with a gymnasium and pool. New programs were introduced, such as the Y Camera Club, Boys Work, Campers and Outers Club and Inquiry Club. A newspaper was published entitled "Men of Springfield." Basketball leagues and gymnasium classes were begun and a new physical director initiated the first organized athletic leagues in the high schools. This remains the home of the Central YMCA until 1939.
The first Boys Camp is held.
YMCA organizes first Boy Scout troop in Springfield.
Then General Secretary John L. Dorst begins a fund raising campaign for a new building. This is called off due to WWI and the YMCA is used as an examination and housing center for draftees.
The Board authorized the program and building committees to determine actual community needs. A campaign to raise money was approved. Camp Evergreen (located between Piqua & Sidney) is purchased.
New YMCA building opens at the corner of Limestone & North Streets on October 8, 1939. Also in 1939, the Center Street Y became an official branch of the Springfield YMCA. Springfield then had a metropolitan Y consisting of two branches and a camp.
The YMCA celebrated its centennial year. It reports 4,359 members.
Tennis and handball courts are erected at Camp Evergreen.
Planning for the Northridge Branch YMCA begins.
85 acres are purchased and added to Camp Evergreen.
The Y consists of the following branches: Camp Evergeen, Center Street, Central YMCA, Moorefield and Tecumseh.
The Y is reorganized. The Center Street Y became the Center Street Community Center.
The Y becomes the Springfield Family YMCA.
Please note this is NOT a complete history of our YMCA, merely an outline. Thanks to Wright State University for digitizing and making available online the archives and collections of Mr. Joseph C. Moorman and to Carrie Hawes for the use of the YMCA's copy of T.C. McMillen's book, "The Springfield, Ohio YMCA 1854-1954".