The Downtown YMCA has been meeting its community's needs for close to 125 years. For its first 40 years, the Downtown YMCA held programs in churches and libraries. When its current building on Locust Street was dedicated in 1926, it is said that the key was thrown into the Mississippi River so that the doors would never close. And the doors have stood open for a great influx of immigrants after the Industrial Revolution, for hundreds of thousands of service personnel during World War II and the Korean War, and for generations of residents and downtown employees.
This 10-story building was one of the largest YMCAs when built and consisted of six floors of dormitories, one floor of classrooms, two gymnasiums, six handball courts, a swimming pool, men’s and boy’s locker rooms, a Business Men’s Club with turkish bath equipment, a barber shop, tailor shop, cafeteria, private dining and club rooms, lounges, libraries, assembly halls and separate social halls for younger and older boys. The cafeteria and dormitories were closed in 1974 and the upper seven floors were sold and converted to retirement housing in 1977.