130 Years of History in Siouxland

130 Years of History in Siouxland

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Our YMCA is celebrating 130 years of building a better us! And as one of the community’s largest and oldest non-profits, we are honoring 130 years of impact. Here’s a look at some milestones and how we’ve been shaping Siouxland through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility since 1886.

1884     YMCA organized by 90 members (August 14 at 318 Pearl Street, Sioux City)
1886     YMCA incorporated – for the purpose of “improvement of the spiritual, moral, mental, social and physical conditions of young men” (January 3)
1888     Largest Y in Iowa with 650 members
1889     Purchased site at 7th & Pierce Streets for $20,000
1893     New building dedicated and opened (February 5)
1890s     Prior to Central High’s gym being built, Sioux City high school basketball teams played at the Y
1902     Sioux City YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) founded
1904     Original YMCA building mortgage foreclosed; temporary quarters set-up before debts refinanced
1904     Sioux City YMCA Giants Basketball team finished second in national tournament held at World’s Fair
1905     YMCA Night School classes begin
1909     Sixteen piece YMCA Orchestra formed
1910     Summer Camp established at Crystal Lake, South Sioux City
1914     New ‘Businessmen Health’ classes begin
1940s Swim Time1919     Weekly newspaper – ‘the Y Astonisher’ – published
1923     YWCA facility opened at 619 6th Street (corner of 6th & Jackson, Sioux City)
1929     Permanent boys summer camp – Sioux Y Camp – opened
1931     Over 600 boys of unemployed parents given free membership privileges
1936     Golden Jubilee Week for 50th anniversary (March 25 – 31)
1936     First Free Swim School held (May)
1939     Facility modernized
1940s     185th ARW used YMCA during World War II for fitness as there were no gym or pool at the airbase
1944     Worldwide YMCA Centennial Week held (June)
1945     Morningside College night classes hosted at the Y
1947     Electricity installed at Sioux Y Camp
1952     Y participates in Missouri River flood relief efforts
19531955     Groundbreaking for new building at 8th & Nebraska Streets, Sioux City
1956     New Siouxland Y facility opened (November)
1956     Sixty-four year old first building at 7th & Pierce torn down
1957     YMCA featured on television for first time (January)
1970     Bus outreach program initiated
1972     Ten day basketball marathon held
1985     YMCA & YWCA merge
2008    State of the art new facility – the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA – opened at 601 Riverview Drive
2011     Membership reaches all-time high: 7,500 members (April)
2011     Temporarily relocated to Long Lines Family Rec Center during Missouri River flood (June)
2016     130th Anniversary celebrated with ‘130 Years of Impact’ (February 10)

Special thanks to Tom Munson and Sioux City Public Museum Archives for helping us gather historical photographs and dates.

Read more YMCA history.