A Look at the History of the Portland YMCA through Its Photograph Collection
curated by Margaret Finnan, Rosalie Gordon, & Natalie Poulson

The Downtown Y.M.C.A. Building: Architecture Through the Years

The Portland branch of the Y.M.C.A. was founded in 1868. The Association was housed in a temporary location in downtown Portland, until the organization purchased their first building in 1896. The Y.M.C.A. bought the property at the corner of S.W. Fourth and Yamhill in downtown Portland in the summer of 1896. There was a citywide marketing campaign to try and raise funds to purchase the property. In their brief publication Statement and Plans for the New Building, the Y.M.C.A. clearly appealed to the business community for support of their enterprise: “We do not desire to make this too burdensome upon the business community, but make it practical as well as useful, in the business point of view, such as will commend it to our business men, and the well wishes of the good people in our midst.” The funds were secured, and this became the central location of the Y.M.C.A. until 1909. In 1908 the Y.M.C.A. purchased the property at S.W. Sixth and Yamhill. A new building was constructed at this site and became the long-term home of the central branch of the Y.M.C.A. for many years. In 1925 the Y continued to expand by constructing an annex to the downtown building and acquiring an additional property at N.E. Thirty-Eight and Broadway to house the N.E. branch of the Y.M.C.A.

First building owned by the Y.M.C.A. at S.W. Fourth and Yamhill, 1898. This was the location of the Y from 1896-1909.

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