Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Downtown YMCA in 1904

The Erie Downtown YMCA was much smaller than the current one on 10th and Peach St. This old picture was taken around 1903. The Y.M.C.A. was on the same corner, but with a much smaller footprint, and it had a small area where kids could play in the grass just west of the building at 31 West 10th Street.

The stately house on the left, at 23 West 10th St., was used by Dr. Thomas H. Gray as his office from 1873 until about 1904. Dr. Gray was born in Erie Co., PA in 1841. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1871 and married Anna Kelso the following year. This Richardsonian Romanesque house was later used for business purposes, and was home of the New Willard Hotel and Cafeteria in 1922. It was demolished in 1924 to make way for the Erie Lighting Company Building.

The building to the right of the YMCA, on Peach Street, was attached to the YMCA and housed the pool and the gymnasium. This was where Johnny Weissmuller swam in 1915. James C. Ainsworth (as in Ainsworth Field) was the director of the YMCA for many years.

Find more facts and old pictures of Erie PA at Old Time Erie

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