1930-1940: Growth Through Adversity

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p>As our nation struggled through the Great Depression, Fort Worth was not without its economic struggles, but the YMCA continued to offer a variety of programs to its community.  Easily, the most popular were the growing sports programs, from swimming to boxing to fencing.  Newsletters from the 30’s detail the popularity of the sports programs, but also mention the ways the YMCA tried to help the unemployed with Job Seekers clubs and also how the YMCA worked with high school age youth in growing Hi-Y programs.

Later in the decade, the Poly Y was opened in 1937. That is considered the first “suburban” branch, and later became what is today known as the Eastside YMCA.  Also, in 1939, local African-American banker William McDonald donated the former Como Hotel to the YMCA which became known as the McDonald YMCA.  The branch resided at the old hotel for years until a newer facility was built on Berry Street at the top of the “hill”, which is where the branch continues to be today.

Check back in for more pictures soon!


Swimming: A YMCA Legacy

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Swimming and aquatics programs have always been a major part of the YMCA’s work and heritage. In Fort Worth, the indoor pool at the Downtown YMCA was one of the few places residents could swim year-round and many members enjoyed taking advantage of it. In fact, here’s what a newsletter from September, 1933 said about the YMCA pool:

“The Y is one of the very few places where you can swim in pure filtered water 12 months of every year. “

The picture below was taken from the same newsletter, showing young men ready for a splash in the pool.

Early swim class at Downtown YMCA

YMCA 1933 Swim Class

Eastside YMCA Splash

2009 Splash Day at Eastside YMCA

Today, outdoor swimming is available in 9 YMCA pools during the summer months.  In addition, 5 indoor pools also provide year-round programming, including the original indoor pool at the Downtown YMCA as well as a newer lap pool seen at street level.  The YMCA also now offers two outdoor family water parks for its members at the Ryan Family YMCA and the Northpark YMCA.

Ryan Family YMCA Waterpark


YMCA Sports – A popular pastime

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YMCA Newsletter heading from 1930s

In the 1930’s, the Fort Worth YMCA engaged many young men in sports of all types.  Newsletters from 1933-1934 detail some of those classes in the photos below. 1930 Exercise class at YMCA

Other popular sports included fencing and boxing.

Fort Worth YMCA Fencing Team

1933 Boxing Class at YMCA


Welcome to the blog celebrating the 120-year history of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth. In this blog, we will have information for those interested in history, Fort Worth or the YMCA – month by month, decade by decade.

Were you a YMCA member or participant years ago? Do you remember camp outs at Camp Carter or swimming at the Downtown Y? We invite you to share your YMCA memories in this blog – let us know what you remember or what you enjoy most now as a member of the YMCA. We can’t wait to hear from you!