1950-1960: Camp Carter YMCA is born

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After the end of World War II, Fort Worth welcomed back its servicemen and began to rebuild industries and families. For the Fort Worth YMCA, one of the most significant returning GIs was Amon G. Carter, Jr., son of the famous Fort Worth publisher and icon.  Upon his return to Fort Worth after serving time as a Prisoner of War in Poland, Amon G. Carter, Jr. determined to do something to help his community and to honor the YMCA worker who befriended him at the POW camp.  Together with his father, they began to make plans for a very different kind of camp – one that would provide countless memories for young boys all around Fort Worth.  In the late 40’s their dream of a residential camp, named Camp Carter, was begun.  By the 1950s, Camp Carter became a vital camping solution for thousands of young boys and men. According to a program from an Appreciation Event held in 1953, “more than 250 organizations and groups representing every creed and color, with an attendance exceeding 30,000 in 1953 alone, is evidence of a dream coming true” at Camp Carter.

The following video was produced by WBAP and distributed to schools in the area promoting Camp Carter during the 1950s. It’s a great piece of vintage video showing many original structures and actitivities at Camp Carter YMCA.

Camp Carter 1950 from Chris Connolly on Vimeo.


Camp Carter YMCA – The Early Days

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Y Staff hold a meeting at the lake at Camp Carter YMCA

YMCA Staff Meeting at Camp Carter

YMCA Staff Meeting at Camp Carter

Camp Carter was founded in 1948 and began to flourish with campers in the 1950s. We have a few pictures from those days depicting campers or staff at Camp Carter.  Several appreciation days were held for Amon Carter who, along with his son, Amon Carter, Jr., founded the camp with a gift of land and worked very hard to raise money and contribute to the development of programs and facilities at Camp Carter.

Amon Carter Sr. Founded Camp Carter YMCA

Amon Carter, Sr.

Amon Carter, Jr.

Amon Carter, Jr.

Dedication at Camp Carter YMCA

Dedication at Camp Carter YMCAPostcard for Camp Carter YMCA

This early postcard reads on the back, “Typical Scene at Amon Carter YMCA Camp on Meandering Road, Fort Worth, Texas.  Erected in 1949, the year of Fort Worth’s Centennial Pavillion, only twenty minutes from downtown Fort Worth, is the center of day camping, picnics and outings for YMCA, church, school and civic groups.  The gift of the Amon G. Carter Foundation, Camp Carter is operated by the Fort Worth YMCA.”

Another new Y forms

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In 1953, the TCU-Southside YMCA organized near the TCU campus.

TCU-Southside

TCU-Southside YMCA organized in 1953

The branch has since moved and is now known as the E. R. Van Zandt Southwest YMCA.

Current Southwest pic

Silver Sneakers Class at the E. R. Van Zandt Southwest YMCA this winterMembers enjoy a workout at the E. R. Van Zandt Southwest 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!