An exciting find

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During renovation of the Downtown YMCA last year, craftsman-style tiles were salvaged from an original fireplace.  It wasn’t until the tiles were carefully extracted and cleaned that an inscription was seen on the back that said Batchelder.  By researching this name, we discovered that Ernest Batchelder was a California artist who producing hand molded tiles beginning in 1909.  His tiles, which typically include subject such as animals, birds, flowers, Mayan and Medieval motifs, were hugely popular and by the 1920s, could be found in homes and buildings across the  United States.

How his tiles came to be installed in the Downtown YMCA when it was built in 1924 is unknown. Some of the tiles that were salvaged are pictured below.

Tile salvaged from Downtown YMCA

One of the salvaged tiles

tiles in ivy design

Salvaged tiles in ivy design

Legacy of the Downtown YMCA in Fort Worth

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The Amon G. Carter, Jr. Downtown YMCA, built in 1924 and opened for business in 1925, holds many memories for Fort Worth residents.  What do you remember? Did you swim in the nude? (When the YMCA was just for boys & men, swimming in the nude was the accepted custom!)  Did you attend boxing classes or see any matches? Do you remember coming down for a day on a casino pa natet Saturday and going to get a 15 cent hamburger?

We”ve heard lots of stories from long-term members who can remember as far back as the early 1940s.  We hope to share some of those memories with you soon. Share with us your memories, too.  We”d love to hear them!

The 1920s

1920-1930: A decade of new growth


p>In  the 1920’s YMCA officials realized the temporary spaces they had been using were not adequate for the programs and individuals being served in Fort Worth.  A capital campaign was begun, with the goal of raising $350,000 in 35 days.

The Fundraising Clock

Clock indicates Funds Raised

Soon, plans were made to build a new building in Fort Worth, and the construction began in 1924.  The cornerstone was laid at an official ceremony presided by Amon G. Carter, Sr. for the building that would become the Downtown YMCA, and later be named after his son.

YMCA Cornerstone Ceremony, 1924

Amon G. Carter, Sr. speaks at the cornerstone laying in 1924

That building is the same one still in use by the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Downtown YMCA. In 2009, the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Downtown YMCA held a Grand Re-Opening to celebrate a nearly $3 million renovation.

2009 Remodel - DT

The Remodeled Downtown YMCA Still Has the Original Walking Track

DT y Banta 2009

Families enjoy the newly remodeled Downtown YMCA

Now, both families and working professionals from Fort Worth’s business core enjoy the state-of-the-art equipment juxtaposed with historical architectural details of the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Downtown YMCA’s  1924 building.

A far cry from the stately activities held in the 20s in the lobby of the newly built Downtown YMCA.

Checkers, 1920s

Gentlemen enjoy a relaxing game of checkers at the Downtown 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!