1960-1970: Changes & Growth

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As the 60s came to an end, the YMCA was in a growth mode in Fort Worth.  By 1967, the YMCA had 8 branches, including Camp Carter, the Central (later renamed Downtown) branch,  the Eastside branch,  and McDonald, Northeast, Eastside, Northwest, TCU-Southside and Westside branches.
In addition, the first woman to serve on the YMCA Metropolitan Board of Directors was Mrs. Baird Freeman who was elected to membership during this time period.

Fort Worth's TCU-Southside YMCA

TCU-Southside YMCA. Later became the Southwest YMCA and moved to Barwick Drive

The Eastside YMCA branch completed a new building in 1968 on Sandy Lane, which still houses the branch today.

Eastside YMCA, circa 1968

The Eastside YMCA when it was completed in 1968

The new branches were funded through a Capital Campaign held in the early 60s.

Fort Worth YMCA newsclip 60's

Fort Worth YMCA Newsclip - Success!

1960-1970: Changing & Growing

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YMCA National Council Bulletin 1966In the January 1966 YMCA National Council Bulletin, the story of integration of the Fort Worth YMCAs unfolds.  With the title, “Decade of Integration Progress Achieved ‘One Brick At A Time,'” the article details the process of combining the members and volunteers from the McDonald YMCA with the Central YMCA, and opening up all branches to all races by 1967.  The article states that the process began as early as 1940, when staff meetings began to integrate.  In 1947, YMCA club rooms were opened to all races, and in 1949, the YMCA’s Annual Meeting held at the Central Branch (later the Downtown YMCA) became interracial. The National Council Bulletin also states, “when [the annual meeting] moved from the Central branch gymnasium to the Texas Hotel in 1960, it was one of the first, perhaps the very first, integrated banquet held in a Fort Worth hotel.”  The YMCA’s general secretary, Paul S. Heyward, described how the board members of the Central Branch took turns escorting the McDonald YMCA board members upstairs to the banquet hall to make sure there were not any problems.  In 1965, the Metropolitan Board adopted a no discrimination policy and by 1967, all branches and programs were open to people of all races.

The Bulletin also mentions several Y leaders who were appointed to a committee by the mayor to help the city smooth its school desegregation.

Canoeing at Camp Carter

Canoeing at Camp Carter

1966 YMCA National Council Bulletin

Cover of 1966 YMCA National Council Bulletin

1960-1970: Changes Bring New Challenges


Fort Worth began the decade of the 60″s with a population in the city of 356,268 and 573,215 in Tarrant County.  Fort Worth was growing into the cultural city it is today with the addition of the Amon Carter Museum in 1961 and the newly established Van Cliburn International Piano Competition which held its first event in 1962.  As did our nation, Fort Worth also experienced many changes and challenges in the 60s.  In1963, before tragedy struck, President John F. Kennedy gave his last speech at Fort Worth”s Texas Hotel.  And as the Civil Rights Movement gained force in our country,  Fort Worth and the YMCA responded.

In the early 60s, YMCAs began beste online casino holding day camps for girls.  The first one was held at the Eastside YMCA. By the end of the decade, in 1967, all YMCA branches and programs were opened to all races as well.


Eastside YMCA Girls Day Camp Flyer

Devotional Time at Camp Carter

Devotional Time at Camp Carter

Also, the 1960″s brought growth to the YMCA as a Capital Campaign in 1965 for six new branch buildings passed the $1 million mark.

Capital Campaign in 1960s

Capital Campaign Reaches $1 Million

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!