Posts Tagged ‘First Presbyterian Church’

It’s Not Your Granddaddy’s YMCA

February 21, 2010
Oh what a difference between the YMCA of today and the one of my youth.  At about age 10,  on doctor’s orders, my mother signed me up  at the 11th St. Y in Columbus.  I didn’t know at the time that it had been built in 1903 with money donated by philanthropist George Foster Peabody and was the only marble YMCA in the United States.   I just remember that it was the dark building that smelled of disinfectant, where I played pool, exercised in my underwear, and swam nude in a small, indoor, white tile swimming pool.

Historic 1903 Central YMCA, 11th St., Columbus, GA

  That building had rooms for rent for young men upstairs.  When I was about 12, I delivered copies of the Columbus Ledger to a few of those rooms.  The Y was on my 2nd Avenue paper route.  The new building that opened this month on Broadway has no rooms for rent.  That practice stopped many years ago. 

YMCA, Broadway, Columbus, GA

  Swimming in the nude stopped years ago when girls were allowed to use the pool.  When I was a member, the Y only served guys.  Now it’s for everyone. The 1953 building on 11th featured a much larger and nicer pool, and over the years added things like treadmills and other sophisticated exercising machines.  But, just look at the new facility.  It has a lot of everything, and the place is open and full of light, and I didn’t smell any disinfectant while I was there. 





Construction is continuing on the outside of the new YMCA. When I asked why it opened before it was finished, I was told that the inside of the new building is finished and the old buildings were so dark and in need of repair that they got out as soon as possible. 

The First Presbyterian Church owns the old buildings, and, according to the church’s pastor Dr. Charles Hasty,  while the church will keep the historic 1903 building, it plans to eventually demolish the 1953 addition.  The 1903 building is still structurally sound, and there are plans to renonvate and use it in some way, but he says it would not be cost effective to try to use the 1953 addition.