125 Years of History

Ottumwa YMCA 1887The Ottumwa YMCA was organized in the home of T.D. Foster July 18, 1887. The purpose of the association was stated as follows: “The basic objective of the Ottumwa YMCA is to aid in the development of Christian standards of living, conduct, and life purpose in its members and constituency.”
     Officers for the first YMCA board, elected August 26, 1887 were: T.D. Foster, president; T.J. Hall, vice president; S.L. Vest, recording secretary; and Dr. N. McKecknie, treasurer.
     The YMCA has had four homes since it’s establishment in Ottumwa. The first YMCA was located in the former Sax building at the corner of Main and Green streets. The first structure built as a YMCA was at the corner of Washington and Second streets, constructed in 1891 for $30,000. In 1902 a gymnasium, swimming pool and dormitories were added, bringing the value to $81,000.
     Ottumwa YMCA 1921The YMCA at Green and Second street was built in 1920-21 at a cost of $361,000, following a fire at their previous location where the YWCA was later built. This was more than the cost of any YMCA building in the state up to that time.
     Ottumwa YMCA 1970The YMCA at it’s current location of 611 North Hancock st. was built in the fall of 1971 for $1.2 million. The YMCA added an addition of a new gymnasium and early childhood development center in 1991-92. Later in 2003 the YMCA built its 2700 square foot fitness studio bringing the YMCA to it’s current foot print of 35,100 square foot facility.