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The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London, England in 1844 in response to the increase of unhealthy social conditions within the city. The overarching goal of the YMCA was to create a place for people to gather in order to help develop a healthy mind, body, and spirit for all.


The first associations in North America were organized in 1851. Five years later, the YMCA came to Columbus, GA on November 18, 1856, making us the third oldest YMCA in the country. 


1856 - the YMCA is founded in Columbus

1857 - W.C. Hodges named President

1859 - Moved to 89 Broad Street; J.S. Pemberton (Inventor of the Coca-Cola formula) name President

1883 - Association was re-established after the Civil War; R.J. Clark named President

1888 - Activities moved to 11th & Broad Street; "Physical Department" was added to the organization's offerings.

1901 - the Ninth Street Branch YMCA is founded from a small prayer group

1907 - Fundraising & funding for the building of a permanent location begins; Philanthropist George Foster Peabody & his brothers, Roy Confield Peabody and Charles Jones Peabody, present proposal to YMCA President, J.A. Kirven

1903 - Dedication of the new building at 118 E. 11th Street

1907 - Construction of the 'Central YMCA' is completed

1907 - George Foster Peabody and his brothers, Royal Confield Peabody and Charles Jones Peabody, donated a sizable monetary gift that resulted in the first constructed and fully equipped Negro YMCA in the country. Later to be known as the A.J. McClung YMCA

1952 - Addition added to the 'Central YMCA'

1954 - the 'Central YMCA' addition was dedicated to 'the Glory of God' by Dr. Frederick S. Porter

1965 - a new YMCA facility was dedicated as the Brookhaven Boulevard Branch YMCA, formally known as the 'Ninth Street Branch'

1978 - the 'Brookhaven Boulevard Branch YMCA' was renamed the A.J. McClung YMCA in honor of the former director.

1983 - the D.A. Turner YMCA was named in honor of Don Abbott Turner

1986 - A.J. McClung YMCA became an independent branch

2001 - the A.J. McClung YMCA merged with the YMCAs of Metropolitan Columbus to become a branch under the one umbrella of the YMCA association

2010 - the John P. Thayer YMCA opens at 24 14th Street

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The original marble structure of the 'Central YMCA' located at 118 E. 11th St.

If you're interested in reading more about the history of the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, GA please click here.

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