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YMCA Building (no longer standing), 526 South Main Street

Time Capsule-Historic Images and Recollections ()


In 1881 the YMCA program was initially established in Carthage. At the time, the organization had no permanent home, spending a decade rotating amongst volunteer spaces.

This local chapter was officially organized on June 4, 1890 with a constitution and board of directors. They rented the upstairs rooms at the R.H. Rose Mercantile Company’s building at the northwest corner of the square and stayed until forced to move in 1903. (See entry for Damon Building, 101 East 3rd Street for further information on this building.)

To address the need for a physical space for the organization, on March 26, 1907 G. A. Cassil transferred his ownership of the 75 x 138-foot lot at corner of Main and Sixth to eight different men representing the churches of the city to be held in trust for the association.

In 1909 a cornerstone ceremony was held at the location and building commenced. The cost of the building was $40,000.

The YMCA opening ceremonies were held on March 16, 1911. At the time of opening it had the largest swimming pool of any YMCA in the state of Missouri, two bowling alleys, several reading rooms, a large gymnasium (said to be “far superior to that of the Kansas university, the Kansas City association and in fact any in many of the large cities.”), a circular running track, kitchen, dormitory rooms, and space for a rooftop garden.

Support and use dwindled during the 1960’s and it closed permanently in 1968. The building was razed and turned into a parking lot in 1976. In 1994 a new Carthage YMCA, Fair Acres Family YMCA, was opened at 2600 South Grand Avenue. It is the home of the "Carthage Hall of Heroes" exhibit that includes tributes to many community and sports figures including G. A. Cassil who donated the land for the original YMCA.

Image from Carthage City Directory, 1917.
Postcard, circa 1910-15, on display in the 175th Anniversary of Carthage 2017 Exhibit (through October) at the Powers Museum.
Digitization on CLIO is part of Powers Museum's "Digital Carthage" project in honor of Carthage's 175th Anniversary Celebration (March 28, 2017 through March 27, 2018).
Funding for the Walking in the Wards tour was made possible by a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Spring 2017.


Information from Powers Museum and Jasper County Records Center vertical files. Quotation comes from March 16, 1911 edition of the Carthage Press.

526 South Main St
Carthage, Missouri 64836
  • Sports History
This location was created on 2017-09-09 by Cheyenne Flotree, Powers Museum.   It was last updated on 2017-10-12 by Michele Hansford, Powers Museum.

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