Wabash Avenue YMCA

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Wabash Avenue YMCA
Wabash Avenue YMCA Chicago IL.jpg
Wabash Avenue YMCA is located in Illinois
Wabash Avenue YMCA
Location3763 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates41°49′33″N 87°37′29″W / 41.82583°N 87.62472°W / 41.82583; -87.62472Coordinates: 41°49′33″N 87°37′29″W / 41.82583°N 87.62472°W / 41.82583; -87.62472
ArchitectBerlin, Robert C.
MPSBlack Metropolis TR
NRHP reference #86001095 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 30, 1986
Designated CLSeptember 9, 1998

The Wabash Avenue YMCA is a Chicago Landmark located within the Chicago Landmark Black Metropolis-Bronzeville Historic District in the Douglas community area of Chicago, Illinois. This YMCA facility served as an important social center within the Black Metropolis area, and it also provided housing and job training for African Americans migrating into Chicago in the early 20th century. In 1915, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, one of the first groups specializing in African-American studies, was founded at the YMCA.[2]

The Black Metropolis area in Chicago, centered on the area of 35th Street and State Street, was a city within a city developed by the black community as an alternative to the restrictions, exploitations, and indifference of the city at large. The Wabash Avenue YMCA was opened in 1914, supported by Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company at the time. Rosenwald had a philanthropic interest in black-oriented causes. The YMCA provided job training programs such as auto repair and manual training. The Black Metropolis district thrived through the 1920s, but competition from white-owned businesses on 47th Street and the effects of the Great Depression led to the closure of many of the black-owned businesses.[3] Declining membership and deterioration of the building led to its closing in 1981. In the late 1990s, however, a nine-million dollar renovation project was undertaken by TRC to return to the building to its rightful condition.[4]

It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[1]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "Chicago Landmarks: Wabash Avenue YMCA". 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  3. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Submission: Black Metropolis Thematic Nomination". November 7, 1985. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  4. ^ http://www.trcwabash.org/history.html