The YMCA of Columbia is commemorated its 100th year at 1420 Sumter Street in 2011. A series of events celebrated the impact the Y has made on the community. The first of these is the hanging of a collection of photographs and memorabilia that archive the history of the YMCA of Columbia. Throughout 2011, the Y will bridged the past to the future and welcomed the community to join in the celebrations.
The YMCA of Columbia opened in 1854 as one of the first YMCAs in the United States. By 1907, the YMCA of Columbia was beginning to outgrow the current space on the corner of Main and Lady streets. Mrs. James Woodrow, aunt of Woodrow Wilson and widow of former South Carolina College (now University of South Carolina) president James Woodrow, donated the property on Sumter Street. On June 1, 1911, Woodrow Wilson, then Governor of New Jersey and soon to be President of the United States, laid the cornerstone of the seven-story building now referred to as the Downtown YMCA. Many of the items displayed in the Downtown YMCA were discovered in the cornerstone laid by Woodrow Wilson.
Through the years the YMCA of Columbia has remained true to its purpose of service to mankind, while engaging the community in a manner reflective of the ever-changing culture. The Y isn’t just the name on the building. It’s a spirit, a movement and a cause. Let’s join together in the same way as we position for another century of service to build a bigger, bolder and better Y for future generations.