Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

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Richmond’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) was organized in 1887 out of concern for the welfare for the city’s growing number of working women. Inspired by the Social Gospel philosophy of the Progressive Era, the Richmond YWCA was the first branch of the association in the South. The stated object of the Richmond branch was to “promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of indigent and dependent women . . . and young women as must rely on their own exertions for a livelihood.” The effort produced impressive results. By 1914 the Richmond YWCA moved into a handsome new facility, a Renaissance-style structure designed by the local firm of Noland and Baskervill. Offering the city’s only swimming pool for women, the building also was equipped with a gymnasium, library, cafeteria, and bedrooms. The YWCA, located in the Fifth and Main Downtown Historic District, continues as a social service organization for women and their families.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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