Inviting Growth

By Carlee Harbaugh, Curator, Historical Society of Frederick County | Photography by Turner Photography Studio | Posted on 01.04.16 – History, Timepiece

The New Year is a time for gathering together for festivities, reminiscing about the previous year and considering what is to come. One such event was held at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Frederick in 1895. The invitation read,  “Happy New Year 1895! You are invited to attend the New Year’s Reception of the FCYMCA at their room’s #4 E. Church Street, on Tuesday January 1st 1895 between the hours of 1 and 6 o’clock, P.M. Music. Refreshments. Bring a friend with you, you will be welcome.”

The YMCA was much smaller then and was known for having varied experiences working with the public to encourage camaraderie and the general uplifting of spirits. Members would meet with the public at their building or sometimes in the Lutheran church. The invitation says guests were invited to come and enjoy themselves with music, games and laughter.

Thirteen years after this gathering, the YMCA would throw another New Year’s bash, this time in its new building, near the present-day City Hall, that was dubbed a monument to the generosity and enterprise of the citizens of Frederick. On Jan. 1, 1908, the organization held a reception celebrating its accomplishment of gaining a larger building with the help of a 25-person committee created in 1906. Three of the committee members were William H. Kellar, Henry H. Abbott and William D. Zimmerman. These gentlemen were also present at the 1895 New Year’s party and even signed the invitation.

The new building pulled the YMCA into the modern world complete with three floors that housed a reading room, games such as checkers chess and pool, and private rooms complete with the best beds and baths. It also upgraded heating and electricity units and could now hold more people in its gymnasium, bath house swimming pool and new private living rooms. Unfortunately, the building no longer stands, and the organization is now located at 1000 N. Market St.