Duluth Downtown Y.W.C.A.

The Downtown Duluth YWCA, ca. 1930. (Image: Zenith City Press)

202 West 2nd Street | Architects:  Frederick German &  A. W. Lignell | Built: 1909 | Extant

The Young Women’s Christian Association came to Duluth in 1896 to offer assistance to “every unprotected young woman in Duluth” and opened its first building six years later. That facility’s “narrow and inconvenient quarters” led to a fundraising drive to bankroll and furnish a new building. They raised much more than the $138,000 they had sought, and a good thing they did: the Neoclassical Revival structure cost $150,000.

The YWCA’s objective is to “improve the spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical condition of young women.” To this end the Y offered classes in everything from cooking to swimming, provided traveler’s aid, arranged for interviews in its employment office, and of course provided living quarters for any “unprotected” girls who needed them. The Duluth Y even operated a summer camp, Camp Wanakiwin, which opened for ten weeks a year. In 1927 alone 527 local girls spent a week or more at the Barnum, Minnesota, facility.

The building was renovated in 2011 by the American Indian Community Housing Organization, who renamed the facility the Gimaajii Mino Bimaadiziyaan Building.

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