Duluth Downtown YMCA

The 1908 Duluth Downtown YMCA. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

302–312 West Second Street | Architects: German & Lignell | Built: 1908 | Lost: 1974

One of the oldest organizations in Duluth, the Young Men’s Christian Association has been serving the community since 1882, when it set up a free reading room and library association at 18 East Superior Street. Since then the Y has grown and spread throughout the city. The 1908 building at 302–312 West Second Street, designed by Frederick C. German & A. Werner Lignell, was five stories of red brick in a classical design trimmed with Tennessee marble. Its amenities included two gymnasiums, a pool, locker rooms, game rooms, a library, classrooms, and a dormitory. Its lobby had a marble base and terrazzo floors and was trimmed in English Oak; the chairs were upholstered in Spanish leather. Adjoining the lobby was “The Alcove,” offering “a retreat for reading, music, and social chats” and furnished with easy chairs, a piano, and a red-brick fireplace. The downtown YMCA was demolished in 1974 after the YMCA moved into a new facility at 302–312 West First Street.