Archived Story

YMCA has long, popular past

Published 6:25pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

I recently found a report on the first 50 years of the Austin YWCA, written by Helen Baird Vance in 1956. Faithful readers will see some familiar names in this excerpt:

“On a Sunday afternoon, May 26, 1906, a group of women met together in the Congregational Church to consider the possibilities of organizing a Young Women’s Christian Association. Mrs. J. H. Skinner acted as chairwoman and Miss Molly Jahnke as secretary. Reports were heard of financial and moral support for such a venture. The actual organization did not take place until the following Sunday to permit volunteer workers to complete the canvass of the city. Then, on that day, May 28, the final vote was taken, the “Y” organized and a board directors named. On that first board were, Mrs. C. L. West, Mrs. P. A. Reilly, Mrs. J. P. Anderson, Mrs. William Todd, Mrs. W. R. Terry, Mrs. Will Earl, Mrs. F. I. Crane, Mrs. Boostrom, Mrs. D. H. Stimson, Mrs. John Hormel, Mrs. R. O. Hall, Mrs. George Anderson, Mrs. O. H. Hegge, Mrs. J. H. Skinner, Miss Hortense Robbins, Mrs. Hiram Smith, Mrs. A. N. Kinsman, Mrs. J. M. Hall, and Mrs. R. E. Shepherd.

Before the organization of the YWCA in Austin, Billy Sunday had had a series of revival services. A tabernacle had been erected for him at the present site of the Terp Ballroom [Editor's note: currently El Parral]. All paths, filled with men, women and children, led to the tabernacle. Mr. Sunday and his wife were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Hormel in their home (now the YWCA) during those weeks in Austin.

The religious fervor carried over long after the last appeal, the last prayer and the last hymn were heard. And so it was that the women of Austin decided to do something constructive, something to build character, something to give continuity and support of the teachings of Billy Sunday.”

 This Week at the HHH

Monday: Floral Club, 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Tour from Stillwater, 9:30 a.m.

Friday: ASD Family Respite at the YMCA at 6 p.m.

 Coming Soon

•Social Concerns: Simple, Swift & Sweet – Desserts by Jack Erwin, Chef at the Cedars of Austin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 18. Free and open to the public. Please register at 433-4243 to attend.

•Curious George Story Time: 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Hormel Historic Home. Enjoy crafts, games and stories about everyone’s favorite monkey. Offered by the Austin Public Library and the HHH.

•Austin’s Best Bartender BBQ: on Friday, October 18 at 5 p.m. Call for details.


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  • Nery crandall

    Shouldn’t the headline read, “YWCA has long, popular past”? They are two distinct, storied organizations with different missions.

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