The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History preserves the archives of the Saginaw YWCA. Our finding aid for this collection includes a concise history of the organization.
We greatly appreciate the work of the dedicated and talented volunteers who processed the collection and wrote this history:
In 1891, 14 working women met and organized the future YWCA - Young Women's Christian Association. These women worked in downtown Saginaw, carried lunches and had no place to meet and gather for lunch. A room on North Washington Avenue was rented for such and eventually these ladies began to meet socially as well on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. By 1895, the association grew and the 100 members moved the site to the 1st National Bank Building on Franklin Street. Classes such as stenography, bookkeeping and music were offered with a new building site sought. By 1911, a wealthy Saginaw businessman, Wellington R. Burt, offered $25,000 of $40,000 could be raised for a building at 215 S. Jefferson. In 1913, with 7,000 people in attendance, a new YWCA opened and became the downtown center for girls. With a cafeteria and rooms to rent, many clubs were organized - Merry Wives, Blue Triangle, and business and professional clubs. Many women gave time, money and service building character through Christian life, and in 1918 the building was paid off.
By 1946, programs for every age were offered and a Town Club involving junior high and high school students became very popular. Students had a gym, movies, dancing and table games at their disposal. Many social activities were available in Y's Guys and Gal's Club. A YWCA Camp, "In the Woods" was held in Mio, Michigan.
By 1950, the building itself became a fire hazard and various temporary quarters were secured. The property at 215 S. Jefferson was sold to Jacobson's and a new building was dedicated in 1966. By 1981, with a history of financial problems, the building at 615 S. Jefferson was listed for sale and the doors closed. With plans to use the YMCA's facility, it became apparent that the philosophies of the organizations were different. Women were interested in social programs, while men were focused on physical fitness. While financial support was limited and programming problems were an issue, the YWCA of Saginaw ceased. Past Presidents of the Saginaw YWCA: 1891 - Dr. Harriet Brooks 1893 - Miss Sarah Goodman 1894 - Mrs. Gordon Corning 1897 - Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman 1901 - Mrs. C. H. May 1902 - Mrs. C. T. Kerry 1908-09 - Mrs. W. H. Gallagher 1909- Mrs. R. T. Lindsay 1910 - Mrs. E. T. Howsen 1911 - Mrs. Thomas Emery 1912 - Miss Elizabeth Oxtoby 1915- Mrs. W. J. Spencer 1916 - Mrs. F. J. Boynton 1922 - Miss Pauline Mershon 1924 - Miss Clara McClure 1926 - Mrs. B. F. Griffin 1928 - Mrs. John C. Schroeder 1930-37 Mrs. Fred Y. Wynkoop 1938-39 - Mrs. F. A. Poole 1940-41 - Mrs. Charles F. Barth 1942 - Mrs. Frank Poole 1944 - Mrs. Charles Cook 1947-48 - Miss Ella Vogt 1949-50 - Mrs. Charles Cook 1951 - Mrs. Hazen Armstrong 1952 - Mrs. E. G. Rounds 1953 - Mrs. Frank Anderson 1960-61 - Mrs. H. C. Eimers 1961-63 - Mrs. John Stratz 1963-65 - Mrs. Henry Cage 1966-67 - Mrs. Forrest Garrow 1970-71 - Mrs. W. H. Turner 1972-63 - Mrs. Max Myers 1973-75 - Mrs. Ralph Wilson 1976-77 - Mrs. Charlene Schenck 1978-79 - Mrs. Patricia Shek 1880-81 - Dr. Janet Crane 1982 - Dr. Jean Cheger __