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91 Years of Saginaw YWCA

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 __


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