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Women’s History: 125 Years at YWCA Minneapolis

By YWCA Minneapolis
March 28, 2017
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Founded in 1891, YWCA Minneapolis is celebrating its 125th anniversary of strengthening communities with social justice programs that work towards the health and empowerment of women and girls.

Here is a sampling of some historic events that have happened at YWCA Minneapolis over the last 125 years.

125 Years of Celebrating the Strength in All Women

1890: State YWCA holds convention in Minneapolis. Minneapolis women stress a need for a meeting place, especially during the lunch hour.

1891: YWCA Minneapolis is established on a second-story flat above a store on 45 South 8th Street. A lunchroom and rest areas are provided.

1893: The YWCA relocates to 808 Nicollet Mall. The first floor contains a gymnasium and a dressing room. The women’s vigorous exercise is halted when a burly Minneapolis policeman comes to the door to see what is shaking the building.

1898: The Traveler’s Aid program begins. Traveler’s Aid employees go to the train stations to meet and help women coming to Minneapolis from rural areas. YWCA moves to 521 1st Avenue South. Facilities include a gymnasium. The membership total is 738. The cafeteria serves between 500-700 people daily.

1911: Mrs. W.S. Benton, YWCA President, raises $10,000 to build a swimming pool. She does this despite the public opinion that “the girls could do very well without one.”

1942: The first African-American woman is elected to the board of YWCA Minneapolis.

1970: YWCA begins providing pregnancy prevention programming for teens.

1976: YWCA opens its first and largest Early Childhood Education Center at its Downtown location on Nicollet Mall as women started to enter the workforce.

Today: YWCA Minneapolis continues its work toward empowering women and girls and eliminating racism.

View Photos from the Past 125 Years