It's Fun to Stay at the YMCA! (revised)
Originally posted August 4, 2012
When I think of running, track and field, and Olympic events (and this week's Sepia Saturday prompt) my mind races back to those youthful days spent at the old YMCA on State Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
The old YMCA was an amazingly archaic structure. During the summer it was our "rainy day" destination. It could spook even the bravest of us young boys. An this was during the daytime! There were many nooks and crannies and mysterious doorways that seemed to lead to nowhere.
The building itself was considered an architectural marvel. It was designed by the famed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson. He was the same architect to design Trinity Church of Boston, said to be on the top ten list of architecturally significant buildings in the country.
The old YMCA had Richardsons' signature brownstone, arches, cornices and turrets. A fire on a cold winter night in 1982 ended it's life. It burned to the ground leaving nothing but a shell. The "Y" sat vacant for many years. The shell was propped up with external steel supports. Finally it was demolished saving the signature entry archway. The land given to the city for further library expansion.
When the MBTA commuter rail line was extended to Newburyport the main entrance arches were reused in part of the new train station. The arches live on much like the spirit of the old Y.M.C.A.