It's Fun to Stay at the YMCA

YMCA, Newburyport, Massachusetts, arches
Postcard - Doug Peabody

For this week's Sepia Saturday prompt we see a stately building on the corner of two streets. That photo reminds me of the the days spent at the old YMCA on State Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts. As you can see it too is a stately building on the corner but not quite as big.

The old YMCA was an amazingly archaic structure both inside and out. During the summer it was our "rainy day" destination. Exploring it's nooks and crannies, it could spook even the bravest of us young boys. An this was during the daytime! There were many mysterious doorways that seemed to lead to nowhere that none of us dared to open.

The building itself was considered an architectural marvel. It was designed by the famed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, he same architect to design Trinity Church of Boston, an impressive building in it's own right.

MBTA Commuter Rail Station, Newburyport, Massachusetts, ymca, arches
Photo: Doug Peabody
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 YMCA.

Run over to Sepia Saturday for more fine articles about athletics by clicking here.

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