YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development

History of the YMCA of Central Virginia

A History of Accomplishments

  • June 19, 1856: The first YMCA in Lynchburg, VA is organized.
  • February 7, 1861: Lynchburg is the third YMCA in Virginia and the smallest city in the U.S. to have a YMCA. Work is adjourned due to the War Between the States.
  • 1870: The YMCA is reorganized.
  • 1884: The Lynchburg YMCA opens an Employment Bureau, maintains a Boarding House Register and conducts Night School classes offering vocal music, mathematics, bookkeeping and talks on medicine and business. "Work for Boys" is initiated.
  • 1886: The initiation fee is 10 cents. Monthly dues are 5 cents. Dues for men: $2.50.
  • 1886: The first capital campaign is conducted "for the physical, intellectual, social, moral and spiritual welfare and improvement of the young men of this city."
  • 1886: The Old Baptist Church at 816 Church Street is converted to the first YMCA Building, at a cost of $17,000.
  • 1890: Boys Camp is conducted for one week at Glasgow, Virginia.
  • 1907: A new building opens at 1004 Church Street with a gymnasium, pool, bowling alleys, library, auditorium and dormitory.
    June 8, 1912: YMCA Island Park opens. Located on an island in the James River (near Riverside Park), the Island Park features swimming, canoeing, track, tennis, baseball and football.
  • 1921: A capital campaign is held to buy 1002 Church Street as a "boys building" and build a bridge and roadway to the Island.
  • 1922: Hunton YMCA is established with Charles E. Johnson as first Executive Secretary.
  • 1932: During the Depression, the unemployed are offered free dormitory spaces, physical activities and education.
  • 1937: Camp Bibee is built on 98 acres of donated land in Pittsylvania County.
  • 1950: The Peters property at 1315 Church Street is purchased for $17,000, as the future site of a new YMCA.
  • 1955: After campaigning for years to raise enough money to build Hunton and Central buildings, work begins. There were insufficient funds for the dormitories originally planned for the Central YMCA.
  • 1956: Hunton branch and Central building open, as well as a new summer camp on Buggs Island.
  • September 1988: A cooperative venture between the YMCA and the YWCA provides an after-school childcare program in the Lynchburg City Schools.
  • 1992: An extensive renovation of 1315 Church Street is completed; rapid membership growth follows.
  • August 1996: The last payment is made on debt which has plagued the association since the early 1980s.
  • August 1996: Ellen and Bill Jamerson donate historic buildings at 1307-1309 Church Street to be used as a preschool childcare center which opens on September 23, 1997.
  • August 1998: Preparations for a capital campaign begin with Rodger Fauber as chairman. The goal is to raise $7.8 million to build a new YMCA off Enterprise Drive and to renovate the Downtown YMCA.
  • October 19, 1998: Ellen and Bill Jamerson donate 25 acres of land and $1 million, as the lead gift in the Capital Campaign.
  • September 21, 2000: a groundbreaking is held for the Jamerson Family YMCA at Wyndhurst.
  • April 1, 2002: The opening day for the new 63,000 square foot Jamerson Family YMCA. The new YMCA opens with over 3,000 units of membership, far exceeding all expectations. Centra Health, in partnership with the YMCA, also opens the Healthy Living Center at the Jamerson Y, offering cardiac rehab, sports medicine, physical and occupational therapy.
  • April 20, 2002: Dedication of the Jamerson Family YMCA. Virginia Secretary of Education, Belle Whelan is the keynote speaker.
  • September, 2002: Renovations begin on the Downtown YMCA. The work is completed in three phases, in order to keep the YMCA building open at all times.
  • June 25, 2003: Mayor Carl B. Hutcherson is the keynote speaker for the Downtown Dedication.
  • September, 2003: work begins on 1316 Church Street, a townhouse which will provide offices for childcare and outreach staff


The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.