Archive ID: 1981-013-065

Boys boxing at South Chicago YMCA

Date Created: undated

Donor: Betty Burton

Media Type: Photograph


This is one of many photographs donated by the South Chicago YMCA to the Southeast Chicago Historical Project. It shows a youth boxing program probably from the 1930s. The South Chicago YMCA was founded by German Baptists in 1882. After being located at several sites and temporarily closed due to financial difficulties, a permanent facility opened on 91st St in 1926. The “Y” offered temporary lodging and a cafeteria as well as athletic and social activities including “Americanization” classes for immigrants. In its early years, the YMCA was viewed as a Protestant organization by Catholics who feared it might be used to convert Catholic youth. Consequently, many South Chicago Catholic priests discouraged or forbade parishioners from participating in YMCA activities. Nevertheless, the “Y” became a social hub of South Chicago. Athletic activities included boxing, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, bowling, handball, swimming, diving, weightlifting and, later, racquetball. The YMCA also offered fitness and SCUBA diving classes. In a major blow to the neighborhood, the YMCA closed its South Chicago location in 2017. A non-profit group, Preservation of Affordable Housing, along with Claretian Associates, a South Chicago organization, purchased the building in early 2019. They are renovating and plan to reopen the building as a community center in 2021.

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Community Life   Organizations   Recreation   Other/Unknown   South Chicago   Other/Unknown   Photograph   1981-013   Athletics   Boxing   Children   Gloves   Photograph   Photographs   Recreation   South Chicago   Sports   YMCA