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Scranton's New YMCA Building
YMCA
Scranton's New Young Men's Christian Association Building.
One of the finest of its kind in the country.
New-York Daily Tribune, Sunday, March 22, 1903
A Postcard Mailed in 1909
A postcard with the same view as the article. A postcard after additional floors were added to match the rest.
Corner of Mulberry and North Washington

Picture of the YMCA from the 1895 Scranton Board Trade Report

Eight Dollars Rent.
This Pays for a Fine Room for a Month in Scranton, Penn.
First Scan: Scranton, Penn., March 21 (Special). The young men of no city in the country are so fortunate as those who live in this hustling city of factories and mines. At least one can find few in Scranton who will admit it.

At a cost of $320,000, most of which came out of the purses of generous citizens, a home has been erected for the Young Men's Christian Association. What this expenditure means for a city of this size will be realized when one figures that had every citizen contributed an equal share an assessment of more than $3 from each man, woman and child would have been necessary. Again, it would have cost at least $600,000 to erect a similar building in New-York in anything like as convenient a locality.

The building was dedicated a few weeks ago, and the work of furnishing it has just been completed. It is said to be in most respects the finest Young Men's Christian Association building in the country. Certainly there are none more modern and thoroughly adapted to the work of this great Christianizing influence. Some one has said that in this Scranton is twenty years ahead of cities of her class, and for that the young men here rejoice.

No one mind planned this marvel of utility. The best Young Men's Christian Association and similar buildings in the country were studied. Then came an architectural competition, in which forty-four sets of plans were submitted. Professor A. D. F. Hamlin, of Columbia University, was the judge, and made four awards. The final plans were made up from these, and the building erected under the personal direction of George S. Maby, a general secretary of the association. He acted as superintendent of construction, and saved the building committee not less than $6,000.

The building is of simple architecture, but dignified and with massive effect. It is only two blocks from the heart of the city, and so well within the business district that the store rooms on the street floor were rented before the building was finished. The main building has seven stories, with a roof garden on top, which will be used in summer for open air gatherings. The gymnasium section is half as high. The main entrance is marked by four white stone pillars and a broad flight of stone steps. The outer loggia is highly decorated, and the whole forms the finest architectural detail to be seen in Scranton.

Second Scan: A detailed description of the building would be interesting, because every department introduces something new. There are features, however, which stand out, and one of them is the living rooms for young men in the upper floors.

It is goodby to the cheerless, frigid hall bedroom, the bugbear of the young man away from home. Scranton youths are no longer dependent. They can find accommodations in this building for as little as $5 a month. They can pay more for larger rooms and private baths, but the $5 men will be much more comfortable than they ever were before.

In order to live for $5 a month a young man must have a roommate. He gets no private bath, of course, but there are tubs and showers on each floor, which he is welcome to use, and tickets for the plunge in the basement are eight for a quarter. For $8 a month a man can have a single room, and $18 gets a large outside room with private bath. Many of the rooms are arranged in suites, and by bunching the beds, as college boys usually do, a sitting room is possible. The rooms are papered in bright colors, furnished with brass beds, bureaus and easy chairs, and every one has an open outlook.

For the exclusive use of the young men who live in the building there are three parlors on the second floor. They can entertain their friends without the necessity of bidding with the landlady's daughter for the front room privileges. The service is almost as complete as is offered by the ordinary hotel, there being a system of electric bells connecting the rooms and the office. There are no restrictions except that the men behave themselves as gentlemen. All those who have rooms must be members of the association. That the young men appreciate this department is shown by their taking two-thirds of the rooms before the building had been opened two weeks.

Another feature of the building is the auditorium, which occupies the entire eastern end of the buildings. It is finished in green and gold and is as attractive as any Scranton theatre. The seating capacity is 720, which is large enough for the general meetings of the association and for the lecture audiences which will gather there.

Some Scranton citizen, whose philanthropy has athletic tendencies, gave $35,000 to fit up the gymnasium in the most improved fashion. The first floor is devoted to a swimming pool, 40x20 feet, and the depth varying from 3 to 12 feet. On the same floor there is a marble room for Turkish baths. The "gym" proper is 51x76 feet, with a ceiling 40 feet high. There is a padded running track, with banked turns running around the room at a height of 15 feet, and above that is a gallery for visitors.

The public reading room o the first floor is a feature which will be appreciated by the public. The educational end of the association's work will be cared for in nine classrooms. There are several amusement rooms, a smoking room just under the roof, as fine bowling alleys as can be found in the State, and a whole floor given over to the junior members, where they can make all the noise they like without disturbing the seniors.

The association will be self-supporting in this new building. The total rentals will bring in $18,500 a year, and the expenses of the building will not run over $11,500. This leaves a balance of $6,500, to which must be added an income of $10,250 from membership and class fees. The work of the association cannot be carried on for less than $15,500, which leaves a margin of $1,250.


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