Editor’s Note: This is the 323rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Young Women’s Christian Association was founded in 1922 as an outgrowth of the Huntington Business Women’s Club. The club itself evolved from a Bible Class that was formed following famed evangelist Billy Sunday’s 1911 crusade in Huntington.
Feeling the need for a home for young employed women, the club purchased a large home in the 1000 block of 6th Avenue, where the local YWCA was organized. Later the organization moved to a building at 3rd Avenue and 10th Street.
The onset of the Great Depression meant the YWCA no longer could afford to operate its 3rd Avenue quarters. So Mrs. George Patterson, the organization’s president in 1934-32, allowed it to use part of her three-story home at 633 5th Ave.
In 1935, the YWCA moved to 540 11th St., a location the American Red Cross used as its base for its relief efforts during the 1937 flood. In 1940, Mrs. Patterson gave her 5th Avenue home to the YWCA, inaugurating an era of expansion for the organization. In 1952, a large auditorium/recreation room addition was built at the rear of the home and a parking lot was added in 1959.
In 1972, the Huntington YWCA ended its long-time mission of providing housing for young women. Six young women, students at a local beauty school, were then living in the home. They were allowed to stay until the end of their school year. Over the years, hundreds of young women had lived at the old house.
The Huntington YWCA operated at 633 5th Ave. for nearly 70 years. In 2008 the organization’s members decided they no longer could afford to operate the home. The following year they sold it, donating the $130,000 purchase price to the Cabell Huntington Children’s Hospital project.