Reader wants to keep history alive in old YMCA building

Published 8:15 pm Monday, January 11, 2010

Dear Editor,

Selma, Alabama is one of the oldest cities in the South. The biggest attraction of the city is its history. The most prominent part of that history is its gorgeous, very old buildings. The one in question now, being the old YMCA building located on the corner of Broad Street and Dallas Avenue.

This beautiful, old building breathes history…why would anyone want to remove it and replace it with a parking lot without making every effort to save it?

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It can be restored at a much lesser price than was quoted at the city council meeting. If it is torn down we have lost one more historical site in Selma. If modernization is what you want, look across the street at the city hall building, the replacement for the old Hotel Albert. As lovely as the city hall building is do you really think anyone would drive to Selma to see it? If you make a parking lot for the church where the YMCA is located, it will detract from the downtown district of the old buildings and stores and it will be used only once a week on Sunday. Then it will be only a vacant hole in our antebellum city.

Don’t you think you could ask the citizens of Selma what they think of the removal of this building before a handful of people decide to destroy it? Maybe we could get some contributions from individuals, grants from the federal government and city or state governments to save it because of its history.

Mr. Bolton should make a short trek toward the west, just to Marion, Ala. and look at the old buildings on the square across from the courthouse just to see what a little ingenuity, hard work and a skeleton crew can do. He should go in the evening, around 6 p.m., and have a dinner at Marion Steak House. Talk a look at that revised structure. It is beautiful. Or just maybe he should walk around the corner to the Harmony Club and go inside and see what one person has done to save it.

Our city and our state cannot afford to lose this extremely rare architectural phenomenon if any means can be found to keep it.

In closing, let me reiterate why this building is so important to the city of Selma and its citizens.

The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in England in 1844. This chapter was organized in Selma, less than 15 years later in 1858 by a group of gentlemen at Church Street Methodist Church. The YMCA building was constructed in 1887. They constructed a magnificent building to stand as a testament to the principles of a Christ centered life.

Anyone who has ever been a member of the YMCA knows that these commitments still stand strong today.

Please voice your opinion and help save this magnificent structure.

Thank you all and may God continue to bless you and the city of Selma.


Dorothye Jackson and the supporters of the YMCA Building

Selma, Al