Way back in 1920, the pastor of the City of Shreveport’s First Baptist Church told his congregation there were three things his growing city needed- a public library, a new school building with an auditorium for public lectures and a great YMCA building.
All eventually happened. Within five years, the city’s first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building was being constructed on the site of the former Edward Jacobs home. Jacobs, a local banker and entrepreneur, donated the property at 400 McNeil to jumpstart the effort to get a ‘great’ YMCA and great it was.
Noted local architect Clarence King may have been inspired by the Villa Medici in Rome as he drew the plans for the building, which is filled with Florentine arches.
Donors raised the princely sum (in 1923) of $545,000 to see the structure built. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Italianate beauty has been a downtown landmark now for 95 years. The facility was originally built to house short term travelers in small upstairs rooms. Physical fitness facilities, social rooms and a beautiful courtyard were on the lower floors. After 95 years, though, some upgrades were needed.
The ‘Y’ launched a $300,00 renovation project roughly 24 months ago that is now completed. The change is apparent. The Men’s Locker Room was revamped with new lockers and other upgrades, there is new cardio equipment, the social room has been transformed into a yoga/pilates room, and there were updates to the entry, front desk area, CrossFit Room and the Ladies Locker Room.
The Y has a full size Basketball Gym and a raft of other amenities.
Those amenities include:
- Cardio Equipment: Stationary Bikes, Treadmills, Stair Climbers, Elliptical Machines & More
- Strength Equipment: Cybex, Hammer Strength, Free Weights & More
- Indoor Pool
- Basketball Gym
- Handball & Racquetball Courts
- Indoor Walking Track
- Steam Room
- And Group Exercise Classes every Monday-Friday.
If you haven’t been to the Downtown Y, now is a great time to visit. Or if you haven’t been in a while, it looks better than it has in many, many years. For more information, visit their website or call 318/674-9622.