The Salem Family YMCA has served its members well in matters of “Spirit, Mind, and Body” for more than a century, making a lasting impact on the Salem community at large, meeting special needs, and coming up with innovative programs for the future. Services to our community increased as the physical facilities grew over the years past. On May 4, 1892, the Y opened its first quarters on the second floor of the Patton Block on the south side of State Street, near Commercial Street. By 1900, it had moved several times: to a second home in the Gray Building at Liberty & State; to the upper floor of J.C. Brown Hardware, 120 North Commercial; to the Hughes Building on the south side of State near High. On December 24, 1901, the Y was in a building it owned at Commercial and Chemeketa. In about 1910, an indoor pool, Salem’s first, was built on the first floor. A gym and other club areas occupied the other floors.
In 1924, the Y needed larger accommodations. A building fund to raise $200,000 was started with T.A. Livesley as chairman. On March 16, 1926, the present YMCA building on Court Street was dedicated. In 1951, the Nelson property adjoining the Y was purchased, and a Capital Fund drive organized. By 1954, funds were raised and the new Youth Wing was completed in 1956. In 1962, a fire burned out the residence section in the older part of the facility, but by 1964 this was completely renovated. In 1938 the YMCA began operation of YMCA Camp Silvercreek. Located at Silver Falls State Park in between Silverton and Stayton, the 250 acre camp is located in a remote area of the park.
In 1972 the Court Street Apartments were purchased as a means of providing for future expansion. During the seventies the athletic activities expanded with renovation of the swimming pool, three new handball courts on the roof of the Youth Wing and a new locker room for girls, complete with showers and restrooms. After arson damage, the Kells Room was remodeled and the walls furnished with mirrors for ballet classes. The 1980s brought the remodeling of the first floor kitchen, the addition of a whirlpool in the pool area, the residence function moved to the apartment building, additional lockers and other facilities for women members, an elevator to all floors, the second-floor conversion of meeting and exercise rooms and additional child care facilities. In 1987, a concrete building on Liberty Street NE was purchased for the gymnastics and parking provided.
In recent years the Y has become the largest provider of childcare services in Marion and Polk Counties, serving over 600 children each day at 22 different sites. It meets the health and fitness needs of over 5,000 members and participants in Salem. The full-service facility provides opportunities in Salem, Keizer, Silverton, Stayton, Sublimity, Monmouth, and Independence.