1855 - - - First YWCA founded in England as nurses - the
first time women had served on the front - return from the
Crimean War. At the same time, the Industrial Revolution sees
women flocking to the cities from farms to find em-ployment.
Cities are not friendly places for young women alone - they
need housing and other services.
1858 - - - The movement for women to associate spreads over
the Atlantic, and the first Association in the United States
- Ladies Christian Association - forms in New York City.
1860 - - - Twenty-one students, teachers, and needlewomen
occupy the first YWCA residence in New York City. The YWCA
takes on issues such as long work hours, poor ventilation,
lack of rest periods, and unsafe surroundings in factories.
1864 - - - The first day care center in the United States
is organized by the Philadelphia YWCA.
1860s - - - Concerns for women's health in the city environment
prompts Bos-ton YWCA to start gyms and swimming pools.
1873 - - - The first student YWCA started at Normal University
in Normal, Illi-nois.
1900 - - - A small group of women in Salem, Oregon, headed
by Miss Nina McNary, organized the "City YWCA,"
holding Bible and Mission study classes, domestic science,
employment work, and swimming and gymnasium classes at the
1914 - - - In Salem, need for the work of the Association
becomes so great that over 400 women organize into a legitimate
National Young Women's Christian Association on April 7th.
Their mission includes traveler's aid work, rural work, and
student work, including working with the established Willamette
University and city high school groups.
1916-17 - - - The YWCA has a permanent downtown home above
the new Roth's Grocery Store. It includes eight sleeping rooms,
including one for the housemother, restrooms, and meeting
1913-1920 - - - Nationally, the YWCA creates a Commission
on Sex Educa-tion, holds the first interracial conference
in the South, finances the first Interna-tional Conference
of Women Physicians, and represents 30,000 YWCA indus-trial
members in urging passage of an 8-hour work law, prohibition
of night work, and the right of labor to organize.
1939 - - - The YWCA purchases the Roberts home at 768 State
Street, and it becomes the YWCA headquarters.
1942 - - - The YWCA extends its services and personnel to
Japanese women and girls in ten relocation centers.
1950s-1960s - - - There are seven Y-teen
groups in Salem involving over 2,000 teen girls.
1953 - - - "Shall we have a car wash or a dance?"
ponders a Y-teen group--the result is the first SnoBall Dance
celebrating its 50th successful year in De-cember
1954 - - - In 1953, the Roberts home is demolished and the
current building, designed by Pietro Belluschi, is built on
the same site.
1960 - - - The Salem YWCA swimming pool is completed.
1967 - - - The Salem YWCA sees the need for teen parents to
develop into socially mature and economically self-supporting
citizens and, under some con-troversy, begins the Teen Parent
Program, offering education, child care, and parenting classes
for both mothers and fathers.
1971 - - - The Carnegie Library building next door is purchased
for $150,000 and transformed into the youth wing.
1973 --- After the end of the Vietnam War,
the YWCA started a program to deal with the problems of refugees.
1979 - - - As Vietnamese refugees arrive in Salem in large
numbers, the YWCA implements programs in cultural integration,
employment, secondary wage-earner projects, case management,
and other programs to help them assi-milate into their new
1982 - - - The YWCA receives the Salem Human Rights Award
for its work with Southeast Asian refugees and, in 1983, receives
the Distinguished Volun-teer Award from the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services.
1987 - - - The Teen Parent Program receives the National Organization
on Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting's Annual Meritorious
Service Award, a comprehensive single-site model emulated
throughout the country.
1989 - - - On May 27th, the YWCA in conjunction with Willamette
University, held the first Cultural Diversity Conference on
the Willamette campus to help raise awareness of--and promote
sensitivity--about equality, racial justice, vio-lence against
women, hate crimes, and affirmative action.
1992 - - -ENCOREplus Tell a Friend Project was started as
a community-based intervention to increase breast cancer early
detection behaviors in medi-cally underserved women and refer
them for mammograms and clinical breast exams. Free to women
between the ages of 40 and 64, who have limited or no insurance.
The YWCA also provides self breast exam education and training.
2003 - - - With rising maintenance and utility costs in buildings
90- and 50-years-old, the YWCA sells 768 State Street to Willamette
University and looks to the future as it studies which programs
and services should be carried for-ward to a new location.
The YWCA began a new partnership with Gilbert House in offering
girls in the third to fifth grades an opportunity to participate
in after-school science, math, and a related technology program.
2004 - - - Seven YWCA case managers operate programs with
Hispanic, Rus-sian, other immigrants, and homeless people
to help with housing, employment, medical, and other assistance.
The swimming pool is closed. April 20th, the YWCA celebrated
its 90th year.
Written by Carol Green, Executive Director, Salem YWCA
Spring (March-May), 2004, YWCA of Salem Newsletter, Pgs
4 & 5, 768 State Street, Salem, OR 97301