Spartan Spirit Is Strong

On Thursday, July 24, 2003, Scott Hubbard, Association Board Chair, presented Debra Hutchins, Local History Librarian of the Spartanburg County Libraries, the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg historic paper collection of notebooks, photographs, and news clippings. Jenifer Steller, Marketing Director for the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg, began gathering materials and organizing the project in 1998.

The Spartanburg County Library will now house the collection in the vault of the Kennedy Room. In the vault, the library keeps its most important items, especially those that are irreplaceable. The vault now houses the original materials from Camp Wadsworth and Camp Croft and the important collection of Willis photographs of Old Spartanburg. The vault is archaically correct as to temperature and humidity and has it own fire suppression system. Materials kept in the vault are available for public use, but only when a Kennedy Room staff member is present. The library will list the YMCA materials on the vault list available for public use so that interested persons may know what to request.

The Spartan Spirit is Strong presents one hundred pages of local YMCA history and photographs in celebration of the 100th anniversary of incorporation of the YMCA in Spartanburg. A limited anniversary edition, The Spartan Spirit Is Strong is a Partners with Youth project of the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg. For every $20.00 donation, you receive one copy of The Spartan Spirit Is Strong. If you wish the book to be mailed, include $5.00 for each address. If you pay at the Member Services Desk, you may also use VISA or MasterCard. Excerpts from the book follow.

Beginnings in Spartanburg, SC

The Carolina Spartan recorded the early history of the YMCA in Spartanburg. An article appeared Thursday, January 28, 1869, that announced the organization of a YMCA: “A large and respectable meeting was held in the Methodist Church on Friday evening last to form the above association (Young Men’s Christian Association). The object of the meeting was responded to by a considerable number of young men, and now bids fair to be largely increased. Lists for memberships are now open at Wofford College and at Dr. Fleming’s Drug Store. It is hoped that many will avail themselves of the great advantages afforded by an institution so beneficent in its moral purposes.”

A paid advertisement appeared in The Carolina Spartan on February 4, 1869: “The first regular monthly meeting of the Spartanburg Young Men’s Christian Association will be held at the Methodist Church on next Thursday evening at 7 1/2 o’clock. All young men desirous of becoming members will please meet with us. A full and punctual attendance is requested as business of importance will be transacted.” C. E. Fleming, President.

On February 24, 1870, The Carolina Spartan announced the following: “A lecture was delivered by Professor Carlisle in the Methodist Church on the evening of the 15th before the YMCA. The subject was ‘Temperance.’ It would afford us much pleasure and our readers much profit to give the lecture ‘in extenso,’ but we feel ourselves incompetent. It was a complete success and is itself sufficient to establish the reputation of the Professor as one of the finest lecturers in the country.”

YMCA officers were announced in The Carolina Spartan on March 24, 1870: “At a meeting of the Directors of the Spartanburg Young Men’s Christian Association on Wednesday evening 9th, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year – C. E. Fleming, President; John Earle Bomar, Vice President; William A. Rogers, Recording Secretary; J. W. Boyd, Treasurer; A. Coke Smith, Corresponding Secretary.”

The Carolina Spartan, April 25, 1872, carried an announcement from The Banner, a Nashville Tennessee paper, stating Dr. C. E. Fleming, formerly of Spartanburg, had entered business in that city. Files of The Carolina Spartan, prior to Dr. Fleming’s departure from Spartanburg, do not reveal Dr. Fleming’s resignation or the election of a successor.

On August 4, 1875, the New York Weekly Mail reported that a YMCA was organized in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with President James Carlisle of Wofford College as president. The meetings were held in quarters over the First National Bank on the square – the rooms being provided free by the bank. This YMCA was described as a volunteer organization of young men who banded together for the social and moral improvement of themselves and the community advantages afforded by an institution so beneficent in its moral purposes.”

In 1878 there were twenty-four members. The records of that year show that J. A. Gamewell, professor of Latin at Wofford College, was president; D. A. Dupre, Dr. H. E. Heinitsh and Stobo J. Simpson, vice presidents; F. W. Jones, secretary; and Charles P. Wofford, treasurer. The association rooms housed a good library and some games of recreation. All members served on a committee, and the committees named in that year were devotional, library, music, entertainment, hall, and visiting. The librarian was James H. Kirkland, a schoolteacher who later became Chancellor of Vanderbilt University. Principal activities of the YMCA in 1878 were character building, religious studies, music and reading.

The volunteer YMCA continued into the 1880’s and gradually developed into a musical club that became a dominant factor in the cultural and social life of Spartanburg. Sometime during the 1880’s, the YMCA reorganized as a religious organization. According to the minutes of early meetings found among the papers of Judge J. J. Burnett, the YMCA of Spartanburg was reorganized on January 31, 1888, with seven members: J. G. McCorkle; A. C. Moore; James H. Carlisle, Jr.; Ed H. Anderson; R. C Schaffter; Samuel Cavis; and Charles W. Hardy. Original minutes show this first meeting was held in the Baptist Sunday school room and was adjourned to meet in the Methodist Sunday school room on the next Sunday, February 5, 1888. Officers were J. G. McCorkle, president; A. C. Moore, first vice president; J. H. Carlisle, Jr., second vice president; and E. H. Anderson, secretary treasurer.

The Carolina Spartan recorded the following on February 8, 1888: “The YMCA has been organized at this place. They will meet again Friday evening at 8 o’clock at the Kennedy Library. This is a good move and every good citizen of our town will rejoice in the step taken by the young men. They will extend an earnest invitation for the State Convention of the YMCA to meet here this spring.”

Within two months, rooms were rented in the Kennedy Library for $24 per year, $2 to be paid monthly. For twelve months the association held a devotional meeting one night weekly. The membership soon increased to about thirty-five members, several of whom never attended a meeting. They also held devotional meetings each Sunday afternoon. These meetings were well attended by both ladies and gentlemen. During the first twelve months, the association did not ask for or receive any financial aid other than from the members.

Shortly thereafter the association occupied the Irwin building for $25.00 per month. This building stood between Church and what was then the Southern Railway crossing. The group paid $150.00 for carpet and furniture. Attendance began to gradually increase. The first board of directors was elected on April 23, 1888, and consisted of the following: D. E. Hydrick, Warren Dupre, A. C. Moore, W. A. Law, and W. McDowell. These members elected Warren Dupre as president and W. A. Law as secretary. H. B. Carlisle became secretary upon the early resignation of Mr. Law.

During March, the group organized a Ladies’ Auxiliary which the men believed would “prove a great blessing – spiritually, socially, and financially.” During the same month, the association received $1,100 in money and subscriptions from “the citizens of the city.” Membership had grown to fifty-five. On April 25, 1889, J. N. Whan of Pennsylvania was employed for $600 annually as the association’s first general secretary. At the next meeting, the board voted to secure and equip a gymnasium.

The following names appeared on the early records: W. J. McDowell, Jess Wall, James O’Hear, A. G. Rembert, J. M. Nicholls, J. A. Law, G. W. Hodges, F. W. Fant, D. E. Hydrick, H. B. Carlisle, A. E. Moore, G. W. Nicholls, T. H. Cannon, J. West Harris, Irvine Twitty, E. Bacon, W. A. Law, Charles Scruggs, G. H. Hamer, E. E. Bomar, Rev. B. F. Wilson, Warren DuPre, James L. Dean, H. E. Ravenel, R. H. F. Chapman, George Kirby, Charles H. Carlisle, G. H. Hinnant, J. J. Burnett, J. L Fleming, T. J. Patten, C. E. Sanders, Elias Ball, J. A. McDowell, S. T. McCravy, F. R. Alexander, J. C. Archer, D. L. Jennings, C. P. Sanders, J. C. Crews, Jerome Gaffney, and J. J. Gentry.

The Women’s Auxiliary

A meeting was called Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., on March 1, 1904, in the YMCA Hall to organize a Women’s Auxiliary to the YMCA of Spartanburg. Mr. Howell, the general secretary of the YMCA, presented ways the ladies could assist in YMCA work. Officers elected were Mrs. N. M. Jones, president; Mrs. R. K. Carson, vice president; Mrs. A. L. Crutchfield, secretary; and Mrs. H. E. Ravenel, treasurer. Committees were chaired by Mrs. G. L. Wilson, membership; Mrs. V. M. Montgomery, reception; Mrs. A. G. Rembert, entertainment; Mrs. J. C. Evins, improvement; and Mrs. J. N. Simpson, house committee. At the executive committee meeting on the following Wednesday, the leaders wrote a constitution and by-laws. Tuesday afternoon after the first Sunday of the month would be the Auxiliary’s new meeting time.

The ladies immediately began activities to furnish the YMCA Hall. Mrs. Ellis Cannon gave a piano. Mrs. J. C. Evins donated books to the YMCA library. To raise funds, Mrs. Simpson completed arrangements with the Copley Company of Boston to have an exhibit of their prints. She also engaged three lecturers. The price of tickets was fifty cents for season tickets and twenty-five cents for a single lecture. The ladies decided to use proceeds from these and other projects to purchase cups, saucers, cooking utensils, and carpet for the stairs.

At the meeting on September 16, 1904, Mr. Bridgeman, YMCA state secretary, attended an Auxiliary meeting. Mrs. J. A. Gamewell, secretary pro-tem, recorded the minutes: “The president asked Mr. Bridgeman to speak a few words of counsel and encouragement to the members as to the work they are trying to do. This he did in a most appropriate manner. The Auxiliary member can use her taste in making the rooms attractive. Her suggestions as to how the rooms should be kept are valuable. Most of all she can make friends of the young men.”

Requests to the ladies were to provide pictures for the walls, preserves or jelly for use in the club rooms, and flowers in the building during revival meetings. To finance projects, members held an oyster supper as soon as the weather was sufficiently cold. The ladies also planted chrysanthemums in their vegetable gardens to show and sell at the November Chrysanthemum Show.

March 1906 was a busy month. The ladies decided to continue fifty cent dues but to allow anyone to give one dollar if she chose. A committee composed of Mrs. Avent and Mrs. Irwin was appointed to investigate the “soap question” in the YMCA rooms. New officers were elected: Mrs. Burnett, president; Mrs. Carson, vice president; Mrs. McIver, treasurer; Mrs. Ravenel, secretary; Mrs. Irwin, membership committee; Mrs. Avent, improvement committee; Mrs. Crawford, reception committee; Mrs. Tolleson, entertainment committee; and Mrs. Simpson, house committee. By the end of this year, the ladies had doubled their membership and raised almost $400 with four skating parties and a chrysanthemum show. They purchased leather furniture and a game for the YMCA.

In March 1907, new and returning officers included Mrs. Burnett, president; Mrs. Simpson, vice president; Mrs. McIver, treasurer; Mrs. Ravenel, secretary; Mrs. Erwin, membership committee; Mrs. Fleming, improvement committee; Mrs. Law, reception committee; Mrs. William Jones, entertainment committee; and Mrs. Rembert, house committee. They funded YMCA floor improvements, a new stove, and furniture. Membership grew to a total of 134 ladies. [Auxiliary Minutes from 1904 to 1907]

The Women’s Auxiliary Roll included the following: Mrs. W. B. Abbot; Mrs. William Adger; Mrs. J. Allen; Mrs. E. P. Avent; Mrs. C. E. Band; Mrs. Henry Beacham; Mrs. J. G. Beacham; Mrs. George Beggs; Mrs. R. D. Blowers; Mrs. Elisha Bomar; Mrs. J. Bomar; Mrs. M. L. Bowden; Mrs. Leila Boyd; Miss Mary Boyd; Mrs. Brashear; Mrs. W. J. Britton; Mrs. E. J. Bryant; Mrs. W. E. Burnett; Mrs. Samuel Burts; Mrs. Ellis Cannon; Mrs. A. B. Calvert; Mrs. H. B. Carlisle; Mrs. Walter Carrington; Mrs. R. K. Carson; Miss Sally Carson; Mrs. R. L. Cates; Mrs. James Chapman; Mrs. R. H. F. Chapman; Mrs. Clinkscales; Mrs. G. S. Coffin; Mrs. A. B. Cooke; Mrs. D. E. Converse; Mrs. A. B. Correll; Mrs. D. C. Correll; Mrs. T. S. Crawford; Mrs. A. L. Crutchfield; Mrs. A. D. Cudd; Mrs. R. E. Cudd; Mrs. A. J. Dawkins; Mrs. Thad Dean; Mrs. Harry DePass; Miss Sue Dixon; Mrs. Robert Dodgens; Mrs. Henry Dryer; Mrs. Henry Dunbar; Mrs. Lee Dunbar; Mrs. W. W. Duncan; Mrs. Mason DuPre; Mrs. Warren Dupre; Mrs. Baylis Earle; Mrs. J. O. Erwin; Mrs. J. C. Evins; Mrs. S. B. Ezell; Mrs. W. W. Fant; Mrs. E. C. Fanning; Mrs. J. H. Feagan; Mrs. L. L. Ferris; Mrs. S. G. Finley; Mrs. Fisher; Mrs. Fitzsimmons; Mrs. Gladys Fleming; Mrs. L. D. Fleming; Mrs. H. France; Mrs. J. Floyd; Mrs. E. O. Frierson; Mrs. R. W. Fuller; Mrs. Gaffney; Mrs. J. A. Gamewell; Mrs. Robert Gantt; Mrs. J. D. Garlington; Mrs. George Garrett; Mrs. Robert Galbraith; Mrs. E. E. Glenn; Mrs. Robert Hanning; Mrs. W. B. Hallett; Mrs. J. L. Harris; Mrs. C. W. Harty; Miss Hattie Harty; Mrs. H. H. Herring; Mrs. W. W. Holland; Mrs. L. J. Hutchinson; Mrs. W. D. Hentto, Mrs. J. L. Jeffries; Mrs. Lillie Jennings; Mrs. Edwin Johnson; Mrs. J. T. Johnson; Mrs. W. M. Jones; Mrs. S. B. Jones; Mrs. Paul Kennedy; Mrs. E. S. Kibbie; Mrs. C. C. Kirby; Mrs. Andrew Law; Mrs. J. A. Law; Miss Mary Law; Mrs. A. W. Lawton; Mrs. W. G. Lee; Mrs. P. T. Lemaster; Mrs. H. A. Ligon; Mrs. J. B. Liles; Mrs. D. D. Little; Mrs. H. A. Logon; Miss Irene Lucas; Mrs. J. B. Lyles; Mrs. C. P. Matthews; Mrs. J. D. Maxwell; Mrs. Jeff Maxwell; Mrs. McCreary; Mrs. H. McDonald; Mrs. Joe McGee; Mrs. McLaughlin; Mrs. David McIvor; Mrs. Martha Mitchell; Mrs. H. B. Montgomery; Mrs. J. T. Montgomery; Mrs. V. M. Montgomery; Mrs. John Wright Nash; Mrs. J. D. Nelson; Mrs. J. Nicholls; Mrs. George Nicholls; Mrs. Paul McNeel; Mrs. Vernon Patterson; Mrs. M. A. Phifer; Mrs. Price; Mrs. O. L. Pace; Mrs. J. B. Ramsey; Mrs. Robert Ramsey; Mrs. H. E. Ravenel; Mrs. A. G. Rembert; Mrs W. A. Rogers; Mrs. K. M. Roper; Miss Ellen Roper; Mrs. W. H. Russell; Miss Annie Hill Sanders; Miss Kathleen Sanders; Mrs. T. S. Sease; Mrs. B. F. Shockley; Mrs. Lawrence Simms; Mrs. A. W. Smith; Mrs. Janie Smith; Mrs. C. P. Simms; Mrs. J. Simpson; Mrs. T. J. Simpson; Mrs. Smith; Mrs. S. P. Smith; Mrs. H. N. Snyder; Mrs. N. G. Stone; Miss Carrie Ondley; Mrs. J. B. Steppe; Mrs. Tamlinson; Mrs. E. S. Tennent; Mrs. W. G. Tollerson; Mrs. L. B. Vernon; Mrs D. D. Wallace; Mrs. W. A. Wallace; Mrs. C. B. Waller; Mrs. J. T. Watkins; Mrs. H. M. Weedon; Mrs. W. T. Weekly; Mrs. C. R. Willard; Mrs. J. T. Willard; Mrs. J. W. Wilson; Mrs. Stanyarne Wilson; Mrs. Otto Zabel.

Reorganization in 1902

There is no other record of events until the Young Men’s Christian Association of Spartanburg was reorganized on December 23, 1902, by the election of officers and directors: John W. Simpson, president; R. Z. Cates, vice president; A. M. Chreitzber, treasurer; Baylis T. Earle, recording secretary; and directors J. M. Cannon, T. H. Green, J. C. Evins, Horace L. Bomar, H. E. Ravenel, R. H. F. Chapman, R. H. Peters, Charles H. Carlisle, William S. Glenn, Professor J. A. Gamewell and Elliott Estes. The State of South Carolina incorporated the organization on January 20, 1903. The stated purpose of the Association was to care for the bodies, minds, and spirits of young men, to bring young men under Christian influences and in connection with evangelical churches, and generally to do those things which are recognized as belonging to similar organizations throughout the United States.

Shortly after this incorporation, the Association occupied quarters in the Glenn three-story brick building on Magnolia Street. H. R. Howell was the first general secretary, and Professor Hugh T. Shockley was its first physical director. The institution was popular from the beginning. In 1907, J. D. Griffin succeeded H. R. Howell as general secretary. Due to ill health, Mr. Griffin soon resigned and was succeeded by Walter Brooks Abbott, who held the position until 1911. Mr. W. E Andrews succeeded Professor Shockley in 1907. In 1909 Professor Shockley returned and held the position of physical director until 1912. During these years, the Men’s Board was strongly supported by an active Women’s Auxiliary.

In the building were a main lobby, two game rooms, a shuffle board, a kitchen and dining room. A dormitory on the third floor housed twenty-five to thirty men. Spartanburg’s first gymnasium was at the rear of the building. The popular gym equipment consisted of a flying trapeze ring, horses and mats. In 1905 the first summer camp was held on Cedar Mountain near Caesar’s Head. In 1908, the YMCA of Spartanburg won its first State Championship in basketball, a game developed at the International YMCA Training School by James Naismith in December 1891.

The YMCA of Spartanburg outgrew its quarters on Magnolia Street, and as early as 1909 a campaign for funds began. Walter Brooks Abbot led the capital campaign with a forceful appeal to the people of Spartanburg. A 47.75 foot by 163.0 foot site on East Main Street was purchased for $4,775.00. A campaign raised $103,000 to erect and outfit a new facility.

The Spartan Spirit Is Still Strong

Such was the motto of the One Hundred Club of the YMCA of 1909. Fired with enthusiasm by Walter B. Abbott, then secretary of the YMCA, a group of 100 young men from the YMCA Boys Gospel League gave the first contribution for the purchase of the land. The club was the idea of Mr. Abbott, who originated the motto. He was an enthusiastic fellow according to B. H. France, who served as part-time secretary assisting Mr. Abbott. He was six feet four inches tall and weighed 250 pounds. His hobby was printing – fancy printing. He worked long and laboriously over the face of the One Hundred Club certificate.

The Boys Gospel League met every Sunday and Thursday at the YMCA located in the three-story building on Magnolia Street between Main and Wofford Streets. A gathering of 125 to 150 boys attended Gospel meetings at 2:30 p.m. Young men attended at 3:30 p.m. Supper on Thursday nights cost only $.15 and was said to be good. The gym instructor was Hugh T. Shockley, who prepared the suppers.

Each boy contributed a dollar that he had earned himself. Mr. Bertram France recalled that he earned his dollar by working nights at Band and White’s, one night a week, for which he was paid a total of $1.50. Mr. Abbott donated the one hundredth dollar for his six-month-old son John Brooks Abbott, who died ten months later.

The certificate of the Hundred Club was presented to each member to signify payment of the $1.00 to the building fund as a 1909 Thanksgiving offering. The YMCA fund in the bank by December 10, 1909 was $525.94.

Programming centered on social, educational, physical, and religious areas. The 1912 Annual Report listed YMCA participation numbers for that year. Social participation included seven socials with attendance of 2,245; four paid entertainments with attendance of 590; 55,000 visits to the building; and 14,250 games played. Educational participation included 32,400 visits to the Reading Room; eighteen sessions of the young men’s summer debate team with 261 attending; three illustrated lectures on the Weather Bureau; four illustrated lectures on the Panama Canal by the Honorable J. G. Johnson; two lectures on children’s poets; three musical programs, and 3,460 persons reached in extension work. Physical participation included 190 classes with eighty boys and twenty men enrolled; eighty physical examinations; 2,450 attending gymnasium classes; and 22,350 baths. Religious participation included thirty-five men’s meetings with 4,492 attending; 125 showing a desire for a better life and asking for prayers; five conversions; fifty-two Boys’ Gospel League meetings with 3,010 attending; thirteen sessions of men’s Bible classes with 279 attending and ten young men volunteers teaching Sunday School classes in four different mission churches. There were 449 members during the year, around one-fourth under eighteen. There were thirty-seven different rooms during the year – twenty-six of these occupying the building at the close of 1912.

A Splendid New YMCA on East Main Street

The cornerstone was laid for the new building on March 4, 1914. When the new YMCA of Spartanburg opened at 215 East Main Street on September 24, 1914, it boasted a large lot with a three-story building that was modern in every respect. Among the special features of this YMCA were the gymnasium, a large indoor swimming pool, separate locker rooms and lobbies for boys and men, shower baths, dormitory accommodations, and a well-equipped reading room. The YMCA was open twenty-four hours daily, except Sunday, when the hours were from 2:30 until 6:00 p.m. – lobby only. The YMCA was a popular gathering place for clubs, committees, special conferences, and banquets.

After the death of Mr. Abbot, W. V. Martin was elected general secretary in 1912. He later resigned to work for the state YMCA. O. E. Buschgin succeeded him and served one year. A. C. Doggett succeeded Mr. Buschgin in 1919. Other staff members were Roy S. Templeton, business; George E. Simmons, boys’ work; and R. W. Tapp, physical director in charge of the dormitory, office, and social programs. The work of the YMCA continued to be divided into departments and divisions. The men’s division dealt with men older than eighteen. The boys’ division served boys from ten to eighteen. There were 500 men in the men’s division and 250 boys in the boys’ division.

The stated purpose of the YMCA of Spartanburg was “seeking to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Savior according to Holy Scriptures, desire to be His Disciples in their doctrine and in their lives, and associate their efforts for the extension of His kingdom among men.” In 1923, there were a reported 136 personal testimonies, 116 decisions for the better life, and fifty individuals who joined churches. In 1924 eighteen Bible classes for boys were conducted in the spring. A large Bible class was maintained for men. Sunday meetings were held at the Rex Theatre on Spartanburg’s East Main Street in the afternoons.

Membership in the 1920’s

By 1924, the YMCA of Spartanburg operated on a budget of around $25,000. There were several types of membership. The Business Man’s Membership of $25.00 included locker, towels, and soap. A Regular Membership of $12.00 did not. Persons who contributed $60.00 or more to the Community Chest were issued YMCA Memberships. The fees for Boys’ Memberships were $5.00 for employed boys and $6.00 for others. Many boys were unable to pay their own fees so others could purchase memberships for them. By 1925 annual fees were the following: $15.00 for men, $6.00 for boys ages ten to fourteen, $7.00 for boys ages fifteen and sixteen, $7.50 for young men seventeen and eighteen, and $40.00 for a sustaining membership. Income from the dormitory and membership fees was about $16,000, leaving between $8,000 to $9,000 to be provided by public contributions. Spartanburg businesses recognized and appreciated the work of their YMCA and responded to its maintenance.

What was there to do at the Y in the 1920’s?

Good Fellowship: “The Association Lobby is the social center of the city. There is now no excuse for any man or boy in Spartanburg being lonesome. Good friends and good fellowship are to be had in abundance at the YMCA. “

Reading Room: “You can enjoy reading most of the leading current magazines and newspapers and also literary works.”

Checker-Chess Club: “There is always some one in the game room anxious to meet you at match games of checkers or chess. These games are growing in popularity among our many members and residents. “

Religious Training: “To aid young men and boys of the city who come within its influences, to make the most of its facilities for enriching their religious life, the Association offers a program of Bible Study Classes, Personal Interviews, Gospel Meetings, Opportunities for Service.”

Physical Education: “You may enroll in a class in Physical Education, where you will receive a course of physical training that is suited to your individual need. At the end of the day…fifteen minutes in the gym, ten minutes in an exhilarating game, then a shower and a dip in the pool, and a rub down will make your grocery bill go up and your earning capacity, too.”

Athletics: “Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Handball, Hockey, Apparatus – Horses, Bucks, Parallel Bars, Flying Rings, Spring Boards, Chest Weights, in fact a thoroughly equipped Gymnasium is at your service.”

Swimming: “The beautiful, white tile-lined natatorium, filled with 60,000 gallons of sparkling fresh water, provides an unusually good opportunity to enjoy swimming, both summer and winter. If you do not know how to swim, we will be glad to teach you.”

A Clean YMCA in the 1920’s

Spartanburg Herald announcement: “A. C. Doggett, general secretary of the local association, said Thursday that he wished to add his word to that of Director Tapp’s regarding the sanitation of the YMCA pool. Each patron is required to take a soap bath before entering it. The water in the 45,000 gallon pool is changed twice a week and the sides and bottom scrubbed. The Southern Bureau of Analysis tests the water for infection twice a week and every precaution is taken to keep the place clean and sanitary.”
Letters to members: “Ready to Start! We take pleasure in announcing the opening of gymnasium classes and other recreative features for the fall and winter season on Monday, September 29. The gymnasium has been thoroughly cleaned and painted from ceiling to floor and looks good. To match this clean gym, we would like to suggest clean gym suits, or if the old one is in the last stages of defabrication buy a new one.”

Learning Opportunities in the 1920’s

Letter to members registered for a public speaking class: “This is to remind you that the class in Public Speaking will meet next Monday evening, January 28, 1924, for the first meeting. Please be on the dot – not a second later than 7:30. This is a class of busy business men who want to go so be here at the appointed time. You may consider yourself lucky. You got in just in time. The class limit of forty was reached long ago and there are dozens of good fellows asking to be let in. Can’t do it – must stick to our limit. Also bear in mind that this course runs for sixteen weeks – every Monday evening. Better make a standing engagement with yourself for this and let nothing pull you away. You will help us considerably if you will mail or bring checks when you come.”

Yours for success, General Secretary

[Note: Dr. Pugh of Wofford College conducted this class in public speaking. Other classes included salesmanship and commercial law.]

Boys’ and Men’s Programs

Spartanburg Herald, January 23, 1924: “The purpose of the Hi-Y is to create, maintain and extend through the schools and community high standards of Christian conduct and character. The slogan is ‘a contagious Christian character as expressed in clean sports, clean speech and clean habits.’ Spartanburg has five Hi-Y Clubs, one of each of the classes of the high school and one for Hastoc School. Each of the clubs has its officers and is a distinct unit of an international brotherhood of the H-Y movement. Each member of the entire membership is placed on a committee and is pledged to give at least one hour a week in service to some other boy or group of boys in the city.” Note: Hastoc School educated an exclusive clientele of boys under the direction of Professor Hugh T. Shockley, the YMCA’s first physical director.

Spartanburg Herald announcement: “A strong religious work program consists of regular Thursday evening Bible classes, Hi-Y Bible classes, gospel meetings on Sunday afternoon, personal interview, discussion of life problems with boys and young men, week of prayer observance. “

Notice to members: “Classes for boys ages ten to eighteen are scheduled for the afternoon so that school work will not be interfered with. Boys are not encouraged to spend much time at the building outside their regular class period hours. Parents are requested to keep their boys away from the building as much as possible, except at the scheduled hours or when something special is planned for them. Boys ten to twelve years of age are not permitted in the building after six o’clock. We believe the home is the place for these boys at night.”

Letter to YMCA Boys: “There will not be a midget gym class Saturday morning. All midgets will go on a hike. We will leave the YMCA at 9:30 sharp for a hike to Wild Dog Canyon. Come in your hiking clothes prepared for a big time ‘cause that’s what we are going to have. We will get back to the Y about 2:00 p.m. Bring a lunch already cooked because we are going to be so busy having such a swell time that we won’t have time to cook anything. And listen (I’ll have to whisper this in your ear) there’s going to be a big surprise, something you never dreamed of. And I ‘most forgot the best part of it all, we will have good old swim in the YMCA pool when we get back. For particulars call Mr. Simmons or ‘Chester’ at the YMCA Phone 298.”

Horseshoe Tourney Will Be Staged by Boys of YMCA (Spartanburg Herald, 1924): “The boys’ division of the local YMCA has arranged a horseshoe pitching tournament to be held next week. The tourney will open Monday with the preliminaries and the finals are scheduled to be held Friday. Any youngsters who wish to participate in the matches are to see Mr. Linder, assistant boys’ supervisor, before Monday.”

Membership Drives

On July 15, 1925, YMCA membership drive workers secured 200 new members for the Association. The total paid membership resulted in a new total of over 900 members. The “Easterners” under the leadership of Allen Rogers secured a total of ninety memberships as compared to the eighty-two secured by the “Westerners” under the leadership of R. H. Ferguson. Twenty-eight memberships were sign-ups at the facility. In the “Easterners” division, a team led by T. W. Woodworth led the entire field with twenty-five new memberships. The team of three won handsome silk shirts offered as prizes by Greenewald’s Inc., Cannon & Fetzer, and Harry Price – local merchants. The campaign continued throughout the rest of the year in hopes of reaching a goal of 1000 members.

Depression Years in Spartanburg County

The Association experienced a period of what might be termed a depression from 1926 until 1936 when it seemed difficult to keep the doors open. A debt accrued became an extremely heavy burden. Programs were curtailed to finally nothing at all. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal on May 21, 1989, recalled the memories of a member who saw the lobby of the building rented out as a bus station. Members of the Board, however, stood by the Association through the lean years and simply would not acknowledge defeat.

Reorganization of the Spartanburg YMCA

In 1936, the Association began to feel its way out of the darkness. The members of the Board who knew the force of the YMCA in the city refused to give up on their organization. Mr. R. H. Berry, having served the Columbia (South Carolina) Association for twelve years as Director of Physical Education, came to serve as General Secretary. Programs of work were soon initiated. The dormitory began to fill again. Boys returned.

Pledges to the City of Spartanburg – 1936

Spartanburg Herald-Journal editorial, March 22, 1936: “Several months ago when the YMCA building was restored to the local management by the government which had used it as a home for transients, The Herald said, at that time, that as soon as the plant was repaired and set in order it should again be devoted to the service of the boys and young men of Spartanburg. It is gratifying to know that officers have been elected, a complete reorganization of the ‘Y’ has been perfected and that Tuesday a campaign for memberships will be started. A large group of young men have volunteered their services and it is hoped that before the end of the week a large membership will have been signed and the institution will be able to take up the useful work it performed before the depression crippled it.”

J. Hertz Brown, president of the YMCA: “The Spartanburg Association has been dormant for the past number of years. However, like the seeds that have not been planted, the Association retained the spark which has kept it alive. The seeds need planting to make it spring into life. We pledge, this planting of seeds and their cultivation, to the citizens of this fair city, that if they will again rally to the support of the Association, the harvest will be plentiful.”

A Statement from the YMCA Directors: “The work of our YMCA has been curtailed during the past few years. We are very happy to report that we are now in a position to reestablish the fine program for the youth of our community with the selection of Mr. R. H. Berry from Columbia, South Carolina. He has had a wide experience in boys’ work and program building in general. We are confidently looking forward to many years of usefulness in the development of mind, spirit, and body among the boys and young men of Spartanburg. Of course, this can only be accomplished through the wholehearted support of the citizens in general, and we feel sure this will be demonstrated in our campaign for members on March 24-25.”

J. Hertz Brown, President; S. F. Cannon, Vice President; Professor W. G. Blake, Secretary; R. B. Simms, Treasurer; H. E. Ravenel; Hugh T. Shockley; Ben Hill Brown; Professor J. A. Tillinghast; D. W. Hendrix; Dr. D. Lesesne Smith, Sr.

More “Y” Men, Less “G” Men

Washington, D. C., March 4, 1936

Dear Mr. Berry,

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of recent date in which you advise that your local YMCA will start its annual drive for maintenance funds on March 23, and that the slogan for this drive will be “More Y-Men, Less G-Men.” This slogan is indeed true. A mind occupied with “Y” activities is not likely to have the temptation of joining the ranks of law violators.

I have often noted that those young men who have trained minds and bodies are not only more successful in competing with their fellowmen, but are less likely to be found in the police “lineup” in crime. Recreation from athletics, living cleanly and endeavoring to help the underprivileged to attain better places in life are indeed worthy motives which are sponsored by the YMCAs throughout the country.

Sincerely yours, (Signed) J. Edgar Hoover

Spartanburg YMCA: 1936-1937

“Builds Youth and Christian Character, Promotes Healthful Living”

After about a year of struggling with a two-man staff and attempting to have a full program, the YMCA knew it was time to expand. William Allison of Asheville, North Carolina, became director of Boys’ Work and the program revived and grew. Hi-Y and Gra-Y Clubs worked in conjunction with the city schools – the only Christian clubs in the schools’ extracurricular activities. Their motto was “Character through Service” and their purpose was to create, maintain, and extend throughout the school and community high standards of Christian character. Their platform was clean speech, clean sports, clean scholarship, and clean living. These five clubs had a total membership of eighty boys. A Junior Hi-Y Club was organized to supplement the work of the Senior Hi-Y Club. There were thirty Junior Hi-Y members and fifty Senior Hi-Y members. Their event highlight was a Father and Son Banquet where one hundred fathers and sons attended.

One of the greatest undertakings of the time were the Men’s Meetings. Board member E. F. Cannon lead the committee to bring to Spartanburg a series of Sunday afternoon men’s meetings that were strictly evangelistic and having a weekly attendance from 350 to 500 men. Meetings began in December and lasted for twelve weeks. The YMCA invited evangelical speakers from the city and out of town.

R. L. Collins chaired the social committee to organize social events so that members of all ages could get better acquainted. Roswell Vogel chaired the committee to help plan and organize a young men’s club. Grover Eaker chaired the committee for the boys’ division to oversee all Bible classes and Hi-Y and Gra-Y Clubs.

Mabry Vannerson led the physical department that served both men and boys. During football season, practice for the 100-pound teams was Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. All other football teams practiced Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. A total of eighty boys participated. During basketball season, there were three Sunday School Basketball Leagues for those under eighteen. In the spring there were baseball leagues.

Boxing and wrestling were possible with parents’ permission. Gym classes were for all ages of boys with swimming following each gym class period. Preps (ages nine to eleven) met twice weekly at 3:15 p.m., and on Saturday morning. Juniors (ages twelve to fourteen) met twice weekly at 4:15 p.m., and on Saturday morning. High School Class met Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4:00 p.m. For men, the calisthenics group lasted for thirty minutes. The volleyball group then took to the floor. For those who wanted to exercise by themselves, an individual exercise room was the newest addition. Also for the men, there were commercial leagues, city leagues, and senior basketball.

Learn-to-Swim at the YMCA

George M. Corsan, Sr., from the Detroit (Michigan) YMCA, developed mass swim lessons in 1907. Starting with the crawl stroke, Corsan taught swimming strokes on land as a confidence builder. Perhaps Corsan’s land drills for swimming came about as a result of how swimming had been taught. In the 1890’s, swimming was taught by using a rope and pulley system. Eventually strokes were taught in the pool, but the crawl was not taught until later. Also early YMCA staff viewed swimming as a distraction from the real job of physical development – exercise and gymnastics. Boys in YMCAs, for example, could not use the pool until after they had passed a proficiency test in gymnastics.

Corsan also developed the Learn-to-Swim campaign and using bronze buttons as rewards for swimming proficiency. He gave a button to each boy who swam fifty feet. Corsan’s Learn-to-Swim campaigns resulted in 1909 in the first campaign to teach every boy in the United States and Canada how to swim. Beginning in the 1930’s, a swimming campaign, organized with the help of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, enrolled 300 boys in Spartanburg, South Carolina. One hundred boys learned to swim. Those who did not learn to swim during this special campaign had the opportunity to learn at a regular swim class. The week ended with a demonstration to 250 spectators. Learn-to Swim Campaigns have continued to the present.

Spartanburg YMCA by R. H. Berry

“The work among boys and men is being carried on in increasingly larger numbers. Men again are finding that the YMCA is able to take care of their well being such as no other organization can. Starting with a mere one or two, three years ago, after the reorganization, the Association is now serving about 250 boys, many of whom are underprivileged in the sense that they are not able to pay for their own memberships. No worthy boy is ever turned away from the Association if he does not have the funds to purchase privileges. He is given a membership regardless. These boys are given an opportunity of self expression and are shown that there is someone in the world who is willing to look out for them. Visits are made to their homes and efforts are made to build them into real citizens of the city.”

YMCA of Spartanburg – The 1940’s

The YMCA of Spartanburg had hit upon hard times at the end of the 1920’s when the Depression years added to an increasing debt and brought program deterioration. The building had been almost lost during the 1930’s since many of the building fund pledges were never paid. Use by soldiers of World War I at Camp Wadsworth had left the building in a state of much needed repair.

The YMCA, however, took on a new life when Evans Cannon came to Spartanburg in 1942 to be the Executive Director. The debt on the old building was paid off in 1943. A successful campaign in 1945 to raise $30,000 enabled the YMCA to renovate the building to better serve community members – both male and female. A Health Club was added. Programs were expanded to serve every member of the family on a countywide basis.

YMCA Dormitories

From The Y’s Informer, Spartanburg YMCA, Feb. 9, 1944, Vol. I, # 1: “I hear you are clearing $1,000 a month off of your dormitory,” a prominent citizen said to one of our board members several weeks ago.

The most misunderstood department of the YMCA is its dormitory. In times like today when business is good and housing is a problem, it is natural for an uninformed layman to think that the Y is cleaning up.

The average layman does not know that a YMCA Dormitory is not run for profit, or that its rentals are based upon a cost basis. If our rent doubled and the present cost of operation remained the same, then we might come close to such a profit as suggested by our friend.

The truth is we do stay filled these days with an average monthly income of nearly $1,100 rather than the normal peace time income of $800 per month. However, the increased cost of dormitory supplies and wages has more than offset the increase in revenue, and actually there is less margin of income over expenditure than there was in normal peace times. A YMCA dormitory must be self-sustaining and should have enough left over to keep up the necessary repairs. During the years our small annual surplus has been applied to our building debt, and as a result the condition of the building has deteriorated.

Another misconception concerning a Y Dormitory is that, “It is just a cheap boarding house.” Our dormitory is a home for young men away from home, and a Christian atmosphere permeates through its halls. Young men with small incomes are encouraged to live at the Y as well as a select group of older men to give them counsel and guidance. In normal times the average age of the residents is twenty-one or twenty-two years. Recently the war has taken most of our younger men, and more of the older men have been allowed to move in temporarily. Of our present seventy-six permanent residents, thirty-five are less than twenty-five years of age; twenty-three percent are members of the armed services stationed in the city of Spartanburg; twenty-five percent are civilian workers for the Government; the remainder are college students, office workers, clerks, etc., on salary or limited income. Twelve beds are kept open for men in Service seeking overnight accommodations.

Our residents are invited and urged to join in all of the adult programs of the Association, and many avail themselves of privileges of membership. In addition, special programs such as fellowship meetings, socials, and religious services are held for them. A bedtime Prayer Service held weekly during the winter months is conducted by the residents themselves. Through resident committees new residents are welcomed, and character emphasis is stressed to make the Y a clean place to live in a congenial and homelike atmosphere.

Men of all faiths are welcomed, and in the building today live Catholic, Protestant and Jew. Newcomers are invited and urged to join the church of their choice. The following testimony of appreciation comes from a young sailor in our building: “The YMCA, centrally located with its gymnasium, swimming pool and game room, offers many advantages to residents. I think that the type of men who live in a YMCA are of a higher standard than the average group of men. I have met more men and have more friends here than any other place that I have been in since Service.”

Looking to the Post War Era

The Y’s Informer, Spartanburg YMCA, Mar. 10, 1944, Vol. I, # 2

At the December meeting of the YMCA Board of Directors, a motion was passed giving to the young men in service, who return to our community to live, a three months membership in the YMCA – the membership to date from the day of discharge or for a later period if approved by the General Secretary. The purpose of the membership is to aid in the post war adjustment from soldier to civilian life. During the period immediately following their discharge many adjustments will have to be made by our boys returning home. Some will be temporarily out of employment; others will need help getting back into the hum of community life; nearly all will want to keep physically fit.

Your YMCA will help these men find jobs, give them counsel, extend to them our recreational facilities, and serve them in every possible way during their period of adjustment. This program will be a stupendous task, especially later when the boys are discharged in large numbers, and we will need the wholehearted support of our community in meeting their needs. It is little enough to do for those who have done so much for us.

Already, our boys are being discharged and returning home. They deeply appreciate the service the YMCA is rendering. As one of them expressed it, “It sure is a good feeling to know that folks do care. This is a real welcome home.”

The following incident and personal testimony illustrate how important is the need for serving these young men:

A month ago, a young man in uniform came to our desk and asked what kind of membership could he get for $5.00. The desk clerk explained there was a special membership for soldiers, and he would have to pay very little.

“But I’m not entitled to this,” the young soldier said, “I’ve just been discharged.”

“In that case, you won’t have to pay anything,” the clerk explained and called for our Physical Director who filled out the membership and outlined a schedule of services available.

That afternoon a new member came to the conditioning class. It was soon evident the new member was very much out of condition: he wouldn’t even attempt the bending exercises. After the class he was introduced to the other members. We learned that he had been an electrician before entering service and was discharged because of wounds received by an exploding mine in North Africa.

We were thrilled as he modestly told his experiences and marveled at his enthusiasm as he explained he was getting in condition so he could work. In the locker room a few minutes later we saw the reason for his stiffness during exercise. The mark of war was left upon his body covered with wounds. Ribs were missing, huge scars covered his stomach where pieces of shrapnel had pierced the internal organs, and other scars were evident upon his back. Each wound was to us a medal—a medal of courage and heroism which represented the sacrifice he had made for us folks back home.

Two positions were offered to the young man that day by members attending class. Our Physical Director is now giving him corrective exercises by appointment. He is outspoken in his praise, for this is what he has to say: “I would like to express my appreciation for the three months membership extended to me on my release from the army. Like other soldiers on release, I didn’t have too much money, and there were lots of expenses buying clothes, etc. Also, we do not start drawing compensation for sixty to ninety days. I needed the benefits obtained at the YMCA, and although I couldn’t afford it, I came around to join up, and found that you would give me a three months membership. I appreciate the membership very much as the exercises and recreational facilities will get me back into shape to hold a job. I am going to join your organization when the three months are up.”

Serving Youth

The Y’s Informer, Spartanburg YMCA, Apr. 24, 1944, Vol. I, # 3

The heart of the YMCA is its service to youth. Through clubs, classes and various other groups, 800 boys were active members during the past year and 2,500 different boys and girls were reached through some YMCA activity.

It is the policy of the YMCA never to refuse a worthy boy free service. This program is made possible through the funds of the Welfare Federation and supplemented by interested citizens who become Big Brothers to worthy boys.

The YMCA has a four-fold purpose in its training of Youth—to develop the boy mentally, socially, physically and spiritually. In its physical and recreational activities the YMCA offers a boy freedom in the pursuit of those things in which he is interested under the capable supervision of expert directors. In its educational program boys are taught through hobby interests. In all programs, definite emphasis is placed upon the spiritual growth of youth. Discipline is maintained in every activity. We stress clean sportsmanship, clean speech, clean habits, obedience, cleanliness, loyalty, and unselfish devotion to worthwhile principles.

Our program services to youth are so many and varied it would be impossible to list them all here. However to mention a few statistics will be interesting. There were 1,201 swimming periods with a total attendance of 36,300 boys and 1,218 gym periods with a total attendance of 32,500 boys. One hundred twenty boys learned to swim, and seventeen passed lifesaving. We reached 585 in clubs, 225 in special hobby groups, and 350 in Bible study classes. Two thousand boys and girls were reached through character emphasis programs promoted in the Senior and Junior High Schools where vital problems facing youth today were discussed by the outstanding youth leaders.

Our present program is being maintained despite serious handicaps. Staff shortages and loss of capable volunteer leadership is making the work difficult, but the YMCA is successfully weathering the storm and is looking forward to its opportunities and challenges in the peace which will follow.

The Y’s Informer, Spartanburg YMCA, Jan. 30, 1945, Vol. II, # 1

Ever since our present building was erected in 1913, the Association has been plagued with a tremendous debt which has seriously affected our progress and services to our community. We are glad to announce to you today that the Spartanburg YMCA is free of debt. A committee of D. S. Burnside, Harvey Johnson, Simpson Cannon and Reynolds Crook, along with a select group of laymen who volunteered their services, have worked tirelessly with the General Secretary during the past several months in securing funds to pay the remainder due on our building mortgage. To those of you who have contributed so generously we express our sincere thanks and appreciation. We pledge to you that the next few years will show much progress and more effective work in our program services.

Let us all, however, keep in mind that the total job is not yet done. We have a 1913 building in which to render a 1945 program. Our plumbing and wiring is worn and obsolete. There is much equipment broken, worn, and in need of replacement. If we are to be adequately prepared for our program of the future certain changes in our building must be made. These things can not be done today but the funds must be raised to make these improvements in the post war era. We shall not go in debt to make an improvement no matter how urgent the need.

Your YMCA is owned, operated, and controlled by the citizens of this community. It is managed by a group of local citizens elected to their office, who serve as trustees for the property, determine Association policies and approve its program services. Let each of us remember in the years to come that the YMCA of Spartanburg is our YMCA. When we give, serve, or take part in its work, we are making an investment in something that belongs to us. It can grow or fail as a result of our interest, loyalty, and endeavor. It can be what we want it to be and do what we want it to do. It is not an outside agency seeking to help us, but an Association born within – a result of the visions of leaders who have passed on but whose deeds live on in its work. It is today their heritage to us. By our present deeds we determine what we shall leave to the future.

Board Members at Mortgage Burning – Sitting from left to right: J. F. Brooke, M. W. Vannerson, S. F. Cannon, Reynolds Crook; Standing from left to right: Evans Cannon (YMCA General Secretary), D. S. Burnside, J. Hertz Brown (President), R. B. Simms, Hugh J. Shockley, Spenser Rice, Dr. J. M. Smith


The Y’s Informer, Spartanburg YMCA, Feb. 26, 1945, Vol. II, # 2

Ever since the YMCA invented basketball in 1891, the game has been the most popular of indoor sports. Thousands of boys, girls and men in schools, colleges, YMCAs and other recreational centers throughout this and other countries have enjoyed the sport. Basketball is truly the all-American game and the YMCA’s finest contribution to sports.

Spartanburg YMCA has played basketball for several decades. Many of our citizens have fond memories of the fun they had playing basketball in the YMCA. A visit to the YMCA today when the season is in full swing will give convincing evidence that the game is as popular as ever and increasing in interest. During January and February, 350 boys and men played in 221 games. The Men’s League had five teams with fifty men participating. The Sunday School League had fourteen Sunday Schools entered with 165 high school boys participating. The remaining games included fifteen elementary leagues or class groups. Attendance for the two months was almost 6,000.

Basketball is not confined to January or February but is a year-round activity at the YMCA. Almost any weekday, even in the hot summers, boys can be found shooting baskets or dribbling a ball on the gym floor. It is a character builder through the development of good sportsmanship and clean play. It keeps a young mind keenly alert with its quick action and demand for instantaneous thinking. It develops strong and agile bodies exercising many muscles of the body and demanding perfect muscle coordination. It teaches a player how to get along with others through its keen competition as well as cooperative team play. It is fun recreation and fellowship at its best.

The YMCA seeks to determine the interests of youth to lead boys into clean and useful living. For example, since boys love to play basketball, the Sunday School League was organized for any Sunday School in the city or county that wishes to enter a team. Its purpose is to stimulate Sunday School attendance, as well as to provide recreation, fun, and fellowship. In order to play, a boy must be properly enrolled in the Sunday School for which he plays and maintain an attendance of more than fifty percent. A boy can not drop out of one Sunday School to play for another. However, if he is not enrolled in any Sunday School, he can play by enrolling before the league begins and by maintaining his record of attendance. This year sixty-one boys not attending any Sunday School enrolled to play.

The program not only brings boys into Sunday School but helps to keep boys interested. This means that Sunday Schools have three months in which to interest these sixty-one boys and hold them in their program. Last year most of the boys who enrolled under similar conditions continued as a Sunday School member. All denominations are represented, and through its play the boys at Glendale get to know the boys at First Baptist. The boys at Bethel get to know the boys at Duncan Memorial. It is one of the finest programs that the YMCA sponsors.

Physical Tests for Camp

[Wilson Harrison, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, August 1, 1946]

“An assortment of boys – little, big, suntanned, white, frail, strong, quiet and noisy – eagerly waited in a crowded line for physical examinations this morning at the YMCA gymnasium prior to going to the Big Brother Camp near Saluda for a week of free camping. Dr. John B. Setzler, Director of the Spartanburg County Health Department, examined the boys from head to toe, inspecting ears, mouth, throat, teeth, and testing each one’s heart. The most serious defect found was a rupture.”

“ ‘The lad with the rupture will have a chance to go to camp, but he can’t do anything strenuous,’ Dr. Setzler said. He added that the majority of boys examined needed dental attention. Dr. Setzler advised each boy in need to see a dentist as soon as he returned from camp.”

“The boys were so excited they could not stand still. Even when they sat on the bench to wait examination they had to squirm and shout. One tiny mite passed himself off as eight years old, just old enough to attend the camp. He seemed afraid to speak lest he be refused admittance to the camp. His name and other information were recorded. He’ll be in a new world next week.”

Women and Girls at the Spartanburg YMCA

Spartanburg Herald announcement in 1947: “Approximately thirty Spartanburg women – civic club members, city school faculty, and business and professional women – were guests of the YMCA during ‘open house’ for women on Tuesday night. Following a tour of inspection of the various facilities afforded in the new women’s department, the guests took part in a two-hour program which included swimming, basketball, volleyball, checkers, and ping pong. Mrs. Paul Burrell and members of the Women’s Board of Directors assisted Miss Mary Kneece, women and girls’ secretary.”

Dot Huntsinger, Spartanburg Herald, March 18, 1948: “The first YMCA girls’ director, Miss Mary Kneece has opened to women fields of sports never before offered…Under her supervision, more than 200 women and girls learned to swim in ‘Learn-to-Swim’ classes. Approximately 350 girls are taking advantage of the program each week…Since coming to Spartanburg on February 3, 1947, Miss Kneece has organized five Gra-Y Clubs for fifth and sixth grade students, four Tri-Hi-Y Clubs for junior and senior school students, softball and basketball groups, and physical fitness programs. She conducts a class for housewives each Tuesday and Thursday evening.”

Davis Haines, Spartanburg Herald: “Diana Barrymore was observed Thursday afternoon at a YMCA ping pong game rubbing off the luster of her theater fame. Clad in slacks, an Army officer’s shirt, sandals and a kerchief, Miss Barrymore seemed far away from the stage of the Carolina Theater…but for the few minutes that she was seen, the following impression of the youngest member of the renowned Barrymore family as a girl athlete was noted…Her game is energetic and her serve, when it clears the net, hard to return. Her face mirrors sorrow easily as each point is lost and with contrasting emotion it reflects eagerness as a point is won. Miss Barrymore compares favorably with other women ping pong players. She has a good pair of eyes and keeps them on the ball, which most women find difficult. When in the midst of a volley, she does not become flustered as some women do, thereby losing the point…As on the stage, Miss Barrymore puts on a good show.”