It’s the end of an era, as demolition work on the more than 110-year-old former Kroehler YMCA building has begun. But the building’s history will live on in part, thanks to some preservation efforts.
Pieces Of Preservation
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago closed the facility at 34 S. Washington Street in 2020 due to financial hardships. Naperville City Council denied a request for landmark status for the building in February of this year. But the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago says it is working to preserve some elements of the building. Those include the building’s cornerstone, and the lintel over the front door engraved with “YMCA,” which were requested by the undisclosed buyer of the property. That buyer plans to potentially incorporate those two pieces into a future building design.
Commemorative Bricks Available To Public
Naper Settlement and YMCA officials have also collected several artifacts from the building. Among those are 300 original bricks. The community can acquire those for a minimum donation of $112 each. That figure is in honor of the 112 years of the YMCA operating within downtown Naperville, as the building itself was built in 1910. A special plaque inscribed with “Kroehler YMCA 1910-2022” will be affixed to each brick. Those will be made available in the fall of 2022. Those interested can reach out to the Fry Family YMCA at 630-904-9595. Proceeds from the sales will be used for scholarships for those in programs at Fry Family YMCA and Safe ‘n Sound program.
There are also efforts being made by the Naperville YMCA Board of Advisors to collect oral histories about the building, with plans to hold a commemorative event next year.
The demolition itself is being contracted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Full clearance of the site is expected to take thirty days or more.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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