Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Syracuse from 1952 showing the location of the YMCA

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Street view of YMCA

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Post Card from Onondaga County Public Library collection

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Known Name(s)



340 Montgomery St. Syracuse, NY 13202

Establishment Type(s)

Tourist Home

Physical Status



The Syracuse YMCA was built in the first decade of the 1900s as a five-story "fireproof" building with a steel frame and brick walls on the lot next to the First Baptist Church. It was enlarged in 1955 and updated with a new facade. The new building is seven stories with visually dominating horizontal bands faced with red brick separating the floors. Between the bands on floors 2-7 are recessed areas, buff in color, with tall sets of paired operable windows. At the time of the earliest Green Book entries, the building was equipped with automatic sprinklers, wired glass skylights, and brick enclosed elevators acording to Sanborn maps.

Detailed History

The Syracuse Downtown YMCA Building opened in 1907 and is the only Green Book listed business in Syracuse still in operation. The city's original YMCA was established in 1858 by pastors from seven of Syracuse's churches and has existed in some form since then. The YMCA officially passed a resolution banning discrimination in 1967, but many individual locations were establishing Black Ys or becoming integrated by the 1920s. This is likely why the Syracuse YMCA was listed in the Green Book. The Y is located in a neighborhood that was largely made up of businesses and civic organizations such as churches during the 1950s. Adjacent to Syracuse First Baptist Church, the Y building shared a street with the Masonic Temple, a bank, and a parish house, among other organizations. This building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980 as a contributing resource in the Montgomery Street-Columbus Circle Historic District.

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