The 4 story building is clad in red brick and has a mansard roof.

The second YWCA building in West Baltimore remains standing and is a condominium.

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Known Name(s)

YWCA Madison Street


1916 Madison Avenue Baltimore, Maryland

Physical Status


Detailed History

The second YWCA for African American women occupied the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation's Synagogue House, demonstrating how the neighborhood was changing from the 1930s through the 1950s as African Americans purchased buildings from Jews who were moving to northwest Baltimore. The YWCA made a significant commitment to the area. It raised $100,000 during the World War II years of 1942-44 for the building's renovation. Architect Albert Irvin Cassell (1895-1969), a Baltimore-based architect who designed many of Howard and Morgan State University's buildings, provided the plans to change the Hewbrew Congregation's Synagogue House. The new design enabled the YWCA to house up to 20 permanent residents and 18 transient guests. During World War II, when people worked around the clock and beds were shared in shifts, a single bed in a shared room was a luxury.

In 1956, Harry Belafonte with an interracial dance troupe arrived to perform at the Poly High School Auditorium. The group had reservations at the local Stafford Hotel, but the African Americans were refused rooms. They used the YWCA Madison Avenue auditorium for dance practice and Mr. Belafonte relaxed in a room at the Druid Hill YMCA.

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