Grand Rapids RR YMCA

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Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby Super Chief » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:41 pm

I have had this question in my mind for a while. I have a brass fob with " R.R.Y.M.C.A. Grand Rapids, Mi. 65 Valise". Did GR have a RR YMCA? My father-in-law fired for the GR&I from Ft. Wayne to GR and I thought he stayed at rooming houses on Burton or Division St.? Did Pere Marquette RR have a YMCA available to them? If so what street was the RR YMCA on? Was a RR one only for crews vs. a regular YMCA for all? Would all railroaders stay at the same one? Hughart yard was his terminal. Thanks for any info on this.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby trnwatcher » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:07 pm

Super Chief wrote:I have had this question in my mind for a while. I have a brass fob with " R.R.Y.M.C.A. Grand Rapids, Mi. 65 Valise". Did GR have a RR YMCA? My father-in-law fired for the GR&I from Ft. Wayne to GR and I thought he stayed at rooming houses on Burton or Division St.? Did Pere Marquette RR have a YMCA available to them? If so what street was the RR YMCA on? Was a RR one only for crews vs. a regular YMCA for all? Would all railroaders stay at the same one? Hughart yard was his terminal. Thanks for any info on this.

There was a YMCA at Wyoming Yard. The buildings sat just south of where the current diesel house set. They burned down back in the 40's I think.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:18 am

Thanks I see GR had two YMCAs. The RR was in Wyoming yard snd the other on Pearl St. downtown was multi-story. I guess I've never seen pictures of the PM building.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby kenN » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:58 am

I have seen pictures of the fire at the Wyoming Yard YMCA which were taken, I think, by John Millhaupt who was a photographer for the old GR Herald newspaper. Perhaps his son Fritz can elaborate.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby fmilhaupt » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:45 pm

Somewhere around here I have a scan of the photo Dad shot of the Christmas Eve fire that destroyed the YMCA at Wyoming Yard, but it is eluding me at the moment.

The fire was believed to have been caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette that touched off paper in a wastebasket. The only fatality was the infant son of the caretaker.

Here is the building in better days.

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from the Fritz Milhaupt Collection, PMHS Archive
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby kd_1014 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:15 pm

Are you guys talking about a the sports complex YMCA? Or is there some sort of YMCA that railroads built?
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby SD80MAC » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:25 pm

kd_1014 wrote:Are you guys talking about a the sports complex YMCA? Or is there some sort of YMCA that railroads built?

The YMCAs of today are not quite how they used to be. Historically, the YMCA was a place where you could stay, have a hot meal, and they would help you get back on your feet if you were having a rough time. The song by The Village People alludes to this. Many railroad yards had YMCAs that would also double as a place for crews to stay in the days before dedicated crew lodging. Sometime in the 1980s the YMCAs began to morph into what they are today, basically sports complexes and swimming pools.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby Super Chief » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:20 pm

Thank you so much for posting the picture of it. I'm sure it got used a lot by the crews. So the brass fob does have a home. As for my father-in-law employed by the GR&I I'm sure then he stayed in rooming houses in Ft. Wayne and Grand Rapids. Burton and Division streets he mentioned quite a few times.
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby kd_1014 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:11 pm

SD80MAC wrote:
kd_1014 wrote:Are you guys talking about a the sports complex YMCA? Or is there some sort of YMCA that railroads built?

The YMCAs of today are not quite how they used to be. Historically, the YMCA was a place where you could stay, have a hot meal, and they would help you get back on your feet if you were having a rough time. The song by The Village People alludes to this. Many railroad yards had YMCAs that would also double as a place for crews to stay in the days before dedicated crew lodging. Sometime in the 1980s the YMCAs began to morph into what they are today, basically sports complexes and swimming pools.


Thanks for the info
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Re: Grand Rapids RR YMCA

Unread postby Doktor No » Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:22 pm

The old heads at work said it was off of Freeman St where todays auto parts yard and the piggyback ramp is/was.
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