A WONDERFUL CHANGE
From Room 13 Post Office Block in a Decade the Y.M.C.A. Transfer to a Three Story Brick Block. The History.
change!” has been a characteristic of Cedar Rapids people ever since it
became a village. A change however which has always been growth and
improvement, advancement, enlargement, progression. Our historian…the
city directory…tells us that when Robt. Ellis came fifty years ago he
found no small portion of Cedar Rapids asleep in a garden patch in the
person of Phillip Hull, but that never since that time was Cedar Rapids
found knapping. Then the west side, then “Kingston,” name in honor of
David W. King, father of Alderman King, attracted the larger number of
inhabitants. Osgood Shepherd was the first white settler on the east
side as was Wm. Stone on the west. Mrs. Shepherd was the first white
woman who graced the east side, and Mrs. Gainor the west side and that
was but forty-eight years ago, a long time it seems to the young people
of the city, but short in the memories of such men as Mr. Ellis and
other old settlers. Then came the Greenes, the Browns, the Daniels, the
Earls, the Mansfields, and the Weares. Isaac Cook was the first lawyer.
Rev Searles, father of Capt. Searles, preaches the first sermon here.
The post office was established in 1847 with Joseph Greene post master.
In that same year the first school house was built and in it the
religious worship was held and debating society. In 1842 the first
steamboat the “Maid of Iowa” arrived, and in 1843 the original plat of
the city was filed and the charter of the city was approved in 1856.
what a change! Twenty thousand people, 100 manufacturing and jobbing
institutions, over twenty churches and nearly as many school buildings,
with all the facilities of modern improvement! These scattering
thoughts have been suggested by the exercises of tomorrow in connection
with the laying of the corner stone of the new Young Men’s Christian
Association building. That institution has had as remarkable a growth
perhaps as any institution in the city.
year was an eventful one for the Young Men’s Christian Association in
Cedar Rapids. Early in that year the attention of the international
committee through its western secretary, Robert Weidlnesall was called
to this place and March, 1876 found a few men in the Lutheran church
near the Troy laundry, considering the advisability making an effort to
save young men.
little company was one who always took a great interest in the welfare
of the young, and that one was called to take charge of the work, and
he, Mr. T. M. Sinclair, was made its first president and under his wise
counsel the Association was placed on its feet. The second president of
the association was J.C. Broeksmit and from that time to this the
organization has had one to whom it could go in its time of need. For
two years Mr. Broeksmit consented to serve them as their president.
’79 Mr. O.H. Adams was called to be the executive officer. During that
year a good deal of religious work was done, and it was during this
year that the association had its first state secretary. At the next
annual election Henry Rickel was called to the presidency, and served
the association one year.
the annual meeting March, ’81, Mr. George Larrimer was asked to serve
as its president and did so till October of that year. On the return of
the delegates from the state convention held at Burlington, a special
meeting was held and the matter of doing more aggressive and broader
young men’s work was discussed and it was decided to change the course
somewhat. Mr. Wm. Waterhouse was asked to lead in the good work. During
the four years which Mr. Waterhouse had the presidency the work took
different shape. From No. 13, post office block they moved to room 38
First Avenue and it was here that they called their first general
secretary, Mr. H. G. Smead a man who was very successful, laying a good
broad foundation for the Y.M.C.A. work. Mr. Smead spent fourteen months
with this association and was called to another field of labor. From 38
First Avenue the association moved into the spacious rooms on Third
Street, rooms 13 and 14 and shortly after the present general secretary
took charge of the work.
these quarters they attempted to do the four fold work that the
association proposes to do for young men. Here they remained nearly
four years. As the work developed it was apparent to the Board of
Managers that it was impossible to do in rented rooms what was proposed
to be done by the Y.M.C.A.
October 1885 Mr. C. B. Weeks took the presidency and is still the
incumbent of the office. These years have been years of trial and
disappointment as well as encouragement.
was during the monthly meetings of 1886 that the subject of building
was discussed by the board of managers. The first move made was by J.A.
Dunlap who secured the refusal of a lot of land of E. K. Larimer on, a
term of years to put up a temporary building. And then a most generous
gift came from Mrs. T. M. Sinclair. It was then deemed best to hold a
mass meeting and to ask the people of Cedar Rapids for a home. J.V.
Farwell, of Chicago, was invited to our city and spoke in Green’s opera
house Sunday April 17, 1887, in the interests of the association. At
that meeting a committee of twelve was created to secure funds for this
organization and afterward the number was increased to thirty.
canvass for funds was commenced in May and the amount asked for at the
mass meeting ($20,000) was secured by the following October. After the
close of the canvass there were several offers for location. It was
largely through Mr. C. G. Greene’s liberally that this very desirable
lot came into the possession of the association. In Sept. 1877, the
association saw the necessity of being, legally able to hold property
of its own, and asked for an incorporation Sept. 24, 1887.
board of trustees are: J.C. Broeksmit, C. B. Soutter, P.C. Frick,
Sydney E. Lindair, E.K. Larimer, J.R. Morin, Wm. Krebs, A.B. Reed, C.G.
Greene, Wm. Buchanan, C.B. Weeks and A.S. Lawrence.
As the work grew the association increased its officers from ten to fifteen so that now the officers are:
C. B. Weeks, President
O. H. Adams, Vice President
A. E. Kurtz, Treasurer
L. A. Brewer, Secretary
C. D. Jordan, General Secretary
of Managers: J.J. Powell, B.H. Witwer, S.S. Dowart, J.R. Campbell, H.D.
Cone, F.H. Whiting, George Gladfelter, E. H. Taylor, E.R. Moore, J.W.
The laying of
the corner stone occurs tomorrow at 2 p.m. Governor Larrabee has
consented to be present and the following program has been arranged for:
Myers’ bank; reading of scripture, Rev. Stattou; prayer, Rev.
B.O.Aylesworth; address, Dr. Marshal; music, male chorus; laying of
corner stone, Mrs. C. B. Soutter; music; address, Gov. Larrabee; music,
“Praise God from Whom all Blessing Flow.” Mr. J. C. Broeksmit will have
charge of the exercises of the afternoon.
Source: The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA, 11 Sep 1888, pg. 4