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Friends of Narberth history
Friends of Narberth History
Views of Narberth Past

New YMCA, about 1910

Image source: Postcard photographed and published by Philip H. Moore, Philadelphia; collection of the Lower Merion Historical Society

Addresses in view: 105 Forrest Ave., 113 Forrest Ave.

modern view of the historical image seen from the same viewpoint

The cornerstone is dated 1908. The building still stands and although its Forrest Avenue facade has been obscured by a two-story storefront, look up to see its classical pediment.

The YMCA struggled financially from its inception and finally ceased its association activities May 1, 1920. The building retained its vital role in civic life. It had provided a location for the Narberth branch of the Red Cross during World War I. It housed the fledgling Narberth Community Library in its lobby, then from 1921 to 1926, when it moved into the new Community Building on Windsor Avenue.

Annual Announcement and Handbook of the Young Men's Christian Association, Narberth, Pennsylvania, Season 1911-1912 (PDF)

In 1923, the building was purchased by the Merion Title and Trust Co., which intended to re-model it as a second branch. After the determination that its charter confined it to operating within Lower Merion Township, in March 1925 they constructed a new building on the southeast corner of Haverford and Narberth avenues, just outside the borough.

brick building with 2 classical pediments on left; storefronts on 1st floor right side
This early postcard showing the Haverford Avenue store fronts has a 1919 postmark. A. M. Simon postcard, Union Square, New York; collection of David M. Lockwood
front of ymca, man standing in doorway
An alternative printing of the postcard, re-colored. The note was handwritten by Narberth Community Library founder Elizabeth Wood: "Y.M.C.A. Building, Library first in lobby, then in gymnasium". Narberth Community Library

A one-story storefront was added on Forrest Ave. before 1929 (you can see it in this 1929 aerial photo). It rose to the second story we know today between 1953 and 1970.