In 1909 Peter Kroehler led the campaign to build a YMCA in Naperville, and just fifteen days later Naperville residents had donated $26,260 to build the Y! This exemplifies the spirit of the people of Naperville. In a story repeated across America, the YMCA represents a key time in Naperville’s history, when it was transforming itself from an agricultural community to a small city with businesses and factories. When young men moved from farms and countryside to live and work in Naperville, they would stay at the YMCA.
For over 100 years, the Kroehler YMCA was home to swimming lessons, athletics, and shelter provided by the YMCA. On June 1, 2020, the Kroehler Family YMCA closed operations due to the economic stess of the panademic, "rising costs of maintaining an aging building, and declining membership and program enrollment".
It is time to envision a bold new life for this iconic piece of Naperville. YMCAs across the country in places such as Kentucky, New Jersey, Oregon, Los Angeles, and Chicago, have already been converted into productive and profitable new spaces with adaptive reuse.
Naperville Preservation has been in contact with the building owners as to future plans and more recently has been proceeding independently regarding landmark designation opportunities. Please follow the journey below.
In August, 2021, Naperville Preservation submitted a preliminary National Register Evaluation form to recognize the building, but the application could not proceed because of lack of crucial information such as details about the building’s interior. (The owners would not allow interior access.) The building is already within a National Register Historic District, but it is not designated as a structure of special significance.
On September 24, 2021, Naperville Preservation filed an official application for local landmark designation for the 1910 Kroehler YMCA! Next steps: The City of Naperville zoning administrator will notify the property owners, and they will have 60 days to respond. While we are waiting...you can watch this great video of Kroehler YMCA’s 100-year anniversary!
If you would like to received updates or lend your voice, please contact us.
The end of this story has not yet been written! Stay tuned for more news from Naperville Preservation.