Kroehler YMCA

In 1909 Naperville residents raised more than $26,000 in 15 days for the construction of the Kroehler YMCA. The cornerstone was set on Memorial Day 1910, and the YMCA opened to the public 10 months later.


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 February 15, 2022, Naperville City Council voted 8-1 against local landmark status for the Kroehler YMCA.

The Journey

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".

With the knowledge that YMCAs across the country in places such as Kentucky, New Jersey, Oregon, Los Angeles, and Chicago, had already been converted into productive and profitable new spaces with adaptive reuse, in January, 2021, Naperville Preservation reached out to the owners of the Kroehler Family YMCA with hope for a bold new life for this iconic piece of Naperville. We received no response.

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!  The City of Naperville zoning administrator officially notified the property owners which grants them 60 days to respond.

On January 27, 2022, the Historic Preservation Commission reviewed our petition to designate the Kroehler YMCA as a local landmark. They voted 4-1 against recommending approval of the landmark petition for the Kroehler YMCA.  Certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, but now we will be preparing to make our case before City Council. Some key points regarding our request for local landmark designation are as follows:

On February 15, 2022, Naperville City Council voted 8-1 against local landmark status for the Kroehler YMCA.

Please read some publicity about the closing and the landmark application: 

The Result

After Naperville City Counci; February 15, 2022 against local landmark status for the Kroehler YMCA, the is cleared to be razed after permits are approved. The Kroehler YMCA was demolished in July of 2022 after having served out community for 113 years.