Kroehler YMCA

Naperville Preservation believes in a new vision for the iconic Kroehler YMCA and has applied for local landmark designation.

  • 9/30/21 NCTV17: Naperville Preservation Files For Kroehler YMCA Landmark Status

  • 9/10/21 Chicago Tribune: Naperville Preservation Inc. plans to pursue local landmark status for the downtown Kroehler Family YMCA after hitting a snag in its efforts to add the 100-year-old building to the National Register of Historic Places.

  • 3/3/17 NCTV: Kroehler YMCA Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Please contact us and join our mailing list to receieve updates and lend your voice.

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.

History

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 more about the journey below.

The Journey

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.

If you would like to received updates or lend your voice, please contact us and join our mailing list. Read some publicity about the application:

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:

The Result

The end of this story has not yet been written! Stay tuned for more news from Naperville Preservation.