Historic Structures

Glenarm Branch YMCA (Glenarm Recreation Center), Denver Colorado

Date added: January 14, 2010 Categories: Colorado

The significance of the Glenarm Branch of the Denver Young Men's Christian Association (Glenarm Recreation Center) lies in its association with Denver's black population and their history.

For many of the building's fifty-seven years of existance, it was the only place in Denver to provide athletic and recreational facilities for the black community as well as educational programs, employment counseling, lodging rooms, a branch of the Denver Public Library. The building also provided space for the neighborhood to hold numerous organizational and community meetings and social functions.

The newspapers of the late l92Ds referred to the Glenarm. Y as the "town hall of Five Points", the "social headquarters" and a "school of good citizenship". It was the recreational and social center for Denver's black population.

During World War II, the Glenarm Y was a hospitality and recreation center for the black military personnel and war workers who had moved into the Denver area. After the building was sold to the city in 1967, it continued to serve the recreational needs of the Five Points neighborhood as the Glenarm Recreation Center, and was used in that capacity until it was demolished in 1982 (in order to be replaced with a new facility).

The decision for demolition of the old structure was based on the following reasons:

  • The old building is inadequate and additions to the existing building
  • are impossible due to its location on the site.
  • The building has a number of building code violations which are not correctable through remodeling.
  • The cost of remodeling is prohibitive and would cost more than the construction of a new building.