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YWCA Berkeley Residences

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1907, Howard S. Chandler; 1954, Kilham, Hopkins, Greeley and Brodie. 40 Berkeley St.
  • YWCA Berkeley Residences (Keith Morgan)

Founded in 1866, the nation's first YWCA built its earliest permanent quarters here in 1884. George Meacham designed a brick six-story structure that accommodated 156 residents and provided the country's first YWCA gymnasium. The South End location was chosen to be near the Park Square railroad station, convenient for women arriving in Boston. With increased popularity, the facility expanded in 1907, adding 35 bedrooms in the surviving seven-story brick addition along Gray Street. When the original building was declared unsafe in 1950, fund-raising began for a modern residence. The replacement eight-story, L-shaped building, constructed of variegated gray brick with strong horizontal bands of slate panels in a very characteristic 1950s dormitory composition, overlooks a walled courtyard garden. Other institutional buildings surround the Y, including the Franklin Institute, opposite at 41 Berkeley Street. Diagonally across at 49 Berkeley stands the Magna Building, originally Theodore Parker Memorial Hall (1872–1873; 1974–1975, Boston Architectural Team), a Unitarian church with the auditorium on the second and third floors. It later served as a Jewish community center (hence the Star of David remains in the central window) and as the Magna Film Company before conversion to apartments.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "YWCA Berkeley Residences", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 132-133.

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