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Union Mission (Navy YMCA)

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1906–1911, Louis Eugene Jallade. 130 Brooke Ave.

Somewhat forlorn looking at present, this Renaissance Revival building stands at what was once the center of Norfolk's bustling social scene. The building originally housed the Navy YMCA, providing sailors with offshore recreational opportunities and overnight accommodations. Funded by a $250,000 gift from John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and designed by Louis Eugene Jallade, from New York, it proved to be a prescient undertaking. With the expansion of the navy in Hampton Roads during the world wars, the building assumed a key position in the social lives of unmarried men and women in Norfolk, many of whom were experiencing the lure of the city for the first time. A 1953 newspaper account claimed that foot traffic in and out of the arcaded entrance to the Navy Y was so heavy that the granite steps had been replaced seven times. In 1972, following the consolidation of the navy and civilian branches of the Y, the building was purchased by the Union Mission, a Protestant charitable organization. It now serves as a shelter.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Union Mission (Navy YMCA)", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 409-410.

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