• 1893


    The YWCA in Duluth was founded.

  • 1900

    Classes and Safe Housing Offered

    Every third girl in the state of Minnesota between the ages of 16-20 was a wage earner. The YWCA was concerned for the safety of these young girls as they left home and entered the job market. Classes in typing, bookkeeping, and domestic service were offered and a building that would provide safe housing was designed and built.

  • 1908

    Main Building Built

    The main building at 202 W 2nd St. was built in 1908 at a cost of $130,000. It included a residence, a lunchroom, a pool and fitness area and meeting rooms.

  • 1909

    Construction Completed

    Construction was completed and dedicated on June 6th, 1909.

  • 1909

    Lunchroom Opens

    The lunchroom opened in 1909 and served 370 meals a day.

  • 1913

    YWCA and Immigration

    Over 1800 immigrant girls became lost between New York and the Midwest in 1913. To address that, a Traveler’s Aid was sponsored by the YWCA and an average of 700 trains a month were met at the Duluth Depot. Housing, English classes, and information about employment were offered to immigrant girls.

  • 1981

    Project S.O.A.R.

    Project S.O.A.R. for displaced homemakers was established at the YWCA and provided employment, health, and recreational programming.

  • 1918

    Girl Reserves Program

    In 1918 the Girl Reserves were established for high school girls to provide them with instruction on home, community, interracial and international relations.

  • 1918

    Women Entering the Railway Workforce

    In 1918 the Duluth Street Railway Company began to hire female streetcar conductors with the help and leadership of the YWCA.

  • 1921

    Blue Triangle Club Formed

    The businesswomen of Duluth organized the Blue Triangle Club, which was a part of the Federation of Business and Professional Clubs.

  • 1993

    100th Anniversary

    The YWCA became a partner in the Building For Women and celebrated its 100th anniversary!

  • 1921

    International Institute Established

    The International Institute was established to meet the needs of recently arrived immigrants. Local female workers who spoke foreign languages visited the immigrant families, taught them English and employment skills, and worked to provide a warm welcome to Duluth.

  • 2004

    Women of Distinction Awards

    The YWCA launches the Women of Distinction awards.

  • 1930

    The Blue Triangle Club discussed disarmament and studied foreign policy and national defense. And Traveler’s Aid continued to be very active during the 1930’s.

  • 1930

    YWCA Classes

    Clinics and classes held at the YWCA included counseling on marriage, home problems, and child rearing.

  • 1946

    Women in the Workforce

    Women who had worked during the war as a necessity were reluctant to give up their positions when the war closed. In 1946 a meeting was held between the American Federation of Labor and the Duluth Business and Industrial Women’s Club to advocate a better wage and social security for working women.

  • 1947

    International Folk Festival Started

    In 1947 the International Folk Festival was started to celebrate the rich ethnic communities in Duluth.

  • 1954

    Y-Wives and Clubs

    Y-Wives, a social service club for young married women was organized in 1954. Clubs for working girls, teens, and golden age groups were formed out of the Y-Wives club.

  • 1955

    24/Hour Aid

    The YWCA began providing 24 hour aid and refuge to stranded women and children due to death or divorce.

  • 1962

    Solo Parent Club Program

    YWCA programs expanded to include widowed, separated, and divorced parents in the Solo Parent Club.

  • 1962

    Arrowhead Council Formed

    The Arrowhead Council, headed by the Director of the YWCA, was established to address wage and training issues for the equality of working women.

  • 1970

    Human Rights Commission

    The YWCA’s commitment to eliminate racism drew them into the process of establishing a Human Rights Commission.

  • 1973

    Little People's Child Care Center Opens

    The Little People’s Center was established at the YWCA in 1973. This was the precursor to the current-day child care centers. The YWCA’s programs stressed self-development and growth as increasing concern focused on identity and individuality.

  • 1974

    Big Sister's Program

    The Big Sister’s Program was established in 1974 and was the first “mentoring” program. The YWCA was a leader in the efforts for equality for women and people of color.

  • 1913

    Exploring New Cultures

    Interest in cultural diversity took shape with numerous evenings to “explore a foreign country”. This was a forerunner to the YWCA International Folk Festival.

  • 1984

    First Mother's Day Walk/Run

    Breast Cancer awareness began to grow and the Mother’s Day Walk/Run had its first event in 1984.

  • 1990

    Working Parent's Resource Center

    A Working Parent’s Resource Center, Summer Day Camp and a child care drop-in center for children aged 6-12 were established.

  • 1992

    The YWCA child care program added toddlers.

  • 1931

    War and Unemployment

    Concerns over the prospect of war led the YWCA to look at new ways to reduce unemployment among women and girls; helping women find jobs as far away as Chicago.

  • 1941

    The Effect of WWII and Outreach Efforts

    WWII greatly influenced the programs at the YWCA. USO parties were held at the YWCA and there was significant outreach efforts made to families of service men and women.

  • 1995

    Breast Cancer Awareness

    Beginning in 1995, Encore Plus established a national partnership between the YWCA, Avon Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the St. Louis County Health Department to help increase breast cancer awareness and early screening. The program later expanded to include health and wellness programming.

  • 2000

    After-school Programs Start

    The YWCA continued its support of working women through child care, seminars on workplace issues and workplace advocacy. After School programming for girls and youth was started as a means to support youth, provide positive role models and support working parents. The YWCA provides housing, child care, health and wellness programs, school enrichment programs and mentoring for girls and youth and activities that address racial justice and gender equality.

  • 2003

    Spirit Valley Facility Opens

    The YWCA opened the Spirit Valley facility which houses an early childhood education center and apartments for young mothers and their child, who were homeless or about to be homeless.

  • 2007

    Police Accountability

    The YWCA joins the Task Force for Improved Police Community Accountability.

  • 1951

    The Duluth USO and Travelers Aid remained active at the YWCA.

  • 2010

    YWCA Joins the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI)

    The YWCA joins the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) to change the underlying causes of the dis-proportionality of juveniles of color in secure detention (high rate of American Indian and African American girls).

  • 2008

    Moved to the Building for Women

    The YWCA sells the historic building to the American Indian Community Housing Organization for a residence for American Indian families and a community center. The YWCA then moves its Administrative Offices to the Building For Women, which it now co-owns with the Women’s Health Center and the Program To Aid Victims of Sexual Assault.

  • 2009

    Girls Inc. Program

    The YWCA partners with the YWCA of Minneapolis to become an affiliate of Girls Inc. and begins to use three of their curricula in the GirlPower! and Young Mother’s programs.

  • 2009

    25th Anniversary of the Mother's Day Walk/Run

    The YWCA celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Mother’s Day Walk Run.

  • 2010

    117 Years

    The YWCA’s completes a history exhibit for the Administrative Office that showcases 117 years of programming.

  • 2011

    Un-Fair Campaign Launches

    The YWCA begins to develop the Un-Fair Campaign and recruits partners for the Campaign. The partner Campaign is launched in the fall of 2011 and the public Campaign is launched in January of 2012.

  • 2012

    Habitat Program

    The YWCA collaborates with the Duluth School District to continue the Habitat program so that teen parents in high school can stay in school.

  • 2013

    10th Anniversary of Spirit Valley and Women of Distinction

    The YWCA Spirit Valley facility celebrates its ten-year anniversary and is re-dedicated. Additionally, the YWCA’s annual Women of Distinction celebration of women’s leadership, celebrates the ten year anniversary as well.

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