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Northwest
3700 Ashland City Hwy, Nashville, TN 37218
615-242-6559
Today's 5 a.m.-9 p.m.
Directions | More Hours

Northwest

615-242-6559
3700 Ashland City Hwy, Nashville, TN 37218
Today's 5 a.m.-9 p.m.
Directions | More Hours

Celebrating the Rich History of the Northwest Y

January 30, 2019

From Santa's arrival by helicopter in 1974 to launching the Titans statewide caravan in 2017, the Northwest Family YMCA has a rich and varied history in the Bordeaux community. This month, we celebrate that history.

Prior to the racially turbulent 1960s, Nashville still had a Colored YMCA Association in the northern part of town. In 1966, this association merged with the newly-formed North Branch YMCA, located on North Jefferson Street, where staff and volunteers led arts programs and, in cooperation with Fisk University, began a recreational program at the Juvenile Detention Center.

In the summer of 1969, the first phase of the new facility opened and included a swimming pool—Nashville’s first pool for blacks. To celebrate the pool opening, the Y welcomed the community for two days of free swimming with more than 2,000 people turning out. Later, the pool would be the site of the “Cool in the Pool” programs which were implemented to teach inner-city youth to swim.

Renamed the Bordeaux-North Branch YMCA, the center’s grand opening in the existing location took place on May 12, 1973, and the building featured offices, a game room, club rooms, and a multi-purpose room.

Other highlights from the Northwest Y’s history include the following:

  • The Bordeaux-North Branch Y became known for teen program development as the center developed and operated a unique crime prevention program– the Model Cities Program–with numerous sites throughout North Nashville.
  • In 1979, the center’s name changed once more to the Northwest Family YMCA.
  • The YMCA Black Achievers Program originated at the Northwest Family YMCA in 1993-1994, allowing students to establish mentoring relationships with Adult Achievers. The program later expanded throughout Middle Tennessee.
  • Through a generous donation from the Wilson Foundation in 1995, the Northwest Family YMCA expanded, adding a gymnasium, indoor track, saunas, and steam rooms.
  • In 2011, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee dedicated a renovated and expanded Northwest Y.

In a predominately African-American community, the Northwest Family YMCA continues to be successful in breaking down barriers and bringing people of all ages and races together. By providing financial assistance to approximately half of its members, as well as the ability to learn, grown, and thrive, the Northwest Family YMCA remains accessible to everyone.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee

Association Office
1000 Church St.
Nashville, TN 37203
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