Anthony Bowen YMCA (Twelfth Street YMCA)

This was the first full-service metropolitan building erected for the African-American YMCA, and one of the oldest of a remaining handful of locations.

Home of the nation's first African-American chapter of the Young Men's Christian Association, founded in 1853 by educator, religious leader, and formerly enslaved Anthony Bowen (1809-71) to provide educational, social, and recreational services to men and boys. The building was designed thanks to the major commission of W. Sidney Pittman, one of the nation's first African-American architects and construction (1908-1912) was instigated by Samuel W. Woodward, supported with funds from philanthropists John D. Rockefeller and Julius Rosenwald, matched by a local Capital Campaign. The cornerstone was laid by Theodore Roosevelt. As one of the city's most influential social service organizations, the YMCA was active in community causes and the civil rights movement. The YMCA was rededicated to Bowen in 1973 and closed in 1985. It is 4 stories and reflects the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

DC designation: April 29, 1975
National Register listing: October 3, 1983
National Historic Landmark designation: October 12, 1994
Within Greater U Street HD



1816 12th Street, NW