Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) 163 years ago today, December 29, 1851, the first Young Men's Christian Association or YMCA in the United States was founded here in Boston by Captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan (1800-1859).
Captain Sullivan, a marine missionary, sought to provide a "home away from home" for young sailors on leave in the city.
The YMCA, today an organization of 57 million members, had been founded in London, England by George Williams in 1844. The stated purpose of the original organization was to help young Christian men develop their "bodies, minds and spirits."
By 1851, YMCAs had been established in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland as well as the United States.
Captain Sullivan set up his YMCA in the Old South Church in Boston. By 1853, the Boston YMCA had 1500 members who paid annual membership fees to use the facilities and services of the association.
In 1895, the Evening Institute of the Boston YMCA, predecessor to Northeastern University, was established. Since 1913, the Boston YMCA has been located on Huntington Avenue.