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The 80-year-old YMCA sign flickered back to life in 1994 after years of darkness. Overlooking Huntington Avenue, the landmark sign illuminates the YMCA’s historical legacy and its hope for a bright future. Photo courtesy of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Boston (M13), University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, Northeastern University.

As the YMCA paid attention to new communities, it ignored the needs of its old buildings. Pipes rusted. Walls crumbled. A fire ripped through the hallways of the Huntington Avenue building in 1990, requiring a massive renovation. With the building still in need of repair, the YMCA agreed in 2010 to make space for a 17-story Northeastern residence hall if the university would help finance a multimillion-dollar renovation project in return. Not everyone was happy about this—some members protested the demolition of the historic gym. But the finished product, a spanking-new, state-of-the-art facility, will help the Y uphold its longstanding mission: promoting the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of Bostonians.

« The 80-year-old YMCA sign flickered back to life in 1994 after years of darkness. Overlooking Huntington Avenue, the landmark sign illuminates the YMCA’s historical legacy and its hope for a bright future. Photo courtesy of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Boston (M13), University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, Northeastern University.