The Clinton Y.M.C.A. is the second Y.M.C.A. facility to be on the site. The first Y.M.C.A was housed in the former residence of A.P. Hosford, one of Clinton’s early lumber barons. The property was purchased by another lumber baron, W.J. Young, remodeled to serve as a Y.M.C.A. and opened in August 1891. It was demolished in November 1904 as part of the construction of the existing building. Bids for the construction of the existing building, designed by John Morrell & Son, were opened on April 15, 1905 and the building was finished on May 1, 1906. That building is 64 feet wide and 120 feet deep. It is located at the northwest corner of 5th Avenue South and South 3rd Street in Clinton with its entrance on the south side of the building facing 5th Avenue South. Another entrance was on the 3rd Street side of the building facing east. It has a symmetrical façade with a large round arch over the entrance. It combines the elements of Neo-classicism with its denticulated cornice and Renaissance Revival with each floor treated in a different manner. It is constructed using brick produced by the Iowa Granite Brick Co., a local company established by the Lamb family, who built the Lamb Block (today the Jacobsen building) located across Third Street to the east. The Lafayette Hotel and the Iten Biscuit Company building as well as a number of houses in Clinton were built using this unique Clinton building material. In the basement, it had a gymnasium that was 40 x 60 feet and a pool measuring 18 x 33 ½ feet as well as dressing rooms, lockers and showers. It has 31 dormitory rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The second floor also had space for checkers, crockinole and chess.
During the approximately 110 years since its construction, a number of alterations have been made to the 1905 building. The original window frames were replaced at the time of the first addition with anodized aluminum windows. To comply with ADA requirements, an elevator was installed just to the west of the main entrance to the building. A separate entrance to the upper floor transitional housing was installed through one of the original windows on the east side of the building. Changes were made to the west side of the building when the first addition was built. Since the time of its construction, the use of the building has changed from the moral and spiritual uplifting of young men to recreational and fitness activities for boys and later, men and women. The interior of the building was not elaborately decorated to begin with and has a utilitarian look and feel.
This building has significance because of its connection to and the involvement of the most significant families in the area at the time of its construction. A.P. Hosford owned the Clinton Lumber Company. His nephew, Schiller Hosford, was married to John Deere’s daughter and their house was situated at the next corner to the west. W.J. Young had the largest sawmill in the world in Clinton at the time of the establishment of the Y.M.C.A. in Clinton. His estate at one time owned both the Clinton Herald (since sold) and the Clinton National Bank (still owned by his estate). The Lamb family was one of the most significant lumber baron family in the area, not only because of the several sawmills they owned, but also because of the other businesses and investments they had in the community.
In 1962 an addition was built. The building permit was dated June 26, 1961. It was designed by Prout Magasis & Johnson. The contractor was Jorgensen & Sons. The foundation is concrete block and the roof is tar & gravel. The architect was R.L.M. Johnson and the contractor was Ringland – Johnson. The exterior walls are brick. The building is two stories. It houses a 28 x 75 ft. swimming pool on the ground level with a 54 x 80 ft gym on the second floor. In addition it has locker rooms, showers, toilet facilities, a weight lifting room and handball courts. It was built on a lot donated by Frank and Louis Iten, sons of the founder of the Iten Biscuit Co. (earlier the Snow White Bakery) which in 1928 merged with a number of other bakeries to become the National Biscuit Co. then Nabisco. This addition is considered to be non-contributing to the significance of the original building.
On October 18, 1977, ground was broken for a second addition, designed by L.M. Johnson in cooperation with YMCA Building and Furnishing Service from Chicago. It was dedicated on November 18, 1978. Its exterior walls are of precast concrete panels with interior walls of glazed tile and brick. This addition has 22,800 sq. ft. of programming area including a warm water swimming pool 25 x 60 ft. that is between 3 ft. and 5 ft. deep holding 50,000 gallons of water, two racquetball courts 20 x 20 x 40 ft., a gymnasium 72 x 88 ft with a 26 ft. ceiling. The track suspended in the gymnasium is 20 laps to the mile. This addition is considered to be non-contributing to the significance of the original building.