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Steel Works YMCA

The Legacy of Building Health, Happiness and Fellowship

Simone Lenzini & Marion Massey , Author

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The Steelworks "Y" was of great importance for many years. The "Y" brought happiness, ideas, and enjoyment to the Steelworks Laborers and their families. Not only did this facility hold intramural sports, social banquets and hosted educational classes, but it is also known as one of the most outstanding educational centers of its time.  The "Y" blossomed an Americanization program that gained national attention.  Pueblo, which at the time was known as the "industrial hub of the west"  attracted thousands of immigrant families.  Most of the South of Pueblo was made up of colonies of emigrants.  Many emigrants would stay within their own neighborhoods due to language barriers and lacking the knowledge of American customs.  The Steelworks "Y" helped the emigrants to overcome segregated seclusion, and provided a familial sense of community.

Americanization classes were held so people of foreign countries could become naturalized and participate fully in citizenship.  Wives would learn how to sew, cook, clean and enjoy the American lifestyle by participating in classes at the "Y".  The "Y" was known for providing a sense of togetherness throughout its community, which allowed for children to grow up in a more gentle, and conducive atmosphere, especially during the war years. 

The Steel "Y" was a victim of change in the world of industry.  The Act known as the Wagner Act outmoded Rockefeller's plan of employee representation.  This was a contributing factor to the ending days of the YMCA. . 

On April 1,1949 CF&I sold the Steelworks "Y" to Karl Walter and Charles Greco.  They tried to continue the "Y" features by offering the same services to the public, but ultimately were unsuccessful.  Throughout the years many people tried to re establish not the "Y" itself but what the "Y" offered but failed.  In 1962 the CF&I reclaimed the "Y" through payment of delinquent taxes.  In December of that year, the Steel Company awarded Kenneth Sanders a contract to dismantle the building where the brick was reclaimed and sent to neighboring cities such as Denver, Colorado Springs and Armarillo.  

The era of the Steelworks "Y" is over, but throughout its life this center brought an undying image of the Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Foundation of broadening human relations throughout the civilized world. 

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