Photo of the Week
December 8, 2018

Continuing with the old Balboa YMCA study this week with the colorize postcard that I mentioned last week.  The resolution and clarity isn't so great as it is with all these old colorized postcards but is a very good shot of the old Balboa YMCA building.  Old Balboa Flats housing can be seen in the back ground as well as Wight St. that will disappear in the future.  The YMCA building was numbered 834 at this time and was between the old Carr St. and Wight St.  Through studies of the above photo and others, it finally came to me why there were twelve Royal Palms in front of the YMCA.  Well my  theory is that the twelve trees represent the twelve apostles of Jesus.  Many religious facilities accent certain parts of their architecture with twelve of this or that representing the twelve apostles.   Considering the size of these palms, they and this building have been there for quite a few years.  The YMCA must have been built when the U.S. first took over the canal project in 1903.  This photo from the early 1920s would make these palms almost 20 years old.  Royal Palms grow more quickly than most palm trees with an average growth rate of one to two feet a year.  This would be about right for these trees in the photo.

In 1924, the new concrete YMCA was built and the contents and operations of the old YMCA moved to it's new location.  Any guess what.  The new YMCA sported twelve newly planted Royal Palms which grew tall and proud through the years which most Zonians will remember.  See the brand new YMCA below the map.

The 1924 map below shows the old YMCA and new YMCA along Balboa Road.

When the YMCA building was torn down (date unknown at this time) a new wooden building was built in the foot print of the old YMCA.  This building will be visited next week. 



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