Another set of photographs in the collection of the Fenton History Center features the construction of the “new” Y.M.C.A. building at the northeast corner of East Fourth and Pine Streets. It was referred to as the new Y.M.C.A. because their earlier building had been built at the corner of East Second Street and Prendergast Avenue in 1900. The first photograph in this set is dated 30 October 1928. It shows what seems to be a survey crew on the front lawn of the residence that is present on the lot. The large sign for the Warren Construction Company is leaning against the front porch of the residence. A set of photographs of this type is interesting for the actual progress of the construction of a building and that is what was being documented over time.
But for others, these photographs present details of the area around the construction site. Because the photographs are dated we have literally a “snapshot” of the area at a given time. In the case of the first one in the set, we have the residence that occupied the lot before the construction began. And in the background we have some of the other residences in the block. As the other photographs were taken, other details of the neighborhood were captured.
The residence that had occupied the lot since its construction in 1879 was the residence of Sheldon B. Broadhead. The Jamestown Daily Journal of July 22, 1879 announced that “Ground was broken to-day on the eligible building lot at the northeast corner of Pine and East Fourth streets, owned by the Broadheads, for the erection of a handsome dwelling. The building will be of brick and stone and will conform to plans made by Mr. Aaron Hall, architect.” More research needs to be done to determine whose residence was there before the Broadheads acquired the lot as the 1867 Atlas of Chautauqua County shows a dwelling on that lot.
The new residence became the home of Sheldon B. Broadhead and his wife, Mary Woodworth. S. B. Broadhead was a son of William Broadhead and his wife, Lucy Cobb. William Broadhead and his sons, Sheldon and Almet, were involved in many business enterprises in the Jamestown area, including textile mills, trolley lines, steamship lines, the rose gardens, and even the manufacturing of shale paving bricks.
B. Broadhead died in 1925. His wife had died in 1894. Their daughter, Gladys and her family occupied the home some of the years before her father’s death. When the estate was settled, the residence was available to be sold. The large lot became the location for the new Y.M.C.A. building. Located in the area was the large building on East Fourth and Spring Streets that was the home of the B.P.O.E. (the Elks) that was built about 1923 on the lot where the home of Mrs. Pauline Abbott had been. Also seen in the first photograph is the home of Mrs. Sarah Bemus on the southwest corner of East Fifth and Pine Streets.
For people who like old automobiles, this photograph would be of interest because there are nine automobiles parked along Pine Street. There is a sign that can be read, near the corner on East Fourth Street that declares, even in 1929, “Park 2 hours only.” Other photographs show buildings along the south side of East Fourth Street. And at least one photograph includes a couple of “sidewalk superintendents.” The last photograph is dated June 22, 1929. All the scaffolding is gone but windows have not been installed. The Y.M.C.A. building was dedicated on January 1, 1930. The Jamestown Evening Journal included stories and ads the day before the dedication. From this we know that the brick used in the building was from the Jamestown Shale Paving Brick Company and the interior woodwork was made and assembled in the mill of the Union Lumber and Supply Company of Jamestown. Now we wish we had photographs of the interior of the building!