The South Side German YMCA met at various churches starting in 1882 but was organized in 1890 with offices at the corner of Geyer and Mississippi Ave. In 1891 they purchased a building at 1800 South 18th Street for the cost of $16,000. They added a gymnasium to the building for the cost of $10,000. The South Side German YMCA was hit by the tornado on May 27 1896, and portions of the gymnasium had to be rebuilt. The name of the YMCA was changed in 1909 when it was agreed to make the board meetings in English instead of German due to the number of Non-Germans that belonged to the YMCA. It was thus called South Side YMCA. The building for the South Side YMCA was closed on December 31, 1908, due to lack of funds and programs were again offered out of the various Churches in the area. In 1924, South Side YMCA was included in the 3 million dollar capital campaign. However, insufficient funds were raised for the building at that time. The property was purchased in 1926 but there weren’t enough funds to build a building. In 1928, Harold Keltner was appointed Executive Secretary of the South Side YMCA and his office was located on a Bank Building on South Grand. His Assistant, Joe Causino, was hired to work with Neighborhood “Gangs” in 1929 to include the “Hill” as well as the Soulard area. In order to save money, the South Side YMCA office was moved to a small building on the property called “The Barn”. From there starting in 1934, money was raised to build a building at 2232 South Grand. The Architecture Firm was Klipstein and Rathmann and the building was designed around a Gingko Tree on the property. The building was dedicated April 5, 1936 (one of the very few YMCAs built during the depression). “…..and none is ever turned away. Y Clubs are “Tops” in Underprivileged Areas.” Stated Harold Keltner in a report in 1939. With the help of Kiwanis and Lions Clubs, numerous Sports Teams were sponsored and thrived in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
In 1989, facing numerous financial challenges as well as staffing difficulties, the Carondelet and South Side YMCA combined their Board and Staff to become South City YMCA. In 1996, an agreement was reached with the State for a portion of the property at the St Louis Mental Hospital grounds and proposed building requirements were listed. On December 2, 2000, the South Side YMCA building was closed. The South City YMCA was officially opened on December 4, 2000.