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Y.M.C.A., East Deerfield, Mass.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Y.M.C.A. (Young Men's Christian Association) was founded in London, England, in 1844. It was created by young businessmen who wanted to create facilities that would lead young men away from the temptations of London. It spread rapidly in Britain and in 1851, the first American chapter was founded in Boston. Initially it offered Bible study classes and prayer services, but later it diversified to athletic facilities and educational services. The organization worked with troops during the Civil War, but its mission expanded dramatically during World War I when the U.S. government allowed it to offer services to the millions of newly mobilized U.S. troops. The mission of the Y.M.C.A. often took it to areas that were not well served by government or town. The East Deerfield Y.M.C.A. was probably built there instead of near Deerfield, Massachusetts, itself to serve the hundreds of railroad and agricultural workers who transited through the area.


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