WHEELING YMCA

55 Lounez Ave

Wheeling, West Virginia

(304) 242 -8086

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J.B. Chambers

James B. Chambers Memorial

On March 20, 1924, James B. Chambers then President of The First National Bank in Elm Grove, founded The James B. Chambers Memorial Association, a corporation created and existing under the laws of West Virginia. The purpose of The James B. Chambers Memorial Association (JB Chambers Memorial) was intended to serve the needs (moral, social and economic) of the children of Elm Grove. The JB Chambers Memorial was structured as a non-profit association both under West Virginia law and the Internal Revenue Code in effect at the time.

On May 6, 1933, JB Chambers died, thus passing the on-going administration of the JB Chambers Memorial to a governing Board of Trustees. In addition to a moderate amount of cash and marketable securities, the major asset of the JB Chambers Memorial was approximately 4.5 acres of land in Elm Grove, commonly referred to as The Old Fairgrounds. For many years the memorial operated a “Settlement House” and playground environment for children which was administered by Mrs. Dorothy Barker. This concept enjoyed much success for a number of years and was eventually operated in concert with the City of Wheeling’s Recreation Department. Unfortunately because of deteriorating structures and their ongoing maintenance costs, as well as general societal changes, these once successful programs no longer utilized by young people and were therefore discontinued.

The JB Chambers Foundation Trustees continued to seek out opportunities to benefit young people and were successful in obtaining an able partner in the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Wheeling. In June of 1969, the memorial agreed to lease to the YMCA approximately 1 acre of its ground for a term of 99 years at a fee of $1 per year in order to construct the Chambers Family Branch YMCA. In addition to the leased land, the memorial also participated as a significant contributor to the capital expansion and building project. As the YMCA grew, the need for more space became apparent.

Responding to this need, the memorial agreed to lease an additional 0.5 acres of its land to the YMCA in order to construct the Edmund Lee Jones Annex for the Family Branch YMCA. Again, the memorial responded to the construction costs of the new addition and, in fact, fully funded its cost.