History of the Chickahominy Family YMCA

The Chickahominy Family YMCA got its novel start in the early 1980s when avid scuba diver, Dr. Eugene T. Rowe decided that eastern Henrico County needed a Y.  Rowe believed this in part because he traveled regularly to Downtown Richmond to swim at an indoor pool.  Rowe contacted local philanthropist Walter Hawthorne and together they each put up $1,000 to get the process started.

Local support was strong.  A 1983 corporate fundraiser produced $50,000 on a goal of $35,000.  The local leadership choose to name the branch Chickahominy honoring a local Native American tribe. In 1984 the branch received its charter and its first executive director.

An office in Sandston was leased until a permanent location could be found.  In 1987, the branch acquired a 13-acre site in the Sandston area.  Plans, bids, a capital campaign and construction followed in rapid succession.  The new building opened in 1989, complete with an indoor pool, locker rooms, weight room and soccer fields.  The Sandston Rotary Club donated a Youth Pavilion in 1991.  Three years later, an outdoor pavilion, basketball courts, volleyball courts and miniature golf were added to the site.  All came through the cooperative efforts of the Civitans, Henrico Exchange Club and the National Guard.

The remaining years of the 1900s, as well as the first decade of the new century, saw never more growth.  The Chickahominy Family YMCA opened a new fitness center in these years, added 16 acres of land to the site, and enclosed the outdoor pavilion to make an aerobics center and a picnic center.

The text was taken from the book "The Richmond YMCA: 150 Years of Innovation and Service for Central Virginia" by Edward R. Crews.