The Patrick Henry Family YMCA traces its roots to 1988. That year, a group of local citizen exposed establishing a Y to serve Hanover County and the Town of Ashland. Dr. John Phillip Sherrod, a local physician, played a key role in these early organizing efforts. The concept took hold as public interest rose in 1989 to provide more recreational opportunities in the area.
To gauge the strength of local support, local leaders held a community meeting at Randolph Macon College in Ashland. That meeting started many people thinking seriously about the benefits of creating a Y branch. The concept swiftly gained endorsements from school, church and community officials. In addition, a Y poll of selected community leaders showed that 82% believed Hanover needed a YMCA and 95% agreed to support creating a YMCA. Before the year ended, the Hanover Y was offering various programs with support from the Tuckahoe Family YMCA branch.
Named after local patriot leader Patrick Henry, the Hanover branch received its charter in January 1990. The board of managers held its first meeting that month. By April, the branch operated from a storefront site in the former High's Ice Cream Store at the northeast corner of England and Henry Streets. Programs took place at off-site facilities, including area pools. Randolph Macon College proved extremely helpful. The college had enjoyed a long affiliation with the YMCA, including the creation of a student branch in the late 1800s.
In 1991, the Patrick Henry Branch moved to a location in the Henry Clay Shopping Center. The Y moved again the summer of 1999 to larger quarters at the Ashland Hanover Shopping Center, currently occupied by Ace Hardware. The bigger building helped. However, Hanover citizens wanted their Y to have am modern facility designed and build to be a YMCA branch.
Accordingly, leaders decided to build a facility on Ashcake Road in Ashland. Work began in June 2001. The branch opened the next summer. The 14,900-square-foot facility included a six-lane pool measuring 8,000 square feet, locker rooms, outdoor fields, trails, picnic areas, cardio equipment, a youth and family center and more. A few years later, a gymnasium was added with a walking/running track above.
The text was taken from the book "The Richmond YMCA: 150 Years of Innovation and Service for Central Virginia" by Edward R. Crews.