The Paseo YMCA went from community hub to flophouse in 40 years

In the four decades since it closed, the Paseo YMCA has been a lot of things: historical emblem, graffiti sketchpad, and lately, a flophouse where the homeless around 18th and Vine crash.

If the directors of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum have their way, the building will get new life as the John “Buck” O’Neil Education and Research center.

The Paseo YMCA, located around the the corner from the museum complex, was completed in 1914, and quickly became the first stop for Kansas City’s newest arriving African Americans. The building hosted literacy classes, vocational training and, as noted in this week’s cover story, “Historian in Chief,” the vote to organize the Negro National League in February, 1919.

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