100 Years of Christian Service in St. Louis

For close to a century, the five-story brick Italianate building at 1411 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis has served people from all walks of life.

1411 Locust Street, St. Louis Missouri
1912 – 2012
100 Years of Christian Service in St. Louis

For close to a century, the five-story brick Italianate building at 1411 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis has served people from all walks of life. Beginning in 1910, The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) raised $500,000 and community support in order to house and operate their programs for women in St. Louis. In September of 1911 the President of the United States, William Howard Taft, laid the cornerstone for the new building. In May of 1912 the central YWCA building opened providing services at 1411 Locust Street.

Since its opening 100 years ago, the building at 1411 Locust Street has been dedicated to providing Christian service in the St. Louis area. This central branch of the YWCA provided housing, job training, and education to women in the community. Many women found assistance from the YWCA especially during difficult times. During the depression (1930’s) the sight at the 1411 main lobby was often packed with women seeking assistance and employment since they were the sole breadwinners in their families. The YWCA continued to assist women at its central location 1411 Locust St. and its other various locations throughout St. Louis.

In 1975, the New Life Evangelistic Center (founded in 1972 by Larry and Penny Rice) bought the YWCA central building at 1411 Locust St. NLEC and established 1411 Locust Street as its new headquarters and main building for services. NLEC has continued with the same foundation of Christian faith to that of the YWCA, providing care and services, motivated by the spirit of God into action to provide direct services. These services include shelter, food, clothing, and job training, as well as physical, mental and spiritual health care, to the poor and homeless in Saint Louis and beyond.

Over the past 100 years, many buildings in downtown St. Louis have been built, demolished, abandoned, revitalized and gentrified. However, the historic five-story Italianate building at1411 Locust Street has been established and re-established as a place for Christian service for the past 100 years. The building’s cornerstone inscription provides a constant echo:

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11).

[1] From the YWCA’s Historical documents, 1953 – located at WHMC – UMSL.