This evening, the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA, located at 220 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, will close its doors forever. That the administration for that branch of the YMCA felt that their history was relevant to their institution is evidenced by the fact that the “Who We Are” page on their website opens by recounting its past. Mention is made that U.S. President Howard Taft participated in its dedication in 1909; and that the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA has been in operation every day since its opening in 1910.
A celebration is being held this evening in recognition of the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA’s nearly 100 years of service to San Francisco. Announcements for the celebration mention an “historical photo gallery” as part of the event. As a professional archivist, when I see announcements of exhibitions of local San Francisco historical photographs, I often wonder how those images were culled, and who had cared for them. More to the point, I wonder what becomes of those photos after the event is over. It’s always a shame when carefully gathered historic images end up being disposed of when they may have had a value to future researchers. Anyone who is considering getting rid of historic images related to San Francisco may wish to consider contacting the San Francisco History Center and inquire about the possibility of donating their materials.