YMA Gymnasium / Theater

481 4th St

The Young Men’s Association building in David City opened in 1912. Also associated with the Young Women’s Association, the building included a gymnasium, library, and bowling alley. The YMA eventually developed financial troubles and closed in 1913.

The building was later transformed into a motion picture theater called the Community Theater. The Community Theater hosted notable events including William Jennings Bryan’s campaign speech on April 7, 1916. The theater’s large auditorium accommodated a packed audience, captivated by Bryan’s hour and fifty-minute address.

A.F. Jenkins acquired the Community Theater in 1923 and introduced talking motion pictures in 1929 with the addition of a Best Tone Machine. The theater had other owners and names over the years: Crest Theater, David City Theater, and ultimately the 4th Street Theater. The theater closed in late 1995 and was razed in 2001.

Crest Theater, 1953. BCH Fitness, 2023.

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Young Men's Association Building, circa 1912.
Young Men’s Association Building — circa 1912.

The organization operating the gymnasium was called the Young Men’s Association (YMA) instead of the national Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). While they shared many of the same goals, they were not affiliated with the national organization.

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