With an entrance that features a marble staircase and stained-glass windows, Ames Hall served a variety of purposes over the years. It was home to ballroom dancing and rollerskating, and in 1916 hosted a speech by President William H. Taft.
Plans for the restoration are already taking shape. In fact, the new heating and air conditioning units are scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks.
“The YMCA of the North Shore is committed to this project,” Matt said of the umbrella organization that has facilities in Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Haverhill, Ipswich, Rockport and Gloucester.
Several years ago, the organization began the North Shore YMCA Theatre Company, a youth program that is based at the Salem Y and stages several performances every year in Ames Hall. A production of “Fiddler on the Roof” completed its run here this month.
In the past few years, nearly 500 children from the North Shore have taken part in plays at Ames Hall, Matt said.
When the restoration is completed, Ames Hall will add a balcony and will have new lighting, heating, air conditioning, acoustics and other improvements.
In time, officials hope to add all-purpose rooms for music and art programs.
The Samuel and Marjorie Zoll Creative Arts Center at the Salem YMCA will be open to all children, Matt said, regardless of their families’ financial situation. It also will help fulfill the YMCA’s mission to serve a wide spectrum of children and interests.
“We know not all kids are athletes and there needs to be an outlet for them to express themselves,” Matt said. “It fits so well with the Y’s mission, and it fits so well with the history of art and culture in Salem.”
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.
How to give
A gift to the Samuel and Marjorie Zoll Creative Arts Center at the Salem YMCA may be made with a check payable to “The Salem YMCA.” Please include a note designating the gift to the arts center.
For more information, contact the Y at 978-740-9622.