Many of the UNSCOP
sessions to decide the fate of Palestine were held at the YMCA
In 1924, Archibald Clinton Harte, General Secretary of the International YMCA, raised the sum of one million dollars towards the construction of the building.
Harte developed a vision for a permanent Y building and worked tirelessly planning every detail. For years, he cultivated donors who shared his vision of a “Sermon in Stone.” After seven years of construction, the new Jerusalem YMCA was dedicated in 1933 with the words “Here is a spot whose atmosphere is peace, where political and religious jealousies can be forgotten and international unity be fostered and developed.” Harte retired to his home on the shores of Galilee, which he bequeathed to the Jerusalem International YMCA as an international conference facility. The cornerstone was laid in 1928 by Lord Plumer, the British High Commissioner for Palestine, on a plot of land in the West Nikephoria section of Jerusalem, purchased from the Greek Orthodox Church Patriarchate. When the building opened on April 18, 1933, the event was attended by YMCA leaders from around the world. Details of the building, with its elegant arches, domes and tower, was described in the world press, which hailed it as a wellspring of cultural, athletic, social and intellectual life. Until 1991, the YMCA stadium was the only soccer stadium in Jerusalem. The building was designed by the American architect Arthur Loomis Harmon of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, who designed the Empire State Building. The Jerusalem YMCA housed the city's first heated swimming pool and first gymnasium with a wooden floor. The first concert broadcasts of the Voice of Israel radio station were transmitted from the YMCA auditorium.