For 90 years, Atherton Y called this historic pink building home

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 4:45 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 4:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On University Avenue opposite UH-Manoa’s campus, the pink building that the Charles Atherton family donated to the YMCA in 1932 is nearing the end of an era.

For 90 years, the historic structure has housed the Atherton Y.

“It’s really been just a hub of community and friendship, just a space where people of all ages can belong and connect,” said Cassidy Inamasu, Atherton Y’s executive director.

Over the decades, the building served as a dormitory and hosted programs that prepared incoming freshmen for college life.

“It gave the students what they needed,” alumnus Kiman Wong said. “Besides going to school you got to learn more life skills.”

Along with the Mary Atherton Richards House that sits next door, the Atherton Y staged productions like Showtime Express.

In its heyday, students congregated in and around the three-story cement structure.

“This was the greatest place. It was very popular,” Wong said.

In 2017, the University and UH Foundation bought the buildings. They will be upgraded into student housing and an innovation center, but the pink building won’t be torn down.

“They’re going to touch it up a little but that piece of that building will remain,” Inamasu said.

In August, Atherton Y’s programs and operations open in a new home at the Queen Liliuokalani Student Services Building. The on-campus site will expand the Y’s reach.

“Our goal is to work with college students on any university campus across the state,” Inamasu said.

Atherton Y alumni are invited to stop by the pink building on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, to share their stories and pose for photos that will go into the Y’s archives.

Wong said the iconic structure was more than just a building.

“Here we got to make lifelong friends,” he said.

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