Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Young Men's Institute

by Raymond Gavins, 2006 Young Men's Institute, built 1892. Image courtesy of D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, <a href=

The Young Men's Institute in Asheville, backed by businessman and philanthropist George W. Vanderbilt, opened in 1893 as a community center for black construction workers at his Biltmore House and Asheville's increasingly segregated African American citizens. By 1906 a black-led supervisory committee had assumed ownership of the center's building. The large brick structure provided blacks with space for a wide variety of business, civic, educational, religious, and social activities until 1977, when it closed. The Young Men's Institute building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.






Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).

H. G. Jones, North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984 (1983).

Sydney Nathans, The Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870-1920 (1983).

Additional Resources:

Waters, Darin J. “Philanthropic Experimentation: George Vanderbilt, the YMI, and Racial Uplift Ideology in Asheville, North Carolina, 1892-1906.” The North Carolina Historical Review 95, no. 3 (2018): 313–39.

Young Men's Institute, NC Historical Marker P-88, NC Office of Archives & History:

Young Men's Institute, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service:

Young Men's Institute, Western North Carolina Heritage Center: #

Image of the building, NCSU Libraries:

Richard Sharp Smith, Designer of Building, NCSU Libraries:

YMI Building, Image Collection, NCSU Libraries:,+N.C.%29/where/United+States+--+North+Carolina+--+Buncombe+County+--+Asheville?os=0&pgs=50&sort=Division%2BSequence%2BNumber%252CPageSequenceNumber%252CFilename%252CTitle

Image Credit:

Young Men's Institute, built 1892. Image courtesy of D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Available from # (accessed August 29, 2012).