Tom Lowrie, a familiar figure at our Family Y, has been a member since 1966. Tom served as the Y archivist starting in the 1980s, setting up an attic office and doing a huge amount of research about our members, boards and building history.
The fruits of his research resulted in a timeline exhibit, which was displayed at the Westport Historical Society to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Family Y in1988. Tom uncovered some interesting facts from his research:
- One week after our Y opened in 1923, there were already 447 members
- The cost of bowling that year was $.10; billiards cost $.30 an hour to play and towels were $.05 each
- Although women were not permitted to use the gym on Saturdays when the Y opened, Friday evenings were set aside for their use of the bowling alleys and the pool tables in the Boys department.
- In 1925, the Y, in conjunction with the Southern New England Telephone Company, offered instruction in the use of a new invention – the telephone!
Tom’s two children, Anne and David, were both Y kids who learned to swim in the pool, attended Camp Mahackeno and became CITs. Both worked part-time at the Member Services Desk and were active in the Y-sponsored Young People’s Leader’s Club. Anne is an artist and painted the wonderful marine murals in our Aquatics Center.
Tom was a member of our Board of Directors and a member of the Weeks Pavilion Building Committee in the 1970s. In his professional role as an architect, he designed Beck’s Lodge at camp and was also involved with the conversion of the fire house and the redesign of the locker rooms and Health Centers as well as helping to reconfigure our current Fitness Center and Studio.
A fierce badminton and table tennis competitor, Tom was instrumental in updating our equipment and bringing many new members to the group. Tom remains an active and involved member today. Thanks, Tom, for your many contributions and support!
As the Family Y prepares to begin a new chapter in our 90-year history, with the coming construction of a new Y facility at our Mahackeno campus, we’ll also be honoring our past. We hope to augment and update Tom’s voluminous research with new archival material, as well as the stories of our Y Members, gathered through photos, film and video and shared with members and the entire community.
If you have stories of your own to share, or photos of the Y and Camp Mahackeno, please contact Scott Smith, Communications Director, at 203-226-8981, ext. 112, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, delve into these vintage photos of Camp Mahackeno’s early days…