YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development

The Cannon Memorial YMCA includes 3 branches in Cabarrus County: West Cabarrus, Kannapolis, and Harrisburg. These YMCAs strengthen the foundations of our community through well-being and fitness, camps, family time, swim, sports and play, and other activities for people of all ages, incomes and abilities. We’re more than just a place to work out. At the Y, we help build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all with the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility at the heart of everything we do.

With a commitment to nurturing youth development, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility, the Y ensures that every individual has access to the essentials needed to learn, grow and thrive.

Playhouse and Afterschool Policy

inclement weather information smIt is normal policy that our Playhouses will follow a 2 hour delay when Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City Schools do so. If school is cancelled, both Afterschool and Playhouse are cancelled. If CCS or KCS let out early due to inclement weather, there is no Afterschool.

Support Our Annual Campaign

Please consider an end of year gift to our Annual Campaign. Read some of our Y Stories from the past year.


CHS-Vertical-Logo-4C smThe YMCA and Carolinas HealthCare System have a unique partnership that makes health professionals available in both the West Cabarrus & Kannapolis YMCAs. Our Wellness Centers offer a variety of programs and services that range from preventative care, health assessments, education and health coaching. >> Learn More

Professional Football Originated at the YMCA


Professional Football Originated at a YMCA

Did you know that professional football began at a YMCA? In 1895, the Latrobe, PA YMCA organized a local football team and announced that the team would play a formal schedule.

The Latrobe Athletic Association was a professional football team located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, from 1895 until 1909. The team is best known for being the first football club to play a full season while composed entirely of professional players. In 1895, team's quarterback, John Brallier, also became the first football player to openly turn pro, by accepting $10 and expenses to play for Latrobe against the Jeannette Athletic Club. [wikepedia

Years later, however, Pudge Heffelfinger claimed that he was secretly paid to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association in 1892. The NFL elected to go with Pudge's version of events. [Marshfield Area YMCA]

1895 Latrobe team


Clubs & Departments History: Women’s Department

Womens Club Feb2016smCannon Memorial YMCA has served women since as early as 1925 with the official Women’s Department opening in 1940. Approximately 35 women’s clubs were organized by Women’s Director, Bess Breedlove Thomason, in the 1940s and 1950s.

Cannon Y was the first YMCA in the South to have a fully equipped and staffed department for women and girls. By 1958, Cannon YMCA had the largest membership of women in the South with 4,723 female members and four full time female staff.

The women of Cannon Memorial YMCA gave significant support to the community and schools.  During the years of World War II, clubs within the Women’s Department knitted sweaters, rolled bandages, corresponded with local service men, and did volunteer work with the Red Cross and other service groups.

Click here for more Cannon Memorial YMCA history.


Devastation & Renewal: The Fire of 1937

The Kannapolis community was devastated when a fire destroyed the Cannon Memorial YMCA structure in 1937. Fire could not destroy the YMCA spirit in Kannapolis. Temporary facilities opened downtown and on January 22, 1940, a new Cannon Memorial YMCA was dedicated by Mr. C. A. Cannon, son of J. W. Cannon, in memory of his parents.  

The new Cannon YMCA building contained a barber shop, lockers and showers, handball courts, two gyms, a health club, a food service department, a canteen to service the mill, library, boy’s department, and a new idea at that time – YMCA facilities for women and girls.

Click here for more Cannon Memorial YMCA history.


Fire 1937    1940 building
In 1937, a fire destroyed the Cannon YMCA

Cannon Memorial YMCA, Kannapolis 1940-1987

Cannon YMCA Sponsorships & Charities


The Beginning of Cannon YMCA Sponsorships & Charities

12 3 15postWaiting YTheatreIn addition to physical activities, the Cannon YMCA rendered many services to the Kannapolis community.

From 1928 to 1937, a tonsil clinic operated during the summer months. Charity programs also began, such as the Empty Stocking Fund in 1937 (sponsored jointly with “The Daily Independent”). The Empty Stocking Fund was created as a way to reach out to those less fortunate during the Christmas season and continues to serve the community today.

The YMCA also sponsored Lyceum and Chautauqua programs, organized the first Boy Scout troop in Kannapolis, constructed two asphalt tennis courts and donated a piano to Cannon High School. The Y promoted religious programs as well as civic programs. YMCA World Week of Prayer is an early program that continues today.  

Click here for more Cannon Memorial YMCA history.

Responding to Community Need


Kannapolis HistoryResponding to Community Need

Growth was rapid during the Cannon Memorial YMCA’s early years. Bowling lanes, a movie theater, pool tables and numerous physical activities attracted members. In 1910, crowds overflowed at the old Kannapolis Ball Park to watch the Kannapolis YMCA Baseball Club, known as the “Y Nine”, battle area rivals.  

The Cannon Memorial YMCA has been the center of Kannapolis both figuratively and literally since its inception. This was reflected by the North Carolina General Assembly Act in January 1909. That act conferred police power on Deputy Sheriffs and defines the borders of Kannapolis:

“The boundary of Kannapolis shall be a circle, every point of which shall be one mile distant from the center of the ground covered by the David Franklin Cannon Memorial Hall erected at Kannapolis as a YMCA building.”

Before new churches were built, the YMCA opened its doors to eager worshipers and became the place where many congregations gathered before constructing their church buildings.

According to Cannon Mills Board of Directors minutes, President J.W. Cannon reported to stockholders at the January 27, 1916 meeting:

“During the year [1915] we have built some additional tenement houses and have found it necessary to add to our YMCA building.”

Click here for more Cannon Memorial YMCA history.

Cannon Memorial YMCA – The Early History


Cannon Memorial YMCA – The Early History

The Beginning

During the completion phases of the Cannon Manufacturing Company in 1907, J.W. Cannon and his board of directors held a meeting where the idea of forming a YMCA was discussed.  The minutes of the meeting record: “J.W. Cannon suggested that we erect a building to be used for a library, gymnasium and other amusements.”

TBT 11 12 15

Picture: The first YMCA building in 1908

Cannon began his project and patterned the building after a similar structure in another mill town.  He planned to give it his brother’s name: the David Franklin Cannon Memorial Hall.  P.B. Fetzer placed a motion on the floor that $20,000 be appropriated to erect the building.  Fetzer was in the cotton buying and mercantile firm of Cannon & Fetzer with J.W. Cannon’s older brother, David.  On November 5, 1908, the David F. Cannon YMCA opened.

ymca 1

Picture: The first building with addition, early 1920's.

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The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to assist those in need with financial assistance, click to learn more about our Open Doors Program.