In 1913, the City of San Diego purchased a lot for $1,000, marking the inception of Fire Station #13. The original one-story wood frame structure became the city’s first ‘City Hall,’ housing the Fire Department, Police Department, jail, hospital room, and the City Water Department. Architect Harold Abrams designed the building in a Spanish Mission revival style as part of the Works Progress Administration program. In 1937, the present fire station was constructed on adjacent lots, solidifying its role as La Jolla’s civic hub. After serving as a multi-functional municipal center, the fire and police stations relocated in 1976, leading to the building’s temporary use by City Lifeguards for a decade. Following that, the Library Department utilized it for storage during branch renovations.

In 1985, the city sought proposals for public use, with the La Jolla YMCA granted a 25-year lease in 1987. Renovations transformed the interior, and in December 1988, the building opened as a Teen/Senior Community Center. Over the years, it evolved to cater to different community needs, such as an Active Older Adults center in the 90s, a performing arts center in the early 2000s, and later a gymnastics program center. After a $1.2 million renovation in 2015, the Shepherd YMCA Firehouse reopened as a membership and health & fitness center while preserving its historical designation. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a three-year closure from 2020 to 2023 and served as a virtual studio to stream and record live fitness classes. Now, in 2024, the Shepherd YMCA Firehouse is re-opening to the public as a community space, continuing its legacy in La Jolla.

For more information or to host an event at Shepherd YMCA Firehouse , contact: Sean Flatow at [email protected] • Lucy Murillo at [email protected]