The history of the Athens Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) began with George Williams, who in 1844 found himself dissatisfied with his life in the big city of London, England. During the Industrial Revolution, young men and boys were leaving their farming communities for cities like London - cities " full of prostitution and other immoral temptations." Williams, a young drapery worker, met with eleven other men who shared his discontent and organized the YMCA. For several years, men and boys met in William's bedroom for fellowship and Bible study. The idea for the Christian based organization soon spread throughout England and eventually overseas to America. The first American YMCA was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1851. The nation's third oldest, the Athens YMCA, was established March 26, 1857, during a town meeting at the First United Methodist Church. A March 25, 1857 article in the Southern Banner, a predecessor to the Athens Daily News/Banner-Herald, reported that the "meeting was well attended, and among those present we were glad to see a considerable number of students of the college (University of Georgia) A committee of three was appointed to draft a Constitution, and to report at a meeting to be held at the same place." The War Between the States disrupted the new organization, and was not reconstituted until the 1880's. For several decades, Bible study and other YMCA functions were held in the First Presbyterian Church on East Hancock Avenue. After picking up steam in the community, the Athens YMCA hired it's first paid employee, Walter T. Forbes, in 1897. Because of the Church's limited space, Forbes led a campaign to move the YMCA into a new building the following year.