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The History of the Thelma Boltin Recreation Center

July 29 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Historic illustration of the thelma boltin center

The Matheson is honored to host The Friends of the Thelma Boltin Recreation Center committee on Saturday, July 29, to make a presentation about the significance of the building originally built as the Serviceman’s Center in 1943.

The eighty-year-old building is a contributing building in a National Register Historic District and a State Heritage Site. It is significant for likely being the only building in the State of Florida that was built for World War II soldiers to relax and socialize and do activities before being shipped off to fight.

Thelma Boltin was hired as the Program Director in 1943. After the War ended, she became the Recreation Director for the City. She was also a founder of the White Springs Folk Festival and what is now the Gainesville Community Playhouse, as well as an English and Drama teacher at Gainesville High School. Her program “Teen Time” was popular with local teens. She booked local bands which included Stephen Stills, Bernie Leadon, and Don Felder that played on the present stage. Tom Petty attended and may have played at the dances held there too.

Do not miss this opportunity to see photos taken during the periods of significance. Feel free to bring your own photos and souvenirs to the presentation!

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July 29
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Matheson History Museum
513 E University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601 United States
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Matheson History Museum
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