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    Thelma A. Boltin Recreation Center Thelma A. Boltin Recreation Center
The Thelma A. Boltin Recreation Center, located at 516 Northeast 2nd Avenue, was completed in the spring of 1943 as the Soldier Service Center-a project offering recreational facilites for servicemen in this vicinity. Built at a cost of $37,000, the center operated under the Recreation Department of the City of Gainesville. Miss Boltin, who taught speech and dramatics at Gainesville High School, was the first Program Director. Servicemen came from all over the area, including the Alachua Army Air Field, Camp Blanding, the Officer Candidate School, and the 62nd College Training Detachment. Activities included picnics, swimming, bicycling, dances, and fish fries. According to the Gainesville Daily Sun, Miss Boltin reported in June 1943 that "…the Gainesville Service Center entertained over 6,000 servicemen during the month of April." After the war the building continued to be heavily used as the City Recreation Center, offering many activities including teen dances on weekends. Miss Boltin moved to White Springs in 1947; she founded the Florida Folk Festival and served as the director of the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center. She died at the age of 88 on December 5, 1992. This undated postcard, published by Eli Witt Cigar & Candy Co. of Gainesville, was copied with the permission of Archie L. Jackson.
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