Community Center #1

January 8, 2019

After nearly 20 years of planning and contributions from 100s of people, Jacksonville’s new community center at the corner of Main and South 4th streets will celebrate its public Grand Opening this Saturday, January 12, from 4 to 7pm. Now officially the Jacksonville Community Center, the 1946 Sampson/Miller building that has housed the “Senior Center” and community activities since 1998 retains a piece of Jacksonville history in the remodeled and expanded structure. The property was originally part of “Gunsmith” Miller’s estate. The building at the other end of the block that formerly housed Jacksonville’s administrative offices is the bottom story of what was Miller’s elegant 3-story Queen Anne-style home built in the 1880s. The Sampson/Miller property was the site of Miller’s stable, shed, and orchard. A 1944 fire destroyed the top 2 floors of the Miller home. With post-war housing at a premium, in 1946 the Sampson/Miller property was sold to Jaftel L. Potter who built the original modest structure at the core of the new center. The property passed through multiple owners over the years, eventually winding up in the hands of Robert and Martha Sampson in 1994. In 1998 they sold it to the City of Jacksonville, and the rest is history—or at least “known history” in this case—and the building will continue to make history as it serves as a gathering place for people of all ages for years to come.