Dignitaries, re-enactment soldiers, artists and history buffs all gathered at the Flagler Center on May 19 to celebrate the 80th year since the opening of the original’s building’s use as a Service Men’s Club on Sunday, Oct. 10, 1943.

The 80 years of Flagler Dance Party on Friday, May 19, had a 1940s theme, with period clothing, music and decor.

Within the first 24 hours of its opening in 1943, 1,000 service members registered. The club was a destination for service members from South Stuart’s Camp Murphey, a training facility for U.S. service members during World War II. The building has gone through many name changes since the end of WWII, such as the Stuart Civic Center, then the Stuart Rec Center, and later the Flagler Recreation Center.

In 2020, Stuart Main Street Association took over operations and it became the Flagler Center.

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