Senior Center, Inc

1180 Pepsi Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


History of the Senior Center

The University League, now Junior League of Charlottesville, opened the Senior Center on February 14, 1960 to provide activities for adults age 50 and over in a central location. We are the second longest-standing senior center in Virginia and one of the 200 longest-operating of the 15,000 senior centers in America.

Our first facility was rented space at 301 East Market Street in Charlottesville, opening with 25 members. Programs initiated that year that still meet were ceramics and volunteers making Pinkie Puppets for kids at UVA Hospital. We outgrew this space quickly, moving to another rented space at 101 East High Street. In 1963, the Senior Center graduated from the University League's governance and became an independent nonprofit corporation.

Continued growth in members and programs led to a third move, into the newly renovated McIntire Library building on 2nd Street NE in 1982. Within a few short years, we had outgrown our facility again, and Senior Center leaders focused on securing our own multi-purpose facility. After years of searching, the Jessup family, owners of Pepsi Cola of Central Virginia, provided us a plot of land; they donated half the cost of the land. Another major donation was made by Frances Jean Robey, who generously donated her entire estate to the building campaign.

The Senior Center opened the doors to our own facility at 1180 Pepsi Place on September 11, 1991. The building and grounds were paid for entirely by private sources from local individuals, corporations, and foundations at the cost of $1.65 million. Moving from 3,500 square feet to 17,000 square feet involved immense effort, community spirit and our dedicated volunteers.

In November 2002, we were recognized as the first nationally accredited Senior Center in Virginia, and just the 84th in America by the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). Meeting all the standards in the areas of program planning, program evaluation, community collaboration, governance, fiscal management, general management, record keeping, and facility was an involved process led by the Board of Directors, participants, and staff. Governor Mark Warner joined us in May 2003 to celebrate this once in a lifetime accomplishment.

The Senior Center has now been an integral resource for our community for over four decades, with plans to continue growing and improving in the decades to come.

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