The ultramodern building opened as a Teen Center in October 1962, and the City provided supervised recreation and held weekend dances for teenagers. The facility soon evolved into a community center for all age groups. The Center was named for Joseph Lee (1862-1937), considered the father of the American playground movement. After creating his own Boston playground in the early 1890s, he observed and recorded the results. Lee then championed playgrounds in articles, books, and speeches across America, and served for 27 years as president of the organization that became the National Recreation Association in 1930.