April 2020   


Dear Friends,

Gosh, what more can I say? We got the word on March 13 from the City of Jacksonville that we had to close down the buildings and all scheduled events. Two weeks later the park and County Dock were locked up because there were too many people gathering there.

We had quite a few events planned into the early summer months and we have canceled all of them. As you also probably know, the Mandarin Community Club has canceled the Easter weekend  52nd Annual Mandarin Art Festival.  If we're open by mid-May, we will hopefully have our Third Thursday Lecture.

But we don't want people to miss their regular dose of history, so one thing we will be doing is sharing stories, photos, and links to our collection through a special weekly history spot on our Facebook page.  Also, lots of local arts and cultural organizations are doing the same. A great place to hear some music, see some dance, learn some history and view some art is the Facebook page of the new group called JaxArts. People are being so creative and doing some really fun and fascinating things - and we can all enjoy their presentations from our homes.

So, Paula and I, the Board of Directors and all of the volunteers at MMHS are waiting patiently, like we all must, staying positive, trying to make good use of our time at home and staying safe by abiding by all the public health guidelines that are in place to help us. We hope you take them seriously as well and stay safe and healthy.
  Sandy Arpen  
April 1, 1864 - April 1, 2020

TODAY marks 156 years since Mandarin residents were awakened at 4 AM by the shrill and constant whistle of the Union steamship Maple Leaf, as she settled onto the bottom of the St. Johns River after hitting an underwater Confederate torpedo (mine).

As you probably know, we will soon be starting the building of a brand new designated exhibit room for the Maple Leaf story! We are so excited that we will be able to honor this ship, her men, her history and Keith Holland and his SJAE divers - by having a new and exciting exhibit in the Mandarin Museum.

While waiting for construction and reopening, please take the opportunity to learn about this National Historic Landmark, on-line - there are lots of links there and you may even view a video taken of the divers on the "Mud Puppy" while actually retrieving Civil War artifacts from the muddy river bottom.

May the four men who died that night be remembered today and may they

Mandarin Road
Late 1800s and NOW!

Our beloved Mandarin Road! Even though it begins and ends at San Jose Blvd., many consider this point in the road important because it marks the entry into the beautiful canopy of live oaks for which Mandarin is so well known. The pictures are located just west of the Walter Jones Historical Park, at the point Loretto and Mandarin Roads converge, cross the bridge and go up the hill to the Mandarin Cemetery.

This road was known by several names in the past, including: River Road, St. Johns Ave., Highway 47, and today Mandarin Road. For most of its history the road was unpaved and sandy, making it difficult to travel. Later it was paved with crushed oyster shells that made it easier for automobiles to travel on it. We "think" the name of the creek that is there at the bridge is Reed's Branch, but the City of Jacksonville maps of today label it as "Mill Creek." We need to do more research on that, so please help us out if you know anything about it.

Today we wind our way around the ancient oaks, past the Cemetery, the Church of Our Saviour, many historic homes, the horse trough,  the Mandarin Community Club and the 1911 Store and Post Office....and we realize this part of the road has really changed very little.

  Great resource for all your COVID-19 Updates and Resources!
Keep the Faith...Spring  
is coming!
The beautiful blooms of the pear tree next to the Webb/Jones farmhouse remind us to be hopeful during this difficult time for all.

You can't visit, paint frogs together, walk the park, fish on the dock or check-in with us at the Store and Post Office during the the Art Festival....BUT
  • You can visit our website at and take the time to click the many, many links that are there to some fascinating history.
  • You can check-out our Facebook page for interesting things every few days.
  • You can watch some  amazing film episodes of "Florida Frontiers."
  • You can see what the other cultural/arts organizations are doing in Jacksonville at www.Facebook/groups/
  • You can spend more time with your family and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!
    Mark your calendars for these special events (all are tentative) 
    • May 21 - Third Thursday Lecture (TBA)
    • June 6 - Miss Aggie Day - honoring 2020 Miss Aggie Award recipients Sam Folds and Wanda Bosworth
    • June 13 - Frog Painting
    • August 1 Blue Star Museum Day
The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are open on Saturdays from 9-4. All other historic buildings in Walter Jones Historical Park (11964 Mandarin Rd.) AND the Mandarin Store and PO (12471 Mandarin Rd.), are open from 10-2 on the first Saturday. Exceptions to this schedule are listed in the calendar above.

School field trips and youth or adult group tours are scheduled mostly during the week - by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at   to make a reservation.    
All above activities are not available until the City of Jacksonville reopens the park. 
We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. If you would like more information CLICK HERE to email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have.  Information is also available by clicking HERE
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MISSION: Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin's history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire.

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