August  2018 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

The July  7th opening of all the historic buildings was a huge hit and brought in many visitors. We will make every effort to open these buildings more often so the public can view them from the inside. Due to the commitment of volunteers Bob Nay, George and Kathy Barnwell, Roger Sallas and Karen Roumillat, it looks like we will be able to do this on the first Saturday of every month from 10-2.

As with everything we do at MMHS, we could not do it without our wonderful volunteers who make every single program or event happen. Thank you to these folks named and to each and every one of our volunteers who keep the doors open and the stories of Mandarin alive. Their commitment is truly a gift of the heart to the community.

Sandy Arpen
Thanks to Sherry Brown for this collection of photos from last year's event - and thank you as well for the idea!
All historic buildings will be open and "Back to School" event - Saturday, August 4

On this day, the Mandarin Museum and the St.Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open as usual from 9-4.

BUT you may also visit the Losco Winery, the 1876 barn, and the 1875 farmhouse within the Walter Jones Historical Park from 10-2, AND the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office (located at 12471 Mandarin Rd.) will also be open from 10-2.  
AND, thanks to some of our youth volunteers, school aged children are invited to come to the schoolhouse for a special "Back to School" event from 10 - 2.   
The children will learn about the history of the schoolhouse, play old-fashioned outdoor games, do sidewalk chalk art, make a craft, have a chance to ring the school bell and more.  
Thank you City of Jacksonville
 Our deep gratitude to COJ Parks, Recreation and Community Services for replacing all of the signage in the Walter Jones Historical Park in July. The old signs had been there for almost 20 years and were so defaced and falling down. The new signs look terrific! It is so nice to have Walter and Edith welcoming visitors at the entrance to the pathway to the river.


Third Thursday Lecture
August 16
150th Anniversary
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Mandarin's Most Famous Resident
When Harriet Beecher Stowe arrived in Mandarin, she was probably the most famous woman in the English-speaking world (with the possible exception of Queen Victoria). The year 2018 marks 150 years since author Harriet Beecher Stowe took up residence in her quirky Mandarin home, a home encompassed by live oaks and nestled in an orange grove in the village some 15 miles south of Jacksonville. She wintered there until 1884.
In Mandarin, Stowe found both the paradise and projects she so eagerly sought, including projects to build a school for the village's children; to continue her literary career; to enter the citrus business; to promote Florida and much more. The presentation explores events in Mrs. Stowe's life that infused her persona and led her to her Mandarin paradise. Also discussed is Mrs. Stowe's North Florida life, including her many projects and her often overlooked literary achievements and disappointments during "the Mandarin years."
The presentation on August 16 will be made by Emily R. Lisska, a Jacksonville native, President of the Florida Historical Society and the former Executive Director of the Jacksonville Historical Society. In the 1990s, she chaired the restoration of the 1872 Mandarin School, built through the efforts of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She's currently President of the Mandarin Community Club, a 95-year old organization that owns Stowe's 1872 school.
Third Thursday Lectures are presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, but held in the historic Mandarin Community Club and in partnership with the Community Club - 12447 Mandarin Rd. Refreshments start at 6:30 pm, followed by the lecture and Q&A beginning at 7. It is free and all are encouraged to attend. For more information about MMHS - call 268-0784 or check out . For more information about Mandarin Community Club, see
Help us spread the word about our field trips and tours 
These kids are having fun on the boardwalk, but they are also learning about the St. Johns River, manatees, cypress trees and stewardship of natural resources - as part of our comprehensive field trips for schools.

School is about to begin and we'd like to have even more children exposed to the "Mandarin Experience" this year. Our tours have been developed by a former history teacher, Bruce Vacca, and each location has a different trained volunteer tour guide. The experience will help students meet many Grade 4 Social Studies Standards for American History.

The historic learning centers include:
  • Mandarin Museum - highlighting 2 museum exhibits: Harriet Beecher Stowe's presence and impact in Mandarin and the Union steamship Maple Leaf,  which includes Civil War artifacts
  • 1875 Webb farmhouse - a fully furnished turn of the 20th century farmhouse where children learn about life in rural Florida 100 years ago - before electricity and plumbing
  • A 19th century one-room schoolhouse built in 1898 for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Mandarin to educate the children of former slaves. Students learn about post-Civil war Florida.
  • The historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office where students can view and learn about a fully equipped old time store and life during the mid-20th century.
We also conduct private tours with adult groups that include the above, but can be very flexible and meet the specific needs of the group. And, group tours with youth organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

So, if you know a teacher or an adult or youth group that might be interested, please help us get the word out and send this newsletter to them, have them call 268-0784,  or refer them to our website.

We were so excited that this 37 year old book club chose Palmetto Leaves as their book to read in July AND they also held their meeting in the schoolhouse. We thank the  club for coming and also our Board member Gabriele Demspsey, who hosted the event.

A great idea for anyone out there who belongs to a book club!
This lovely family came to paint  just weeks before moving to Ohio - so these beautiful frogs will have a special place in their new home.
Frog/Turtle Painting Event
August 11

The August Frog Painting is from 10-noon on August 11 in front of the museum.  
Please make a reservation first, as we always have  a long list - just call us at 268-0784 and leave a message or email us at and tell us what you'd like to paint. Frogs and squirrels are $20 and sea turtles are $24. We provide the paint, brushes etc. Wear old clothes. It is lots of fun and thanks to the Frog Man, all proceeds are for the support of  Mandarin Museum and the museum expansion project. 
The man who makes it all happen - Don Bowden, Mandarin's beloved "Frog Man"!
Another happy family with some beautiful critters.
READ Mandarin on the St. Johns

Everybody loves summer reading and we highly recommend a good book for you. The only book written exclusively about Mandarin is the classic Mandarin on the St. Johns  by Mandarin resident and teacher (Lee High School), Mary B. Graff in 1953. This description of the book, as given by historian J.E.Dovell, is so sweet: "Mandarin on the St. Johns chronicles the career of a colorful little village pleasantly situated a few miles below Jacksonville on the romantic St. Johns River." Despite all the huge changes in the landscape and population (only 2000 people resided here in 1953), in the 60+ years since the book was written, there are still a lot of people who think of Mandarin as a "colorful little village" made up of all kinds of interesting people and fascinating history.  We work hard to preserve the stories and  some of that character into the 21st century. In fact, this is why the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society was founded.

Whether you're a newcomer or an "old-timer" who just never got around to reading this book, put it on your "must do" list. It will give you a new view of this wonderful community of Mandarin and it will help you understand why it is worth preserving all the fascinating stories and objects, as well as landscape that belong to this place. The book is available in the museum Gift Shop. It is one you will want to keep and pass down to your children and grandchildren. Thank you Mary Graff.

Please be an advocate for Art and Culture in Duval County!
This is really important. 
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is proud to be a recipient of the Cultural Service Grant Program, managed by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. We, and the other 26 non-profit arts and cultural organizations, need your help.
It is budget time at City Hall, and the proposed budget includes no increase in funds for arts and culture for the fifth year in a row, despite strong growth in the city and an increased number of agencies that receive funds.
It only takes a few minutes to read the entire attachment from the Cultural Council.
Please click HERE  to learn about three easy things that you can do to be an advocate for your own community. Please do one or all three suggestions and pass this along to your friends as well. 
It is important that we, who love and value the artistic and cultural opportunities that enrich our lives, speak up for those organizations that work so hard to make these opportunities possible.
Brett at the Post Office
Check Mandarin Newsline for monthly history article
Volunteer Brett Nolan got started with MMHS through painting the vintage street markers around Mandarin - a great preservation project!
He has a very busy schedule while attending Graduate School at UNF and working for local State Representative Jason Fischer. But somehow he still finds time to volunteer and think up new and interesting projects.

One of them is his monthly "Back in Time with Brett" feature every month in the Mandarin Newsline. For each edition Brett researches a historic home  or building in the area and reports on the history of the building and the owner in his column. Be sure to look for it in the Newsline if you receive it in your mailbox...or check it out on-line at www. CLICK HERE to see this month's feature about the Fleming Bowden house on Loretto Road.

Thank you Brett for all the amazing work you do for the community and thank you Mandarin Newsline for offering this special column to your readers.
  "Under the Oaks" Music Jam
Sunday, August 5 from 2-4 
The next monthly "Under the Oaks" music jam will take place on August 5 at Walter Jones Historical Park from 2-4, WEATHER PERMITTING! Bring an acoustic instrument if you would like to play - listeners are always welcome. Everybody bring a lawn chair. The Mandarin Museum and St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this event.  It is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network.
Meet the Divers Day
 Saturday, August 18 - from 9-4
(special hours for this date) 
 The monthly "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" day
 at Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park. Meet Keith Holland and other SJAE divers to learn about this historic Civil War shipwreck in the St. Johns River. 
Keith Holland meeting with visitors
  • August 4: Store and Post Office, Farmhouse, Barn and Winery open, 10 pm - 2 pm
  • August 4: "Back to School at the old Schoolhouse" event from 10 am -2 pm.
  • August 5: "Under the Oaks" music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm
  • August 11: Frog/Turtle painting 10 am-12 pm
  • August 16: Third Thursday Lecture - Emily Lisska - 150 years since the Stowes started wintering in Mandarin - 6:30 pm
  • August 18: Meet the Maple Leaf Divers, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • September 22:  Smithsonian "Museum Day" event - all buildings open
  • November  10 - Veterans Day event to honor Pvt. Marion Losco and the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI 
  • November 15:  Third Thursday Lecture - John Moseley, Historic Sites Manager I, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Wilmington, NC - will discuss the connection between Maple Leaf troops and the Civil War battle at Fort Fischer.
  • December 1: 19th Annual Winter Celebration in Walter Jones Historical Park

Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children  are open every Saturday from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park . (11964 Mandarin Road)

The Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road)  is open from 10-2 on the first Saturday of every month.  Most months the barn, winery and farmhouse will be open at this same time. Check the calendar here and check Facebook to confirm.  
School field trips and adult group tours are scheduled during the week by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at  
We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. If you would like more information CLICK HERE or email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator at and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have.  
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr by clicking on the logos at the bottom of this newsletter. 
PS: Did you know...

that Mandarin had many names before it became Mandarin? As the countries and people who colonized and lived here changed, so did the name it was called. For instance, there is evidence of Timuquans being here and it being known as Timagua. The British called it St. Anthony. The Spanish preferred San Antonio. And, after 1821 when Florida was part of the US, it was briefly changed to Monroe in honor of the President. Finally the name Mandarin was registered in the Federal Post Office Records in 1830 and became incorporated for awhile starting 1841. And, yes, it is named for a type of orange that was popular here.
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.


Mandarin Museum & Historical Society 
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