February 2021  

Dear Friends, 

February is "Black History Month" - "an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history." ( We usually honor this month with our Third Thursday Lecture at the Mandarin Community Club.
Sadly, we are still not able to have these in-person lectures.
But, we honor it this year by working hard to finish the new exhibit that is being created, titled "The Untold History of Black Mandarin." The history of African-American heritage and contributions to Mandarin runs deep - starting with the work done on this land by enslaved peoples who were brought to  plantations that existed here. Many of those families stayed after the Emancipation and others migrated to the area from South Carolina and Georgia, especially, looking for a place to make a new start in freedom. These families have been an important part of the overall heritage and development of Mandarin. It is way past time for their stories to be told and credit be given for their contributions - but we are happy that we will be able to do that in the Mandarin Museum main exhibit hall when we reopen. 
One tidbit of history: This gravestone is for Corporal Adam Robinson, Co. C, 33rd US Colored Infantry. He is buried in Plummer's Cemetery.  We have learned in our research for this exhibit that at least seven African American men from Mandarin served in the Union Army during the Civil War - all in the 33rd or 34th Infantry. They will be recognized.  
Sandy Arpen

More Mandarin Sadness
We were so sorry to hear of the deaths of two very prominent members of the Mandarin community in the last month.
Pat Corrado, Past President of the Mandarin Community Club, passed away unexpectedly on December 31. Pat had served the Club for many, many years as a member and volunteer. There was rarely an event that Pat did not work, but many remember his tireless efforts to make the annual Art Festival so successful for a long time. As a matter of fact the photo below was taken at the festival and was borrowed from the Community Club website ( It's a perfect picture of Pat - with his big smile 
Pat had a career in telecommunications, but he was also well known for being a great cook, and at one time he owned the wonderful Corrado's Bakery & Bistro in Five Points. He loved football and vintage cars and he also volunteered at the Concours d'Elegance for many years.

Then on January 8, Bruce Scott, husband of Susie Scott, current President of the Mandarin Community Club, also passed away. Bruce was a man that many would describe as having a "larger than life personality." He was filled with energy, enthusiasm, and drive. He'd greet folks with a smile and a hug - and you knew it was for real.  
Many knew Bruce as a Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer, for his love of motorcycles or as owner and operator of Scott Alarm. If you ever heard his commercials, you would never  forget Bruce's voice saying, "Crime Makes Me Mad!" But he also loved Mandarin and served as President of the Mandarin Community Club too - and he was always by Susie's side in support as she continued to lead MCC in efforts to preserve and protect Mandarin's heritage. The picture below was in 2017, when Susie was the recipient of the Miss Aggie Award. 
Both Pat and Bruce were military veterans. And they were very special men who will be greatly missed. Our hearts ache for Cay and Susie and their families - and for the Mandarin Community Club who lost two giants in one month's time. Love and Peace to all. 
Outdoor Frog Sale
February 13

We are excited and grateful to offer another Outdoor Frog Sale in February. We completely sold out Don's inventory in December and he has been busily pouring molds every day to be able to provide another fundraising opportunity for MMHS - and more frogs for those who are asking for them. Most know, but I'd like to remind everyone, that he works 40-50 hours a week to make these fanciful critters for the benefit of Mandarin Museum. He does not even take a penny for supplies. It is an unbelievable gift to us and to the whole community, which has been bitten by the "Mandarin Frog Bug."

This was last year's Valentine Frog - Hopefully the azaleas will be blooming like this on the 13th - a true sign of Spring.

Books and art prints will be available too and, as always these days, COVID safety is paramount - wear masks, distance, don't linger and we have lots of sanitizer available.
Blue Star Families Special ZOOM Event
March 14 at 4pm
Mark your calendars
Blue Star Families is an organization that was founded to support and strengthen military families by connecting them to individuals and organizations in their communities.   In 2019, MMHS hosted a "Blue Star Family Day" as part of their annual "Blue Star Museum Day" program. This partnership allowed us to introduce Jacksonville's large military population to Mandarin Museum and Walter Jones Historical Park- and it provided an educational and fun event for Jacksonville's large and important military community. It was very successful and we committed to making it an annual affair. 
We did not have it in 2020 due to COVID, but this year the NAS Jacksonville chapter is going to partner with the Dayton, OH chapter to celebrate Women's History Month in March by featuring a "woman of distinction" - Harriet Beecher Stowe! This will be done as a ZOOM program and will be available to Blue Star families nationwide.

So, this is very exciting! MMHS will share the ZOOM presentation with the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. ( The Executive Director of the HBS House will focus on Harriet's 18 years in Cincinnati (ages 21-39) and Sandy Arpen will focus on the Mandarin years of 1867-84 (ages 56-73). These were her pre- and post-Uncle Tom's Cabin years.
Because MMHS is presenting part of the program, our newsletter readers are invited as well. There will be more about the details in the March issue of MMHS News. 
In Our Collection
Arnold Pilot Forest Documents 
if you lived in the Mandarin area in 1959 and after, you will remember this sign on Loretto Road, just west of Loretto Elementary School. It marked the site of the Arnold family's Pilot Forest.
Lev and Elizabeth Arnold bought 161 acres (once the George Hartley Grant) there in 1938 and settled down to build a home and start and raise their family of three boys - Jim, Robin and David. Mr. Arnold was born in West Virginia, was an engineer, and also was very interested in forestry. Mrs. Arnold's family (Robinson) was well known in the area south of Bayard. She was a registered nurse, but they built a nursery on the property and Mrs. Arnold grew ferns and orchids. She even propagated and trademarked one that she named "Frizzie Lizzie" - named after her and the appearance of the fern.
And, in 1959 they started the Arnold Pilot Forest on 147 of their acres. It was one of only 91 such test plots in the South. These forests were started by the pulp and paper industry as a way to  study and document forestry techniques that would be helpful to small farmers who could then learn how to "put idle acres to more profitable use" by successfully growing trees.
This photo was one of many family documents brought to us recently by Megan Arnold, David's daughter. We are grateful for a window into this interesting piece of Mandarin's history. Seen in the photo are H. Levering, Jim, Elizabeth, and David Arnold.
This property is where "Red's Gait" subdivision is now. Part of the deal when it was sold was that Jim's well-known horse "Red", who was buried near a large tree, would not be disturbed...and that the neighborhood would be named for the horse! You will notice a large horse statue at the gate. 

Mandarin Newsline

The February 2020 edition of the Mandarin Newsline is out.

This free newspaper is our chief way of sharing history stories, events and programs with the public. They are able to publish free papers due to the robust local advertising. Please pay attention to the ads and shop and eat at those businesses that support the community in this way.

To read the entire Newsline click  HERE.

"Always the River..."

 Jean Morrow was right - It is "Alway's the River..."
The beautiful St. Johns was always the reason people came to Mandarin:
from the Timuquans, the Spanish, the English, the territorial settlers - all the way to today.  
Every single day on the river is unique as the water, the sun and the clouds interact to form beautiful pictures for all to enjoy.  
This stunning capture was taken by singer/songwriter and  photographer Paul Garfinkel several years ago.

The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are usually 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 usually open from 10-2 on the first Saturday.

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.    
However, these activities are not available at this time due to COVID-19. Reopening will be announced as soon as a date is determined.
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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