February 2020   
Dear Friends,

February brings much excitement to Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS) because we expect to break ground and begin building the museum expansion that we have all been waiting for. There was a lot of work that had to be accomplished behind the scenes to get ready and we are getting so close! We will soon be signing a contract with R.G.White Construction, who will build the Maple Leaf exhibit room and the Archive Room addition.

A sign will soon be going up, recognizing the assistance that we are receiving from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs through the Facilities Matching Grant that we were awarded. We are deeply grateful for this support.

In addition to the support we will be receiving through the State of Florida grant, we must also thank Don Bowden for his super generous contributions through four years of making and selling the wonderful Mandarin Frogs; to the Rotary Club of Mandarin for their generous donation through their 2018  "Laughs for Charity" event; and to members, visitors, and friends who donated to make this project possible through your many gifts of all sizes.

We must mention, also, that in-kind donation of plans and professional guidance we have received and continue to receive from Bob McVeigh and the Bhide and Hall Architects is amazing and we are exceedingly grateful to them for their support.

We have committees working on the exhibit changes that will be taking place after the build is complete and the development of the African-American History in Mandarin exhibit. And you will soon receive an email survey, asking for your opinions and desires related to the content of exhibits. Please take the few minutes it will take to give us your thoughts.

Please watch for announcements related to the ground breaking and other exciting things that we anticipate this Spring!
  Sandy Arpen  
Rezoning Pending in Mandarin/Town Hall Meeting Scheduled

Currently there is a rezoning request related to the historic Fleming Bowden house and property at 3323 Loretto Road. The property is currently zoned Rural Residential - Acre (one-acre lots with minimum lot width of 100 feet). It would be rezoned to a Planned Unit Development allowing 56 homes on lots as small as one-sixth of an acre, with a 70-foot minimum lot width. Current plans would not save the house, built around 1906.

If you are interested in learning more and expressing your thoughts and feelings about the proposed rezoning, please attend Councilman Michael Boylan's Town Hall meeting on Monday, Feb. 10 at the Mandarin Garden Club, 2892 Loretto Rd. from 6pm to 8 pm.
Miss Aggie Day
Seeking nominations NOW!

The Walter and Edith Mary Jones Family. Aggie is in the rear, far right.

The Miss Aggie Award is given annually by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society to a person who has contributed greatly to the community of Mandarin in the areas of business, civic, educational or charitable accomplishment. It is given in honor of Agnes Jones, Mandarin's Postmistress from 1928 - 1963.  She took on great responsibility at a young age and made a huge impact on the Mandarin community through her kindness, generosity and service. 
Recipients since 2003 are: Kate Monson, Karen Roumillat, Rhonda Reese, Mary Ann Southwell, Jane Cooksey, Susan Earnhart, Alice Stanley, Elizabeth "Betty" Wolfe, Virginia Barker, Emily Lisska, Linda Levin, Sandy Arpen, Sarah Bailey, Susie Scott, Don Bowden and Lynn Cuda. Prior to 2018, it was an award to honor women, but it is now open to men and women nominees.
The recipient of the 2020 Miss Aggie Award will be honored on Miss Aggie Day, which will be held on Saturday, April 4, at the historic Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Road, from 12 - 2 p.m.
Nominations for the 2020 award are open until February 29. To nominate someone,  print and complete the form by clicking HERE.

Return your nomination form to the museum on any Saturday from 9-4 or email it to [email protected], or mail to PO Box 23601, Jacksonville 32241. For more information, call the museum at 268-0784 or email: [email protected]
February  Lecture
Presented on February 27

In Honor of Black History Month

Author Greg Estevez, Edisto Island

You might be thinking, "What in the world does a book about Edisto Island, South Carolina, have to do with Mandarin?"
Well...a lot, actually. Most folks do not know that there was once a small African American community on Old St. Augustine Road that was also called Edisto. The people who settled there had migrated from Edisto, SC to this area after the Civil War. They started a church there, Julington Baptist Church, one of Mandarin's three historic African American churches that still exist.  
Volunteers at Mandarin Museum have been doing research related to the development of an exhibit on African American history in Mandarin that will be part of the expanded museum building this Fall. This research led us to connect with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, which connected us with Orange Park resident Greg Estevez, who had just published this book. That then led him and the museum to start looking for names to connect families from these two "Edisto" communities. This is very exciting! 
Greg, retired after 20 years in the U.S. Navy, wrote this book as he began studying his family's deep roots in Edisto. He felt a drive to tell the stories of African American life on this island, including his own family, the Hutchinsons. In fact, his family lived in the donated slave cabin that is a centerpiece of the slavery exhibit in the National Museum of African American History in Washington, DC!
But his book became even more than a family story, as he includes the rich history and heritage from slavery times to present day. Greg is the first African American author from Edisto Island to write a non-fiction historical book about the island. He will share any connections with Mandarin's Edisto that we know of by the time of the lecture. This book will be available and Greg will be happy to autograph it for you.
PLEASE NOTE: CHANGE OF DATE: The lecture is on February 27 (NOT February 20, which is the third Thursday - our usual date) due to a conflict at the Community Club on the 20th. It is presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in partnership with and held at the Mandarin Community Club, located at 12447 Mandarin Rd. Refreshments begin at 6:30 pm with the lecture at 7 pm. It is free and all are invited and encouraged to attend. 
County Dock is OPEN!
Everybody is thrilled that the dock was finally finished and reopened to the public during the last week of January. People are flocking there to once again fish, relax and watch the sunset.
Seen here are some photos of the damage of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the rebuilding and folks enjoying the new dock.


Valuable Resources

What's Happening in Northeast Florida?
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is now hosting a new
Calendar of Arts and Cultural Events in the community.
 Check it out by clicking


The Jacksonville History Consortium is
"The Guide For Jacksonville's History Explorers"

"Formed in 2003, the Jacksonville History Consortium brings together the many organizations preserving our city's history," including Mandarin Museum & Historical Society.
Take a look by clicking

Some interesting events by our friends in the community

Timucuan Preserve and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage
Corridor Commission

You are invited to meet some of the residents and learn about the histories, cultures and locations of some of the Jacksonville area's unique surviving Gullah Geechee communities by attending a free program at the Regency Square Branch Library.

"Pathways to a People"
Saturday, February 8, 2020 | 10:30 am - 12 pm
Jacksonville Public Library (Regency Square Branch)
9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville FL 3225


"Flight to Freedom" at Fort Mose State Park
Follow the journey of freedom seekers to Spanish St. Augustine from South Carolina. The first documented escaped slaves arrived in Saint Augustine in 1687. From 1687 through the end of the First Spanish Period in 1763, freedom seekers in ever-increasing numbers made the dangerous and arduous journey from the rice and indigo plantations in coastal South Carolina to the sanctuary of Spanish Florida. Here they could gain their freedom through King Carlos II's Royal Proclamation of 1693.
"Flight to Freedom" tells the story of their journey. Participants will learn about the Spanish, African and Native American food traditions and culture from guest speakers and demonstrators. Demonstrations by the Fort Mose militia, with musket and cannon demonstrations. This event is provided by Fort Mose Historic State Park, The Fort Mose Historical Society, Florida Living History and The Florida Humanities Council.
Saturday, February 8 from 9-3 at Fort Mose Historic State Park, just off U.S. 1 at 15
Fort Mose Trail  
St. Augustine FL 32084

Mandarin Community Club's Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony

Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Road
Sunday, February 9 at 3:00 PM
All are welcome to bring a worn flag to be retired with "respect and honor."

Mandarin Community  Club's 4th Annual Tree Give Away & Festival  

Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Road
Saturday, February 29 - From 9 AM to 1 PM

"More than 500 free trees are available to residents living in the 32223, 32257 and 32258 zip codes. In the interest of fairness, only one tree may be given to each household." Other activities will be happening also - food trucks, children's games, and "speakers on best tree
planting and tree care practices, a talk on how to attract and nurture garden friendly
butterflies and a local beekeeper."
Looking Back on January Events 
Visit by the Garrisons

We were happy to see Fritz and Teri-Beth Garrison again. They came to MMHS to visit with Keith Holland and get updated on the expansion of the museum to include a Maple Leaf room. The Garrisons made a generous donation last year to the Museum Expansion Fund, for which we are very grateful.
Fritz's great-grandfather, George Garrison, was aboard the Maple Leaf when it sank, serving as an officer with the 55th Massachusetts unit. His great-great-grandfather was William Lloyd Garrison, the famous abolitionist and publisher.
In 1853 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a letter to William Lloyd Garrison about their mutual friend, Frederick Douglas. You can read the entire letter HERE.  
First Saturday - all buildings open
February 1 
In Walter Jones Historical Park: 1875 farmhouse, 1876 barn, Losco Winery  
are open from 10-2. 
ALSO - the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office will  be open at 12471 Mandarin Road (next to the Mandarin Community Club) from 10-2.
Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open from 9-4, as usual.

 "Under the Oaks" Music Jam  
February 2
Come on out on Sunday afternoon, February 2, from 2-4 to enjoy some good music played by members of the community in an old fashioned circle jam. If you play an acoustic instrument, you are welcome to join in the  circle. If you are a "listener, please bring a lawn chair and just enjoy this wonderful day. Note: it is weather dependent, of course, since it is an outside event. The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse will be open during this event.  
This event is co-sponsored by our friends at the North Florida Folk Network
Frog Painting
February 8 
Donald Bowden, Mandarin's "Frog Man," will be back after a month off to catch up on deferred maintenance at his own house. Making all those frogs leaves little extra time!
If you'd like to paint, please reserve in advance to [email protected]. (Weather permitting of course - this is an outside event in front of the museum.)
Event is from 10 am to noon. 
"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" 
February 15 
The story of the Civil War steamship Maple Leaf will live forever in Mandarin and American history. This National Historic Landmark shipwreck has unveiled many a story about her life and the lives of the thousands of Union soldiers she transported up and down the East Coast.
Dr. Keith Holland and his team of St. Johns Archaeological Expeditions divers want to meet you and invite you aboard. They are at the museum from 12-4 pm this day. 
Save the Date - March 7  
Weed Wrangle is a statewide volunteer effort to help public parks get rid of invasive plant species. Walter Jones Park has lots of invasive camphor, Chinese privet, ferns and smilax vines that are trying to take over! The official date of the Jacksonville Weed Wrangle is February 29, BUT we will be hosting it at Walter Jones on Saturday, March 7om 9-12.
Please come out and help MMHS volunteers and volunteers from the Late Bloomers Garden Club as they tackle some of these issues. We can use all the help we can get. Just wear long pants and long sleeves, bring a pair of hand clippers, garden gloves and sunsceeen. COJ will supply us with some larger clippers and shovels. Hope to see you then.

Mandarin NewsLine

The February Mandarin NewsLine is hot off the presses. Please click   HERE for an electronic copy. This month's "Back in Time with Brett" feature is Part 2 of an article about the historic Mandarin Community Club.

You don't want to miss all the local news. We are grateful to the NewsLine for allowing area groups to spread the word about their activities through this print media. It is supported through advertising, so please visit those businesses who help make it happen.
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.   
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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