July 2021

Dear friends,

We feel that everything we do embraces the Mandarin Experience...and that includes appreciation of the natural beauty around us. In late June we began to see the gorgeous bursting forth of the purple Passion Flower on the trellis in the Butterfly Garden at Walter Jones Historical Park.

This flower is one you must take a minute to view closely for yourself. It is so stunning, so delicate and so special.

Have a wonderful 4th of July holiday and a great summer season!

Sandy Arpen
Share in the fun at the Community Club

July 2

Mark your calendars and come to the 98th-anniversary celebration of the Mandarin Community Club on Friday, July 2nd! The evening includes the unveiling of the restored 1855 historic school bell! AND there's BINGO. Doors open at 6:15; Games at 7. Click here for more information and to reserve a seat. Sounds like a really fun evening - all for a good cause.

Mark your calendar for the Third Thursday lecture on August 19
We are pleased to announce an August 19th Third Thursday Lecture via ZOOM meeting - beginning at 7 PM..

This event will feature a special speaker who will be sharing with us all the way from the beautiful hills of North Carolina. The topic will be “William Bartram in Northern Florida.”
Brent Martin has been a conservationist and educator for most of his life and is considered an expert on the Bartrams. Currently he serves as the Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy ( and is a co-owner, with his wife Angela, of a Southern Appalachian guide service, “Alarka Expeditions” ( Prior to his work at the conservancy, he was Southern Appalachian Regional Director of the Wilderness Society. He is also a poet and an author.
Mr. Martin will discuss William Bartram's travels through northern Florida and the St. John's River valley during the 1760s with his father, as well as time spent exploring there in the 1770s. Bartram loved the St. Johns River, and this discussion will include the subjects of Native American customs and beliefs he observed, the plant and animal world, and his artistic renderings of the area. We will also explore the internal landscape of Bartram - his motivations and beliefs, and his unique perspective on the American landscape.  
To register for this special lecture, please email us at and a ZOOM Meeting link will be sent to you.

Openings of historic buildings in July

We had very successful openings of the historic buildings in June and we are looking for a positive July as well.

Seen here is volunteer Marsha O'Steen, serving as a docent in the schoolhouse. She is posing here with a cardboard figure of Sister Mary Albert Lussier, representing the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The July schedule of openings is:

July 10 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn in Walter Jones Historical Park. Gift Shop open on the front porch of the Mandarin Museum in the park.

July 10 from 10-12: There is also a frog painting party, but it is FULL. Email if you are interested in the August frog painting on August 14. Be sure to tell us how many people are in your group and whether they want to paint a frog, turtle or squirrel.

July 24 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn will be open in Walter Jones Historical Park, as well as the Gift Shop. AND the 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office will be open these hours at 12471 Mandarin Rd. as well.

The Mandarin Museum building will remain closed until construction and renovation are complete.
Welcome New Board Member
Roger Sallas

Meet new MMHS Board Member Roger Sallas and learn why he loves Mandarin.

Many will recognize Roger as a Spanish soldier, dressed in full uniform for Winter Celebration, or as the Losco Winery storyteller, always there to tell folks about the Losco family and their log cabin winery building that was moved to the park. After several years of volunteering in these and many other ways, Roger now also serves on the Board of Directors, heading up the Facilities Committee. He is already making regular inspections of the park and of the historic buildings and reporting to the City any major maintenance needs.

"I was asked to put together a brief outline about what I love about Mandarin so I looked at all the write-ups from current board members for inspiration. There are references to growing up in Mandarin, having parents, grandparents, great-grandparents who were Mandarin residents and references to having moved to Mandarin in more recent years.

I can’t personally make a Mandarin connection in my family tree, only a connection to Florida that goes back seven generations to 1766 when my great-great-great-great-grandparents were recruited to come to Florida from the island of Menorca as indentured workers to toil in an ill-fated indigo plantation called New Smyrna. A combination of the failure of Turnbull’s plantation and a chance migration of a Spanish mariner named Jose Candalaria Salas to St. Augustine in the 1790s led to a marriage between Jose Candalaria and Juana Segui, the daughter of one of the Menorcan colonists. Some 250 years later, we are still hanging around North Florida. My family history includes a big chunk of Florida history, which explains my interest in Florida history.

My early childhood Mandarin memories involve my Dad loading us all in the car for Sunday drives that frequently included stops at the Little Train, a ride under the moss covered oaks along Mandarin Road, and a scary ride across the river on the rickety old Shands Bridge.

I am proud of my Florida heritage and I enjoy passing on my interest and stories about Florida, so when I found an opportunity to be a docent at Walter Jones Park a few years ago, I accepted the challenge. I enjoy talking to the visitors, sharing tidbits of Florida and Mandarin history, and meeting relatives of the Loscos, Daneses, Bowdens, Hartleys, Pellicers, Hauts, Ghiottos and other early Mandarin families." Roger Sallas
A Mandarin Trailblazer!
Louise Rebecca Pinnell was a remarkable Mandarin resident who is little remembered today. In the 1890s, “Lou Becca” moved to Florida with her family, including her father, Ethan Allen Pinnell, who became a judge. Lou Becca, who had completed college in Missouri, studied law in her father’s office for two years before taking the oral bar exam in May 1898. It took another six months before the Florida Supreme Court, puzzled over whether to admit a woman to practice law, finally approved her admission. She became Florida’s first female lawyer.

She was encouraged to become a lawyer by her family. She said, “My father, my brother and my mother encouraged me to enter the field. Mother felt that ability determined what profession you choose, not which sex you happened to be.”

After practicing law with Alexander St. Clair Abrams, she began working for the Florida East Coast Railway as an attorney and assistant secretary of the FEC. She remained there for 25 years before entering private practice. By the time she retired in 1958 after a career of almost 60 years, she was recognized as the “dean of women lawyers” in Florida.

Lou Becca never married and lived with her two sisters in a riverfront home off Beauclerc Road. After a lengthy illness, she died May 22, 1966 at the age of 89. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, as are her parents and sisters.

Written by: Tracey Arpen
Photo: Courtesy of Florida Memory Project
Volunteer Spotlight
Young people volunteering in a museum that is about history?
Well, yes.
Brett Nolan, Camille and Camiya Ferron, Caylee Padgett, Francesca Orr-Yepes, Harleigh Murray, Audrey Everett and Stephenie White are among the younger volunteers who have added so much to our cadre of volunteers.
Two of them, Audrey Stephenie and Audrey are spotlighted in this issue of MMHS News.
Stephenie came with a group of volunteers from Merrill Lynch when the Museum celebrated Blue Star Memorial Day in July 2021. 

“I like my job at Merrill Lynch,” said Stephenie, “especially when an opportunity to serve the community is posted on one of our bulletin boards.”
That was the situation when Stephenie first fell in love with the Webb Farmhouse.

“I love history,” says the Jacksonville native who has lived in Altamonte Springs and Atlanta in the past. Following graduation from Georgia State, Stephenie moved back to Jacksonville. She remains close to her family both in Atlanta and Florida and is especially close to her twin brother, Stephen.

“From my first time in the Farmhouse I felt like I connected with the people who had lived there. I love to sit on the porch, look out at the river and imagine what life must have been like so many years ago,” she continued.
Stephenie has a passion for "making a difference in someone’s life.” 
Stephenie did make a difference in the life of Audrey Everett when Audrey volunteered alongside Stephenie. It was Audrey’s first day.
“Stephenie made me feel very much at home,” said Audrey who has loved history, especially the Victorian Age for as long as she can remember. 

Audrey was home schooled and worked at Chick-Fil-A until recently, when she stepped up to be a clerk at Publix. She will begin her senior year at UNF in the Fall. Her major is English.

“We often visited the Museum and Walter Jones Park when I was a child,” she said. “My older brothers, my younger sister and I enjoyed exploring.”

Audrey is a seamstress, and she loves to make vintage clothes. Pictured in one of the outfits of her craft, she looks forward to wearing some of them at future events as well as helping with costumes as needed.
Paula Suhey

There is obviously no age limit on volunteers. We can always find a way for anyone to help.

Mandarin Newsline

The July 2021 edition of the Mandarin Newsline is now online.

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 and then click Digital Editions at the top of the page and then the July 2021 "Mandarin Newsline" link.
Reminder for members

Now that many museums are reopening, don't forget that being a member of MMHS gives you discounts at other museums in the Southeast through the Southeastern Museums Conference Reciprocal Membership Program. Take your MMHS membership card to any of the museums listed HERE and some discount is applied to entry fees or gift shop sales. At MMHS, since we are always free, you receive a discount on most books in our shop.

We are calling for more volunteers!

We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. This becomes even more important as we start reopening and hoping to have the buildings open even more.

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. 

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Thank you to our community partners

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