June 2017 
Dear Friends,

We enter a time that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into World War I with a brand new exhibit that honors one of Mandarin's own, Marion Joseph Losco. Marion, the son of Frank and Dometilla Losco, who owned the winery that now resides in the Walter Jones Historical Park, registered for the draft on June 6, 1917, as did all men between the ages of 21 and 31. Pvt. Losco went to Camp Jackson, SC. for training and then to France. Two months later his family stopped receiving his letters, as he was killed in his first battle. His mother saved all of his letters and correspondence from the Army.  One hundred years later, Paul Ghiotto, whose father was named for Marion, took on the task of transcribing the letters, most written in pencil. This labor of love evolved into a book called A Soldier's Story and a special exhibit which will be up at Mandarin Museum until Armistice Day, November 11, 2018 - the 100th anniversary of the war's end.

On June 3 we will unveil the exhibit and the new book with a Grand Opening ceremony at 10 am, followed by the museum being open until 4pm. On this day you will also have the opportunity to see a one-day special exhibit of World War I military artifacts and learn from two amazingly knowledgeable collectors.

We  wish to especially thank the following folks for their part in making this happen: 
  • David Losco, for sharing Marion's letters and other personal objects with us - he inspired us to tell this important story through his precious family keepsakes.
  • Jimmy Losco for sharing some special family photos with us.
  • Paul Ghiotto, MMHS volunteer and former Director of the Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center, for taking on this huge project, transcribing every letter, researching for more and more information, and putting this story into a book and an exhibit.
  • Tracey Arpen for his editing and contributions to the book and the exhibit.
  • Ron Fertser for building a new exhibit space for our WWI display.
  • Phil Buhler for his loan of some important artifacts that represent WWI. And, to  Warren Chard and Phil for bringing some of their vintage uniforms and objects for people to learn about on June 3.
  • Matt Arpen for designing our poster.
  • Gabriele Dempsey for painting and  putting everything together to make a great looking exhibit. 

 Please enjoy Mark Woods' column about Marion in the Florida Times Union for  Memorial Day. Click here. 


Special class in June for children!

"All About Honey Bees"

MMHS volunteer George DeMarino has been planting and caring for our Harriet Beecher Stowe Kitchen Garden for many years as a Master Gardener. But on June 24, he will be wearing his beekeeper hat and will teach a class to children about the importance of bees to our environment. They will learn about what bees do and how they live and they will have activities to take home to enhance their learning. This is a program that George developed for Scout programs and we are happy that he is willing to share it here in the park

The class will take place on Saturday, June 24 from 10-11 am in the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children (right next to the museum). The program is best for 2nd through 8th graders. Parents must stay with their children and it is free.

Please email us or call 268-0784 to reserve your space. Reservations are required due to limited space. This promises to be a great learning experience about an important topic. 

May was a busy month for Mandarin Frogs - We had jam packed painting party and it seemed lots of folks decided to give their mom a frog for Mother's Day! And we are grateful that they did because every penny from a sold frog is a donation to MMHS - and 60% of that goes into our building expansion fund.

Things to know coming up: 
  • On Saturday, June 3 there will be no frogs in the museum Gift Shop because of the exhibit opening. However, they will be available at the historic Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Rd.) when it is open that day in the afternoon - from 12-3 -  with a very nice selection of frogs.
  • The June frog painting is almost filled up on June 17 from 10-12. A few spots left.
  • The July painting party is painting  squirrels, instead of frogs. We have spaces available.
  • Please reserve a concrete pet  by calling 268-0784 or email us at And if you have to cancel, please let us know so we can let those on a waiting list know.


Did you know - that an internationally acclaimed composer is buried in the Mandarin Cemetery?

Yes, indeed, Hans Barth was an internationally known composer and pianist, who lived on Mandarin Road the last eleven years of his life while teaching at Jacksonville Junior College, now Jacksonville University. Born in Germany in 1897, he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory before moving to the United States in 1907. He is best known for his compositions in quarter-tone. His notable performances include headlining the first musical event in Constitution Hall and a 1930 appearance with the Philadelphia Symphony. He died in 1956 and is buried in Mandarin Cemetery.

Learn more about Mr. Barth and nine other well-known Mandarin residents who are included on our 10-stop self-guided tour. The tour brochures are available in the museum or in a box just inside the cemetery gate. The ten stones are clearly marked and are all close to each other in the old part of the cemetery. Mandarin Cemetery is located about 1/4 mile west of Walter Jones Historical Park. 

Looking Back on May 

May was a great month and we'd like to share some of it with you.

On May 7, we had a visit from a group attending the Florida Anthropological Society meetings in Jacksonville who asked to come to MMHS to learn about the Maple Leaf and meet Keith Holland.

On May 8 and 9th, Loretto School brought all of their KG and 1st grade classes to the park for a special Colonial period education opportunity with Camp Flintlock (from North Carolina) and the 3rd graders came for a tour of the properties the next week.

We were very honored to receive the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Award for the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children project on May 11. Seen here, some of our major partners in this project who also received this award: Matt Schellenberg, City Councilman; Karen Droege, MMHS; Gabriele Dempsey, MMHS; Jim Register, Rotary Club of Mandarin; Mike Barwald (Mandarin resident and son of the late Billy Barwald - Billy was honored with a special award for his lifetime of contributions this night); Sandy Arpen, MMHS; Daryl Joseph, City of Jacksonville Parks, Recreation and Community Services; Bob White, R.G. White Construction. (Missing from photo: Emily Lisska, Mandarin Community Club and Ryan Tiedeberg (Rotary Club of Mandarin).


We had a great time with a Cub Scout pack from St.Joseph's Catholic Church, who especially liked the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children!


And, on May 18, Mark Woods, Florida Times-Union columnist, spoke to a full house about his one year journey to National Parks. His book Lassoing the Sun was available and everybody left inspired to explore more parks themselves. 
Remember our regularly scheduled programs

"Under the Oaks" Music Jam - June 4 from  2-4 pm

The monthly music event that takes place under the majestic oaks in front of Mandarin Museum  on the first Sunday of every month. This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network.

Please join in this open community jam in the round. If you don't play an instrument you are invited to bring your lawn chair and relax and enjoy the music and the natural beauty of the park. It has quickly become a fun tradition on the first Sunday of the month.

Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this time, so please pay a visit.

"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers"
  June 17, 12-4 pm 

This National Historic Landmark shipwreck site is truly a time capsule. 99% of its cargo contents are still awaiting discovery, safely enclosed in the mud of the St. Johns River. But we get to see some of it and learn about it from Keith Holland and  his St. Johns Archaeological Expedition divers. They give their time every month  to meet and greet visitors and tell them the stories of Maple Leaf. Take advantage of this opportunity and come out to see them. 

Mark your calendars -  Third Thursday Lecture
August 17

The topic of the  Third Thursday Lecture in August is a little outside of Mandarin, but one that we think everybody will have an interest.

Local expert on the subject, Scott Grant, will speak about the 1942 U-boat attack on an American tanker ship - 4 miles from Jacksonville Beach - and with thousands looking on.


June 3 - GRAND OPENING - Pvt. Marion Losco World War I exhibit - 10-4 
June 3 - Historic Store and Post Office Open -  12-3 -  FROGS AVAILABLE THERE TODAY!
June  4 - "Under the Oaks" music jam  - 2-4
June17 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers - 12-4
June 17 - Frog painting -  10-12
June 24 - Class for children - "All About Bees" - 10 am at the Schoolhouse 
July 1 - Historic Store and Post Office Open
July 2 - "Under the Oaks" music jam  - 2-4
July 15 - Squirrel painting party 10-12
July 15 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4 
August 5 - Historic Store and Post Office Open
August 6 - "Under the Oaks" music jam  - 2-4
August 19 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers - 12-4
August 17 - Third Thursday Lecture 6:30 pm 
September 23 - Smithsonian Magazine - "Museum Day Live"
November 16 - Third Thursday Lecture
December 2 - Winter Celebration

Mandarin Museum and the 1898 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 monthly from 12-4 on the 1st Saturday of the month. NOTE: Open 12-3 in June. 



The magnolias are bursting forth in all their glory. Look for them and enjoy their special beauty and sweet fragrance.
Our mission: Mandarin Museum & Historical Society preserves and shares the stories of Mandarin's history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire.


Mandarin Museum & Historical Society,

a volunteer based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which is located in the
Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Road. Jacksonville, Florida.

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.