March 2019 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

We are so grateful for partners like the Florida Historical Society. On February 25, their weekly "Florida Frontiers" radio program featured "Pvt. Marion Losco." If you missed it, CLICK HERE  for the link.

Paul Ghiotto and I were interviewed by FHS Executive Director Ben Brotemarkle. Ben also used Al Poindexter's original song about Marion. In the near future, a film of this same topic will be featured in the TV " Florida Frontiers" program on WJCT, Channel 7 WJCT. We will let you know when that is scheduled.

Sandy Arpen 
First Saturday
March 2

Don't forget that the first Saturday means all the historic buildings managed by MMHS are open for viewing from 10-2, including the historic Store and PO, located at 12471 Mandarin Road and the Losco Winery, barn and farmhouse in the park. The Mandarin Museum and the schoolhouse are open as always from 9-4.

On this Saturday though, MMHS volunteers are also leading a state-wide "Weed Wrangle" event in the park. Bring your gloves and small clippers if you have some and help us continue the fight against invasive plant species that try to take over the park...and the world!

Gabriele Dempsey leads the team and asks that you meet at 8:30 in the parking lot to sign-in and organize. The weather should be good  and there will be pizza afterwards for those who can stay.
Frog Painting Event
Sign-up now!
March 9 
Please make a reservation  - the best way to do that is to email us at  [email protected] and tell us how many frogs you'd like to paint. If you can't email, please call and leave a message at 268-0784. And please, if you sign up and can not come, call us and let us know so we can release your critter to a walk-up person.   
Please check in  between 9:30 and 10 to avoid a line. The painting lasts until about noon. It happens as planned unless it is raining, about to rain or too cold. If you are unsure, call us that morning at 268-0784. 
Frogs are $20. We provide the paint, brushes etc. Wear old clothes. It is lots of fun. Our tremendous gratitude to the Mandarin Frog Man - all proceeds are for the support of  Mandarin Museum programs and expansion.  
Thank you to these faithful volunteers who are there at almost every painting party to greet you and help you with the paint: (l to r) Don (aka The Frog Man), Margaret, Rose, Wendy, Kaye and Susan (missing in photos).  We could not do this great community event without them! 
155th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Steamship Maple Leaf! 
Every March, the Florida Department of State sponsors "March of Museums," an initiative celebrating the variety and versatility of museums and the important services they provide to our communities. 
Mandarin Museum is proud to participate this year by recognizing the 155th anniversary of the sinking of the Maple Leaf, a Civil War Union troop transport - and now a National Historic Landmark - which still lies in the muddy bottom of the St. Johns at Mandarin Point.
On March 16, Dr. Keith Holland and divers from the St. Johns Archaeological Expeditions will be present from 9-4 to discuss the diving operation and recovery of artifacts from the ship during the 1990s. As a special treat, he will also be showing raw footage of the diving operation, newly digitized. MMHS has 70 artifacts on display at the museum, as well as a variety of other objects related to the ship.
In addition, a full Union camp, will be set up in front of the museum by "In Search of Valor - A Living History Experience." - complete with Civil War tents, uniforms, flags, music, equipment and encampment displays. Folks who are interested in becoming Civil War reenactors can obtain information at this camp as well.
The event takes place on March 16 from 9-4 at Mandarin Museum. See you there.

2019 Miss Aggie Day  
 March 23  
The recipient of the 2019 Miss Aggie Award will be honored on Miss Aggie Day, which will be held on Saturday, March 23, at the Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Road, from 12 - 4 p.m.
This award is given by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society annually 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 Postmistress from 1928-1963. Last year's recipient was the first male to ever receive the award - Mandarin's "Frog Man", Donald Bowden.
T he presentation will be held at 1:00 p.m. Moon Pies and RC Cola will be served. We invite all to come and visit the 1911 building, hang out on the front porch, tell stories, visit old and new friends and celebrate this year's worthy recipient....just like the old days! 
Accessions Corner
What is in our Collection?

This beautiful Victrola actually belonged to Miss Aggie. It was given to MMHS by the son of long-time Mandarin residents Ceylon and Elizabeth Rentz. He said that Miss Aggie had given it to his parents at some point and he wanted it to come back to the farmhouse where it was played by the Jones family.

It is a great example of the Victrola cabinet phonograph machines that had an internal horn under the turntable and a wind-up motor that had to be turned to get the speed up. It played flat phonograph "discs." that were invented by a man named Emile Berliner, a German immigrant, in the late 1800s. Eldridge Johnson opened the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901 and music for families to play at home really advanced.

Come visit the farmhouse on Saturday, March 2 from 10-2 and check out this beauty. It is in the parlor.

We are indeed grateful to the Rentz family for taking care of it all these years and for sending it home to the farmhouse at Walter Jones Historical Park.
Interesting offerings in the community in the next couple months 

Carrie Clarke Day  
Historical Society of Orange Park

Saturday March 9 from 11-4
1039 Kingsley Ave.
Clarke House tours, music, craft exhibits, games and more.
Garden Conservatory's "Open Days Garden Tours"
March 30 from 10am to 4pm

 At the Cummer Gardens and other beautiful riverfront gardens in San Marco.
Click HERE for details.
Rotary Club of Mandarin
April 11 
The 2019 edition of "Laughs for Charity" will be held on April 11 at the Ramada Inn and Comedy Zone. As you will recall, the Rotary raised $25,000 at their 2018 event for the Mandarin Museum Expansion Fund! Let's show them some love and go again this year. It is a wonderful and fun event - and this year's primary recipient will be
Mandarin Sports Association!
For tickets, contact Jim Register at  [email protected].  
Looking Back on February
We were delighted to host the Florida Folklore Society for their annual meeting on February 2. Folklorists and members  from all around the state had a tour of the schoolhouse and then met right there for a lively meeting. For more information on this organization CLICK HERE. To learn more about the Florida Folklife Program, a program of the Florida Division of Historical Resources, CLICK HERE.  
On February 4 we were visited by Julie Morgan who is the host of HOT Topics", HOT 99.5's Community Affairs Program, Sundays at 6:30 a.m. She toured the Mandarin Museum and the schoolhouse and recorded an interview with Sandy Arpen. CLICK HERE to hear the interview. We are appreciative of Julie including us in her Black History Month events.

And, we honored Black History Month at our Third Thursday Lecture with a talk by members of the Fort Mose Historical Society. The packed house heard different aspects of the Fort Mose story, including the history of the fort and settlement, the role of the militia and the role of the women.

For you that missed it, Fort Mose was started by escaped slaves from the Carolinas who fled to Spanish Florida seeking freedom. It was the FIRST free African settlement in America, and it served as the northern defense outpost for St. Augustine starting in 1738. What a history! To learn more CLICK HERE.

The Losco Winery in Walter Jones Historical Park, painting by Mandarin artist Gary Garrett - on display in the "Soldier's Story" exhibit at Mandarin Museum.
Mandarin Newsline  
March edition
The Losco Winery log cabin is featured in
Mandarin Newsline in the March edition. CLICK HERE for the online edition.  
The story is  "Back in Time with Brett" by MMHS volunteer Brett Nolan.
The Newsline allows us to share our events with the community. They are supported by advertisements, so please support those who support this wonderful free local paper.
Steamer Ocklawaha at wharf - Palatka, Florida - 1876
State of Florida Archives
Harriet's Journey
In March 1873, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an article about her steamboat trip to Silver Springs on this  steamboat - the Ocklawaha. It took her awhile to brave a trip on the little boat. She says:

"We left Mandarin at eleven o"clock on Thursday, March 27, and returned to it again the next Tuesday afternoon. We had often noticed the little steamer Okalawaha (sic), looking for all the world like a gray square cotton bale, and I confess that we shuddered at the idea of going on a bush-whacking tour through the native swamps of the alligator in such a suspicious looking craft as that. But the experience of more adventuresome friends, who dared and did - went up and came back with songs of joy upon their head -

persuaded us."

She had a great time and went on to describe the canopied river, flora and fauna and the clear and pristine springs seen on the journey - she makes this observation as they entered Silver Springs at 1:00 am: " In the stillness of the night our gliding boat seemed to float like a specter; clouds of fragrance were wafted to us from distant orange groves. The cranes and herons and wild wood birds would wake, dazed with the glare of our torches, and flutter into our very hands as we passed."

The complete article that was first published in the Christian Union Magazine can be read in  John and Sarah Foster's book - Calling Yankees to Florida, - available in the museum gift shop.

Oh, if Silver Springs was still pristine and if we could actually go down the St. Johns into the Ocklawaha River directly to it. But, alas, a dam was built and access is no longer available.

My question to you all is.....would you get on that little boat?

Note: For an amazing look at Florida photographs, videos and collections, visit


First Saturday - March 2 - All Buildings Open- READ TIMES
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.
No bathrooms at the farmhouse for a long time - bowls and pitchers were a must. See if you can find this beautiful set. 

 "Under the Oaks" Music Jam - March 3 
The  "Under the Oaks" music jam will take place on Sunday, February 3 from 2-4 in front of the Mandarin Museum, weather permitting. Players of all levels are invited to join in the song circle. Listeners are welcome as well. - just please bring a lawn chair.
The museum and schoolhouse will be open during this time for visitation.   
This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network. - "Connecting Artists, Fans and venues in North Florida." CLICK HERE to view their website.   
Weather moved us in during Feb's jam.
Meet the Maple Leaf  Divers - March 16 
Keith Holland and SJAE divers will be in the museum February 16 from 9-4 to tell you all about their exploration of this National Historic Landmark shipwreck.
Maple Leaf divers and guests! 
    Mark your calendars

    • March 2 - Historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office open at 12471 Mandarin Rd. from 10 am - 2 pm; 1875 farmhouse, 1876 barn, and Losco Winery open in Walter Jones Historical Park, 10 am - 2 pm; Mandarin Museum and the schoolhouse  open from 9 am - 4 pm
    • March 3 - Under the Oaks music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm 
    • March 16 - Special Meet the Divers Day in honor of Florida's "March of Museums" month, including a full Union Army camp.
    • March 23 - Miss Aggie Day and award - 12-4 at the Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Rd. Award will be presented at 1 PM.
    • April 6 - Historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office open at 12471 Mandarin Rd. from 10 am - 2 pm; 1875 farmhouse, 1876 barn, and Losco Winery open in Walter Jones Historical Park, 10 am - 2 pm; Mandarin Museum and the schoolhouse  open from 9 am - 4 pm
    • April 7 - Under the Oaks music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm
    • April 13 - Frog Painting - 10-12 at Mandarin Museum
    • April 20 - Art Festival at Mandarin Community Club - MMHS will have the Store and Post Office open - from 10-5.
    • April 21 - Art Festival at Mandarin Community Club - MMHS will have the Store and Post Office open - from 10-4.
    • May 16 - Third Thursday Lecture - Mandarin resident  Ann Kenyon, renowned portrait artist and author.
    • August 15 - Third Thursday Lecture - The Riverkeeper
    • September 28 - Smithsonian Museum  Day
The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are open every Saturday 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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