March 2017 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

Have you noticed the smell of orange blossoms in the air lately? Every year when I see these beautiful blossoms break forth, I am drawn to re-read a chapter in Palmetto Leaves called "Swamps and Orange Trees." This chapter is dated March 25, 1872, and is a description by Harriet Beecher Stowe of the various flowers and plants in the area. It always amazes me how we are enjoying the same things she did about our beautiful Mandarin so many years ago.

She writes of the orange blossoms: "But what a bouquet of sweets is the orange tree! Merely as a flowering-tree it is worth having, if for nothing else. We call the time of their budding the week of pearls. How beautiful, how almost miraculous, the leaping-forth of these pearls to gem the green leaves! The fragrance has a stimulating effect on our nerves - a sort of dreamy intoxication. The air, now full of it. Under the trees the white shell-petals drift, bearing perfume."

Look around for orange trees in Mandarin. You will find them here and there and everywhere, including in the orange grove next to the schoolhouse and the large tree next to the farmhouse. Stop and notice the "pearls" and take in the unique and captivating fragrance....and think of Harriet and feel inspired about why it is so important that we continue the work we are doing to preserve the heritage of Mandarin.

Sandy Arpen
Congratulations to Susie Scott
Recipient of the 2017 Miss Aggie Award

The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society hosts the annual Miss Aggie Day each year to honor a female for her service to the community of Mandarin. This award is named in honor of Miss Agnes Jones, the daughter of Walter and Edith Jones. After the death of her father in 1928, Agnes served as Mandarin's postmistress and proprietor of the Mandarin Store and Post Office until 1964. She was also the last member of the Jones family to reside in the family home, which is located in Walter Jones Historical Park. After her death in 1992, the almost 10 acres of homestead property was made available by the family for the city's first historic park. "Miss Aggie", as she was fondly called, was known for her contributions to the community through her acts of kindness and generosity to all.
This year Miss Aggie Day will be celebrated on March 4 at the historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office. The ceremony will honor the Miss Aggie Award recipient for 2017, Susie Scott. Susie exemplifies the spirit of giving to her community that was modeled years ago by Agnes Jones.

Susie and her husband Bruce moved to Mandarin Road in 1998 where she built a barn which she filled with her passion and hobby, Arabian horses. Susie served on the North Florida Equestrian Society Board and Advisory Board for many years to support the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

She also discovered an even greater passion while living in Mandarin when she joined the Mandarin Community Club and Mandarin Museum and Historical Society with Life memberships in 1999.

Susie worked with Mary Ann Southwell and Sharon Copeland to draft and adopt the Scenic and Historic Corridor Ordinance for Mandarin Road. Susie worked with Jacksonville community leaders as one of the five petitioners of the Citizens for Tree Preservation group to get the Tree Protection Charter Amendment passed. She has gone on to work with neighbors and as a Board member of the Mandarin Community Club on Mandarin and citywide issues. She served for almost two years on the Vision Committee to help draft the Guiding Principles for the 2030 Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Susie has served multiple times as President of the Mandarin Community Club and since 2009 as Chair of the annual Mandarin Art Festival. She is currently serving in both roles while also serving on the Advisory Board for Scenic Jacksonville.

Thank you to Susie Scott for her many accomplishments and contributions to the community of Mandarin.

Please join us as we honor Susie on Saturday, March 4 at 1 pm at the Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Rd. Visit your neighbors and enjoy a moonpie and RC cola - just like the old days when Miss Aggie was there! 
February was a great month 

Lots of exciting things happened in February, and we'd like to share them with you.

Preston Richter of Boy Scout Troop 473, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, completed his Eagle Scout Award Project by building an outdoor display case for antique implements. This display is near the sawmill. It will serve as an educational tool for people to learn about the former industries of north Florida. Preston is in the bright blue shirt in the middle. He graduates from Bishop Kenny in May and will start college at UCF in the fall.

Many thanks to Preston, his dad and his troop mates for taking on this massive and important project. Watch for a story about him in the May edition of the Mandarin NewsLine.

The Young Minds Building Success Readers Theater moved and inspired the audience at the Third Thursday Lecture. By reading narratives that are documented in Stetson Kennedy's book The Florida Slave, these fine actors increased everyone's knowledge and understanding of the true challenges slavery imposed on  people, in a very personal way. Then they made their audience laugh with the fantastic folklore  stories of Black Super Heroes. A standing ovation was given for an excellent and unique performance.

Thank you very much to the Tangela Floyd, the  actors,  and to the Stetson Kennedy Foundation for making this performance available  through their generous sponsorship.

On Feb. 19 we set a record for a frog painting, with 31 children coming to paint their very own frog - and what beautiful creations they were. Everybody had a wonderful time. The next painting is March 25. We ask that you pre-register at 268-0784 or

Thank you to the Frog Man for making all this possible and for bringing joy to so many people!

On February 25, we had a great turnout for the Annual Air Potato Roundup - held in city parks all over the county. Many hands made a HUGE improvement down by the boardwalk - removing a ton of invasive camphor and vines. You can actually see the boardwalk from the picnic pavilion now!

Thank you to board member Gabriele Dempsey for leading this effort. Many folks from the community participated including Councilman Matt Schellenberg. Board members and MMHS volunteers included: Pat Plumlee, Mike Woodward, Virginia Barker, Tracey Arpen, Kathy Schutt, and Andy Morrow and his entire family.
Al Poindexter performing at Winter Celebration
Sign-up now for special class 
 in April

North Florida Folk Music: History and Tradition -- a book written  by Ron Johnson will be the subject of a class offered by Mandarin Museum & Historical Society starting on April 27.  The class, taught by local singer/songwriter Al Poindexter, will be a discussion of the material in Johnson's book. Ron, a popular folk artist himself, started the "Music Under the Oaks" music jam at Mandarin Museum in 2013 when he was President of North Florida Folk Network. Sadly, he passed away in 2014, just months after his book was published. He has left us a treasure, as he "shares some of the stories and insights into the folk music of North Florida and those who define the tradition."
Enhance your knowledge through an exploration of folk music and its history. Gather to learn about the songs, songwriters and performers heard at festivals, folk clubs, campfires and living rooms. Enrich your appreciation of music of the heart and soul that reveal truths about life, joy and struggle. Enjoy music and video clips as well as some live music. You'll be invited to sing along.  Recommended Reading : Ron Johnson, North Florida Folk Music: History and Tradition, which is available at the Mandarin Museum Gift Shop.
The class will meet for three Thursday evenings from 6:30 - 8 pm at the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children, next to Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Rd. Dates: April 27, May 4 and May 11. The cost for class is $30. donation. Please register by calling 268-0784 or emailing . There is limited seating, so reservations are required.

Ron Johnson at one of the jams he started at Walter Jones Park. 
Thank you to two new business partners

Seen here is the table display that was up in Hagan Ace Hardware from February 9-12. We were selected to be the beneficiary of one of the store's "Round-it-up" campaigns, when shoppers at the Ace store in Mandarin are asked if they would like to round up their ticket with a donation to MMHS. Karen Roumillat and Anne Morrow manned the display on Saturday and talked to a lot of people about the work of the museum.

We are grateful to Hagan Ace for asking us to participate and we are grateful for the $500. received as a result of the campaign. The next time you are in there, please thank them.

Also, a Helping Hands in the Community $1,000 grant has been awarded to  Mandarin Museum & Historical Society the Allstate Foundation  to honor the community service of local Agent Randall Bogani. 

"At Allstate, Agent Randall Bogani is our community leader because when The Good Hands People give back, our hometowns are better, safer places to live. Community involvement is an extension of what our agents do every day." (Allstate Foundation representative).

We appreciate such grants that help us meet the needs of our programming for the community. And, thank you to Agent Bogani,  who will serve as a volunteer for MMHS this year.

Several years ago, JEA provided trees for planting  in the park, including this river birch near the picnic pavilion. This is a perfect tree for low lying areas such as this.
"Florida Friendly Trees"

When you want to buy a tree or landscape plants for your yard, it is important to look for flora that is conducive to the weather and conditions in Florida and your landscaping space.

Larry Figart, Urban Forestry Extension Agent, recently shared a great link that will help you make your decisions.

Here is a plant list put out by the Florida Friendly Landscaping ™ Program at the University of Florida.   
An announcement from our friends at the Community Club

The Mandarin Community Club will host a Q&A Session with Sheriff Mike Williams at the Club building on Tuesday evening, March 28th. The event is scheduled for 6:30 - 8:30 PM; doors will open at 6 PM. 12471 Mandarin Rd. All are welcome to attend.
Remember our regularly scheduled programs

"Under the Oaks" Music Jam - March 5, 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.
You are invited to bring your acoustic instrument and join in this open community jam in the round. It is a wonderful opportunity to have some fun playing with other musicians in a naturally beautiful setting. 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 become a tradition that artists are sometimes there painting a scene of the day, and you are also welcome to bring your easel and paints.
Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this time, so please pay a visit to see the amazing historical reflection of Mandarin's history.Then finish up your day with a stroll through the beautiful 10-acre park and along the St. Johns River.
Please bring your own chair. Water and restrooms are available inside the museum.

Eric Ardnt, a fine musician and a regular jammer.

"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" - March 18, 12-4 pm

Since the 150th anniversary event in 2014, Keith Holland and many of his St. Johns Archaeological Expedition divers have given their time to meet and greet visitors and tell them the amazing Civil War story of the Union steamship that was sunk by Confederate mines on April 1, 1864 - at Mandarin Point.

There is nothing better than learning from those men who found the ship, dived in total darkness in 8 feet of mud below the St. Johns River and excavated 4000 artifacts belonging to the U.S.Army and two regiments of Union soldiers. These men are keeping the amazing stories related to this National Historic Landmark shipwreck alive for new generations to learn from. It is a unique opportunity - don't miss it. 
Paul Kramer, Keith Holland, Mike Dupes and Steve Michaelis - SJAE divers

March 4 - Store and Post Office open 12-4  - Miss Aggie Day presentation at 1 pm
March  5 - "Under the Oaks" Music Jam - 2-4
March 18 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers - 12-4
March 25 - Frog painting - 10-12
April 1- Store and Post Office open 12-4
April 2 - "Under the Oaks" Music Jam - 2-4
April 15 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
April 15 - Historic Store and PO open for the Mandarin Art Festival 10-5
April 16 - Historic Store and PO open for Mandarin Art Festival 10-4
April 27, May 4, May 11 - three-session class on North Florida Folk Music 6:30 - 8 at the schoolhouse
May 6 - Store and Post Office Open
May 18 - Third Thursday Lecture - Mark Woods, FTU columnist and author of  Lassoing the Sun. Book signing.
May 20 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
May 27 - Class for children - "All about Bees" - 10 am at the schoolhouse - George DeMarino, Master Gardener

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. 



There would be no MMHS without the foundation of support provided by our membership and volunteers. Did you know that we are the only organization out of the 25 Cultural Council organizations that is volunteer driven. That is pretty amazing really. But it takes many, many hands to keep our programs  going and for us to serve the community as we do.

So please, if you have not renewed your membership support yet for 2017, please renew now.  If you are not a member,  we ask that you consider helping us with our mission by becoming a supportive member of the organization.

If you would like to volunteer, we have lots of needs and opportunities. We will be happy to match you up with your area of interest - just call Paula Suhey , our Volunteer Coordinator, today at 403-5024 or and she will get you started.

Memberships and volunteer applications can  be found on-line by hovering on the "Join" tab for the drop-down choices at or by coming by the museum any Saturday.  
We have a great team at MMHS and we welcome you to be part of it!   
Volunteer Bruce Vacca, conducting a school tour.

In case you missed it - the orchid tree next to the schoolhouse was in full bloom this week. Many of the blooms are dropping, but there are plenty more buds to come out.

This beautiful showing of color only lasts a couple of weeks. Enjoy!

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 501C3 organization which is located in the Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Road. Jacksonville, Florida.

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.