May 2021

Dear Friends,

April was a great month for Spring cleaning and that’s exactly what we did in the barn, winery, store and post office, and the farmhouse- thanks to the volunteer efforts of Roger and Nadia Sallas, Virginia Barker, Sandy and Tracey Arpen, Karen and Randy Roumillat, Patrick Plumlee, Mike Woodward, Bruce Vacca, George, Cathy and Stan Barnwell, Maureen Orr, Joanne Bellovin, Janet Shelfer, and Paula Suhey.

These buildings have not been used since March 2020, so you can imagine the cobwebs in the barn and winery especially. It was hard work, but the buildings are all set to reopen on a limited basis.

The May schedule of openings is:

May 8 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery and 1876 Barn in Walter Jones Historical Park.

May 8 from 10-12: Gift Shop open on the front porch of the Mandarin Museum in the park. There is also a frog painting party, but it is FULL.

May 22 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery and 1876 Barn.

May 22 from 10-12: Store and Post Office at 12471 Mandarin Road for Miss Aggie Day.

We are excited to start this slow reopen. The Mandarin Museum will remain closed until construction and renovation are completed. The schoolhouse is also still closed, but will be reopening at some point in the near future .

We are still following CDC guidelines, so masks will not be required outside, but will be to enter the buildings, where ventilation is poor. Limited numbers of visitors will be able to enter at a time.

April was actually National Volunteer Month.

We offer much gratitude to these folks for doing such a good job getting our buildings back in order.

And, we also deeply appreciate every single volunteer who does anything to keep this organization alive and well!

Sandy Arpen

Miss Aggie Day 2020
(YES, I really mean 2020!)

Seen here is Miss Agnes Jones, Mandarin's Postmistress from 1928 - 1963. “Miss Aggie” Day is celebrated and an award is given annually to a resident who has contributed to the Mandarin community in the areas of business, civic, educational or charitable accomplishment, in the same way "Miss Aggie" did.

As you may recall, Miss Aggie Day 2020 never happened because it was right in the beginning of the pandemic. We waited and waited until we felt it was safe to have the ceremony honoring our two recipients, Wanda Bosworth and Sam Folds. We finally feel the time is right and safe and May 22nd is the day!

This is the first time we have ever honored two people at the same time, but their contributions to the community were so overwhelmingly great, that we just decided to do both together. Many of you know both of these folks because they have been so involved with Mandarin for so long.

Sam was born and raised in Mandarin and has served clients in Mandarin through his real estate business for over forty years. He has been a life-long member of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour and is a Charter (and still active) Member of the Rotary Club of Mandarin, where he has served in many roles. He also serves on the board of the Mandarin Cemetery Association. Sam has always been an active advocate for the community, and especially by speaking out about the importance of preserving the integrity of Mandarin's landscape and history.
Wanda has made volunteering in her community her profession. Since 1986 she has served through her involvement, support and leadership in the Mandarin Community Club, the Mandarin Garden Club, the PTAs and activities of Mandarin Middle and Mandarin High School, Mandarin Women's Club, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, and many other organizations in Jacksonville as well.

Both Sam and Wanda have deep roots here in Mandarin and have given selflessly of their time, resources and talents. They epitomize the characteristics that Miss Agnes Jones was known for and for which this award is given: a deep love of Mandarin, generosity to all and service to the community that is above and beyond.

The presentation will be held outside at 10:30 a.m. at the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Road. Moon Pies and RC Cola will be served like in days gone by.

Even though the presentation will be outside, we ask that you bring a mask in case we can't maintain distancing. We invite all to come and visit the historic 1911 building from 10-12, with a break during the presentation.

We congratulate and celebrate these two very worthy recipients. We will have photos of them at the event in the June newsletter.

Fred Johnston

It was with great sadness that we learned last month of the very unexpected death of volunteer Fred Johnston. Fred and his wife Sue have served for several years as our Winter Celebration First Aid team. They were a perfect fit for that job because Fred was retired from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) and Sue is a Registered Nurse.

A graduate of Englewood High School, Fred served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War and joined JFRD at the age of 23. His career with JFRD spanned 36 years, including holding the position of Rescue Captain. He was highly respected in the department.

Fred is greatly missed by Sue, as well as their children Andy, Bekki and Ryan, and seven grandchildren who will especially miss growing up with their beloved PawPaw. During retirement, Fred and Sue were able to enjoy some pretty exciting travel, with several European trips - always celebrating their life together of 45 years.

Fred will be missed also by all who had the luck and pleasure of knowing him. Our hearts go out to the entire family.
Earth Day Clean-up

Thanks very much to Brownie Troop 63004 for coming to Walter Jones Park for an Earth Day litter clean-up. These girls and their leaders (Amy Wellborn and Lindsey Bartlett) are no strangers to the park: they did a schoolhouse clean-up last year. In May they will be bridging into Junior Girl Scouts and will have their ceremony here in the park. They love WJHP and we love them and appreciate all they have done to make the park a better place for all.

CONGRATULATIONS to each of you on your advancement to Junior Girl Scouts!
THANK YOU to the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
We are very grateful to have been awarded a $2000 "Small Organizations" Grant in April. This grant will be used for the development of the new "Untold History of Black Mandarin" exhibit. We are very excited about this new exhibit and can't wait until it and all the construction and renovation is done and we are open again and EVERYBODY will be to enjoy it!

Have you ever heard of
Maria Parloa?

Well, we had not...until MMHS received an inquiry from a gentleman from Connecticut who was writing a paper about her for the Bethel Public Library there. As it turns out, she had a short, but very interesting connection with Mandarin - one that we are just beginning to learn about.

The connection is that she met Harriet Beecher Stowe in Maine. She became a teacher and was immediately hired to come to Mandarin to teach at the Mandarin School
(now the Mandarin Community Club building), which she did during the winters from 1871-1876. She even owned property on Mandarin Road. And, she did a live cooking school to raise money for the purchase of a new organ to replace the one that belonged to the Stowes and was burned in the first Mandarin School fire.

She went on to become a very famous cooking teacher and cook book author. She settled in Bethel, CT in 1898 and passed away in 1909, leaving money for the community to start the Bethel Library.

Enjoy reading the whole article, written by Mr. Patrick Wild, in The Bethel Grapevine.
Volunteer Spotlight
George and Cathy Barnwell
“We've been blessed, and really enjoy giving back to others," said Cathy Barnwell
Those words are a great description of volunteers Cathy and her husband, George.
 “We discovered Walter Jones park after we retired and were able to explore a little more.  George was enthralled by the 1876 barn and when he heard there was an opportunity to open the barn to the public, we were in," said Cathy. George is one of our experts on old barns and tools, something he and Cathy both enjoy.
Following his graduation from Wolfson, George, who had enjoyed the woods off of Scott Mill when he was growing up, was off to FSU. He and Cathy met at a fraternity party on Halloween Eve. Cathy was the daughter of a military man. She was born in Kentucky and lived in Virginia before most of her growing up days in Florida.
Their careers had included banking, insurance, Daniel Memorial and RiverPoint Behavioral Health for George and JEA for Cathy. They have two sons, Robert, who lives with his wife, Stephanie in Minnesota, and Michael and his wife, Sara, in Orlando. 
Walter Jones Park is not the only place that George and Cathy volunteer. They are active in their church, Lakewood Presbyterian, and with an interfaith organization. George volunteers at Baptist, offering directions, sometimes taking patients to their
appointment location. Cathy volunteers at MD Anderson and offering support to chemotherapy patients. Before COVID, they worked with a United Way Reading Pal program helping 4-year-olds get ready for kindergarten. They hope to do that again.
We are fortunate to have them as volunteers. 

Paula Suhey
Thanks to all who voted for MMHS for the 2021 WJXT award for Best Museum.

This year all museums of any type and size were all in the same it was a long-shot for sure - competing with all the "big guys." We did win Best History Museum in 2019 and 2020, and we are proud of that!

Well, this year we didn’t win...the Brumos Collection, a brand new classic automobile museum won 1st Place. It looks like a pretty exciting venue - click HERE for the link.

BUT, we came in 2nd and MOSH was 3rd ! So that is amazing really and we are very proud to be included at all. Check out WJXT to see listings of winners in all categories. This make a great place to look for fun things to do and great places to go.
If you think Don Bowden, Mandarin's Frog Man, spent the pandemic just sitting don't know how driven he is. After taking a very brief time to tackle some deferred maintenance around his house last Spring, he went right back to pouring concrete and lining up frogs and turtles in the hundreds to sell through the end of the year!

We are so grateful to him for his extraordinary generosity of time, talent and heart. We have done a couple of small frog painting and will have the next one on June 12.

Even though we are under renovation at the museum, we have frogs there and are happy to sell them to you, painted or unpainted. Just send us an email at and we'll work out a time to meet you there.
And, they are available on the dates we are open on Saturdays. Also, if interested in a painting event, they are usually on the 2nd Saturday if weather permits.

The frogs have been an important source of income for the museum even while closed...and we are deeply grateful to Don for that.

Mandarin Newsline

The May 2021 edition of the Mandarin Newsline is now online. It includes an article from MMHS about Memorial Day and four men from Mandarin who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America.

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 May 2021 "Mandarin Newsline" link.

Beauty in the Park

Thanks so much to photographer Rick Strickland, who is making a wonderful record of the Walter Jones park.

This beautiful adult owl was right behind the museum office recently. Rick has seen at least one youngster as well, so we are very happy that the pair is still here. We enjoyed watching a pair of owlets grow right next to the walk in 2019, but the tree that contained their nest was removed because it was so rotten. We were afraid they might have left because we didn't see them last year very often. But Rick is seeing them regularly right now, so they must have made a new nest.
Note 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 SEMC Reciprocal Program. Take your MMMHS 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.

Want to Volunteer?

We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. And this becomes even more important as we close in on our slow reopening. 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. 

Paula’s just waiting for you to call!

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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.

Mandarin Museum & Historical Society