November 2017 

Dear friends of MMHS,

As most of you are aware, the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society has been the recipient of a competitive Cultural Service Grant Award for many years now. This year (FY 2017-18), we are one of 26 arts/cultural organizations that will receive this grant from the City of Jacksonville. Our award this year is $6,179 and we are very grateful for it.

Our thanks to the City of Jacksonville and  the City Council and for recognizing the importance of funding organizations that provide arts and culture in our communities. Also to the Cultural Council staff, the Cultural Council Board and the many volunteers who serve on the Grant Committee. We especially want to thank staff members Tony Allegretti and Amy Palmer for their on-going support and guidance,  and Anne Boccuzzi, Committee member, who did an on-site visit to MMHS this summer.

For more information about the Cultural Council or the grant, please check out

Sandy Arpen
Looking Back on October
October was busy with tours and clean-up of Walter Jones Park after Hurricane Irma .  
Seen here are students from Riverside Presbyterian Day School with Keith Holland, and Bolles School Freshmen who helped out on "GO MAD" Day - meaning Make A Difference, which they certainly did. 

The photos below are of some hard-working members of the Mandarin campus of the Church of Eleven22 and women from The Bold City Chapter of The LINKS who paid a visit before their dinner meeting which was held at the Mandarin Community Club..  

And, our COJ Parks team was out to pressure wash the museum, making it bright and clean for the upcoming Winter Celebration.

Thank you to all!

Why I Love Mandarin  
Meet MMHS Board Member Mike Woodward. Mike chose to have his photograph taken at Alberts Field, home of the Mandarin Sports Association (MSA), where he served as a volunteer baseball coach for his sons' teams for 17 years. Here is his story:
"My wife, Lizette, and I have lived in Mandarin for over 25 years, and are proud to call Mandarin home. We met at the University of Florida, moved to Jacksonville for work, got married, bought a house in Mandarin (at the encouragement of a wise real estate agent, thankfully), and raised two sons (John and Jim). I am a geotechnical engineer with Amec Foster Wheeler. I have had privilege of working on numerous building and transportation projects around the local region and around the state during my 31-year career. My most memorable projects include the Bridge of Lions rehabilitation, a new one-mile long bridge on the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades, several buildings on the UF campus, and a proposed conversion of the old Ford Motor Company assembly plant next to the Mathews Bridge into loft apartments (which was, unfortunately, never completed). Talk about history!
Our sons played baseball at MSA, and I helped coach their teams, from T-ball through the senior division. My involvement extended from 1998 to 2014. The green grass, orange clay, and many surrounding trees make Alberts Field a wonderful place for baseball. Some of my fondest childhood memories of growing up in Miami revolve around playing baseball at a ballpark near our house that was similar to Alberts Field, but without the beautiful trees. At MSA, I am indebted to the many wonderful volunteer coaches who were so generous with their time. There are too many to mention. My sons and I have many fond memories of the ballpark.
I learned some interesting history about Alberts Field from information provided by some of the other board members who grew up in the area, as well as from some online research. Bruno Alberts (1888-1970) was a man of many talents. In his youth, he studied painting at the University of Cincinnati, and became an accomplished portrait painter. After returning to his native Louisville, Kentucky, he joined his family's stained glass business. The Luke and John window in the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Mandarin is dedicated to him, and he designed the chancel lights in the chapel. In the early 1920s, he became interested in orchids, and in 1935 he moved to Mandarin and built a home and greenhouses just north of the County Dock. There he developed many new strains of magnificent orchids. After semiretirement, he began to paint, and did portraits of many local people, as well as beautiful still life oils. His wife, Ann (1896-1991), was also an artist, and enjoyed painting orchids and still life compositions. The Alberts donated the majority of the property located at the intersection of Brady and Orange Picker Roads to Duval County for use as a park and playground, which opened around 1959. The Mandarin Orange Pickers, a semiprofessional baseball team in existence from 1925 to 1956, originally played their games next to the Mandarin Community Club building, but in the late 1940s moved to what is now Alberts Field. A surplus Camp Blanding building was used as the team's clubhouse. Dances were also held in that building, which was located near the present-day tennis courts. MSA (originally known as Manretto Sports Association) was founded by E.J. "Red" Glass (1924-2001) at Alberts Field in 1975.
I have volunteered with Cub Scout Pack 473 and Boy Scout Troop 473 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church since 2005. Our sons both earned the rank of Eagle Scout while with Troop 473. I have served as the Committee Chair for the Boy Scout troop for the past six years. Our troop has performed numerous service projects at Walter Jones Historical Park over the years, and I got to know Sandy Arpen, who helped us coordinate these service projects. After our son Jim completed his Eagle Scout service project at the park in late 2014, Sandy asked me to consider joining the MMHS board. I was truly honored, and have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the board and working with and getting to know the other board members. I serve on the facilities committee, and continue to help coordinate (and work on) service projects at the park. It has been a great experience."
Mike Woodward
P.S. There is a beautiful painting by Bruno Alberts hanging in the museum right now - please come take a look.
Photographer Olis Garber gave us the gift of professional portraits of our board
members for us to use to promote the work of the museum. Thanks for the many hours
he spent on this project and the wonderful photos he has given us.
Check out his business at
November 16 
Third Thursday Lecture
"A Soldier's Story"  
You won't want to miss this amazing story of the only local resident that we know died in WWI. This lecture is being held  a few days after Veteran's Day,  in honor of Pvt. Marion Losco AND all who have served in the Armed Forces.

One hundred years ago - 1917 - the lives of Marion Losco's family changed forever.   
"The United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917 in what would become then as the World War. Marion Losco, age 23, was working on his father's truck farm and vineyard located in the Mandarin community in southern Duval County all the while, no doubt, having limited knowledge of the events across the Atlantic that would forever affect his life. This would change once he was forced to register for the new military draft on June 5, 1917. His certificate number was "34" in Precinct 30 of Duval County and was signed by registrar Walter Jones." (From A Soldier's Story, by Paul Ghiotto) 

Marion's mother, Dometilla, kept all of his letters and postcards as well as the notices and personal items she received from the Army after his death, including a half-smoked cigar! They were placed in a trunk and kept in the attic of the Losco homestead..  Over 95 years later these objects were donated to the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society by David Losco on behalf of the family. They were donated so others could learn about this man, his family and his sacrifice of his life during the "war to end all wars." 
Marion's grandnephew, Paul Ghiotto,  transcribed Marion's letters and wrote a book. The lecture is based on the book Paul wrote about the letters and his extensive research. He will give a Powerpoint  presentation and his book will be available. 
The Third Thursday Lectures are presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in partnership with the Mandarin Community Club. This event will be presented on Thursday, November 16 at the Mandarin Community Club, which is located at 12447 Mandarin Road. Refreshments are at 6:30 pm with the presentation at 7:00 pm. It is free and all are invited and encouraged to attend. For more information, call 268-0784.    
Mandarin Community Club  
Veterans Day Event 
The Mandarin Community Club will also be honoring Veterans Day as it holds its annual Wreath Laying Ceremony on  Sunday, November 12.
Starting at 1 PM, the ceremony will take place in the Billard Commemorative Park located at 11642 Brady Road, adjacent to the MCC Building.

Immediately following the Wreath Ceremony, the Club will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Billard Commemorative Park. The park was developed and dedicated on the site of the Frederick Billard House in November of 2007. It is home to the lovely white gazebo visible from Brady Road, as well as a butterfly garden and natural green space.  
There is no fee to attend either event and ample, free parking is available at he MCC Building, 12447 Mandarin Road. For more information, visit

The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society invites everyone to the 18th Annual Winter Celebration from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday, December 2. This event is held at the Walter Jones Historical Park, located at 11964 Mandarin Rd.
Activities are planned for the community that will educate, entertain and delight all ages, including:  
  •  Live music: 
    • 11:00 - noon - African drumming  by drummer Ryan Sinclair at the schoolhouse
    • noon-12:30 - Miquel Huertes, violin, front porch of Mandarin Museum;
    • 12:30 - 1:00 Camille and Camiya Ferron, singers, front porch of Mandarin Museum; 
    • "Under the Oaks" acoustic music jam from 1-3 - front yard of Mandarin Museum
  •  The Webb/Jones Farmhouse, the 1898 St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children, the 1876 barn and the Losco Winery will all be open for tours and there will be demonstrations of old-time quilting, bridge playing and weaving. 
  • Wheeler Sawmill and sugar cane grinder
  • "A Soldier's Story" exhibit about Pvt. Marion Losco, a Loretto/Mandarin resident who served in World War I and died in France in 1918. Objects and letters that belonged to Pvt. Losco are on display as well as a full WWI uniform.
  • Meet and talk with Dr. Keith Holland and other Maple Leaf divers who recovered precious Civil War artifacts from the National Historic Landmark shipwreck in the St. Johns River. The book about the Maple Leaf will be available and Dr. Holland and the divers are happy to sign them.
  • horse-drawn hayrides by Jacksonville Carriages
  • antique cars
  • Civil War re-enactors - Union, Confederate, Union Navy, and the Golden Teacups
  • Spanish period re-enactor
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11-3
  •  nature crafts
  • Mike Barwald - answering all your citrus questions 
  • Gator Clown face-painting
  • Florida Archaeology Network with their "Maple Leaf" game
  • S'mores and popcorn
  • old fashioned games
  •  First Coast Plein Aire Painters will be in the park painting Walter Jones Historic Park scenes all day long. 
  • Local author June Weltman will be present from 1 to 3 to sell and autograph copies of her children's  book "Mystery of the Missing Candlestick." Proceeds are donated to Mandarin Museum. 
  • Non-profits will be represented, sharing information about information and opportunities with their groups: Mandarin Garden Club, UF Extension Office,  All-Star Quilters, Greenscape of Jacksonville and the Sierra Club. 
  • The museum gift shop is stocked with many holiday gift ideas. The featured art this year are prints of a beautiful painting of the schoolhouse, done by artist Dorothy Green, grandmother of Amy Ver Beek Brown. All proceeds from sales of this print are designated for upkeep of this historic structure.
  • Books and art prints are on sale by local authors and local artists - Mandarin scenes and topics.
  • 2017 Mandarin Ornament - Mandarin Pharmacy (was at the corner of Loretto Road and San Jose Blvd.)
  • Firehouse Subs will be on-site as the food vendor this year.
  MMHS has recently launched a fundraising campaign to expand the museum with the addition of another gallery and increased archival space. This expansion will allow us to have a special designated Maple Leaf gallery as well as an art gallery and addition of other interesting stories and objects from the museum's collection.
Mandarin Museum is the ONLY place you can buy a special "Mandarin Frog." The "Frog Man" has been busy creating a whole new batch of beautiful frogs in every color you can imagine and he will be here for Winter Celebration. They make wonderful presents. ALL proceeds go directly to the museum for the Museum Expansion Fund and to support the ongoing work and mission of the organization.
Admission to Winter Celebration  is free, but the hayride and S'mores and popcorn do have a small donation request to cover the expenses.  
Parking is available at the Mandarin Presbyterian Church across the street. Be careful crossing Mandarin Road and please cross at the bridge.  
Visitors are encouraged to bring some canned food items to leave for the Mandarin Presbyterian Church community food pantry.  A large trailer will be in the parking lot near the bridge. Just leave your items there and know they will be distributed to those in need.
Thank you to volunteer Matt Arpen for another beautiful poster.  

A new accession to our art collection reveals a fascinating story
and some mystery.


In September, MMHS received an offer from Aletha Hinkle Massengale to donate two paintings of Mandarin scenes to the museum. She told us that she had the paintings that her father, Edgar H. Hinkle, had commissioned Jacksonville artist Naomi MacNeill to paint for him.

The house was titled " Home on Sunbeam" and the barn is "Barn at Oakside." Both were dated 1964-65. She obtained the paintings when her father passed; she does not live in Jacksonville now and she felt that they needed to come home to Mandarin, for which we are very grateful to her.

Not being familiar with the artist, Sandy Arpen started to search and was fortunate to connect with her daughter, Laurie MacNeill Svec in Tallahassee. Indeed she knew these paintings and she sent a biography of her mother, some of which is quoted here :

Naomi Stine was born in November 1922 in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, New York City. She spent her childhood years in Queens and in Euclid, Ohio. Eventually the family (with five children) moved to Chevy Chase, MD. After earning a bachelor's degree in Art from Ohio State University, Naomi moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where she worked as a draftsman for Reynolds, Smith and Hills. It was here that she met Donald MacNeill, an engineer whom she subsequently married in 1950. Naomi shared her intense love of art with many in Jacksonville, including her two children, the children in Sunday school classes, and seniors in art classes at the community center in downtown Jacksonville. Naomi quietly passed away on July 20, 2017, at the age of 94.

So, the rest of the story is that we are now in possession of these lovely scenes - BUT we are not certain of the location of either one. We think the house might be the Boone house on Sunbeam, because it was a favorite of artists. We are also unsure of where "Oakside" was. So, WE NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE. If anyone knows any information that would help with identification, please let us know by calling 268-0784 or emailing
[email protected].

Thank you to Aletha for gifting these paintings to our collection and Laurie for giving us the information about her mother. What a surprising and wonderful addition they will be to our Mandarin art collection.
The last frog painting of 2017

We will hold our last painting party on Saturday, December 16 from 10-12. The Frog Man is making 20 frogs, 10 turtles and 4 squirrels for this event. Frogs and squirrels are $20. and sea turtles are $24.

Please reserve your critter ASAP by emailing [email protected]. Let us know how many and which ones you want to paint.

Surprise someone you love with a hand painted, unique and special gift for the holidays.

 The monthly "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" day at Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park. 
Look for the divers next at Winter Celebration - December 2 - from 11-4

 Meet and talk with Dr. Keith Holland and the men who found the Maple Leaf shipwreck and recovered the Civil War artifacts from this National Historic Landmark site in the St. Johns River at Mandarin Point.

This is a unique and special opportunity to learn about Civil War history. 
Remember our Regular Events
The next monthly "Under the Oaks" music jam will take place at Walter Jones Historical Park on November 5 from 2-4

Bring an acoustic instrument if you would like to play. Listeners bring a lawn chair and water. The Mandarin Museum and St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this event.

This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network. It is a "weather-dependent" event.

The historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office is open from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, November 4  Located at 12471 Mandarin Road.

The old Mandarin Store and Post Office evokes memories of small town and village general stores across America. It was the hub of village life from the time it opened in 1911 until it closed in 1964. It sold everything from canned goods from South America, to meat, animal feed, fish, cold soda and penny candy 

November 4 - Store and Post Office Open - 12-4
November 5 - "Under the Oaks" music jam - 2-4
November - NO Meet the Maple Leaf Divers this month 
November 16 - Third Thursday Lecture - 6:30
December 2 - Winter Celebration - all buildings open, special activities, "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" - 11-4 Store and Post Office CLOSED this day. 
December 16 - Frog Painting 10-12
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. CLOSED December 2.   


Paula Suhey is still looking for Winter Celebration volunteers. If you have ever wanted to help out at one of our special events, this is the one to try. It will be a fun and rewarding day. Just send her an email at [email protected]
or call her at 403-5024 and she will get you all set up - even if you have never volunteered before!

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.