November 2020   

Dear Friends,

The board and volunteers have been doing so much work, totally behind the scenes, on this museum expansion and complete redesign of all exhibit space in the Mandarin Museum building. We are still waiting for completion of the COJ permitting process to start the build, but the interior is completely undone and there is so much research taking place for the new stories that we will share in the future.

In reading and doing research myself, I just kept feeling such a strong love of this community by her citizens - ever since people first settled here and recorded their experiences. It wasn't easy living, that is for sure. All time periods had their ups and downs. But the passion for and the sense of really being a "community" of people working for the benefit of all just comes through over and over again.

Horace Glass, who published the Mandarin Weekly Advertiser from the Store and Post Office building in the 70s, once wrote an article called "A Sense of Community." He stated that "a sense of community is certainly one of Mandarin's most cherished assets." And, I  think he described  "community" so perfectly then (and it still holds today) when he wrote:

"Seldom can it be defined in terms of fixed geographic boundaries. Still less does it have to do with "writ on paper" things like municipal charters, voting districts, school districts, or postal zones.... Community is rather something which exists in people's minds and hearts -
it is, above all,
a sense of belonging!"

We learn about our past and we contribute in the present for ourselves, but also for our residents in the future. But the glue that holds it all together through time is indeed that sense of belonging that all generations have felt. We are all fortunate to be here.

Mandarin is indeed a very special place!

Sandy Arpen
Arcadia Book on Mandarin
You all have seen the "Images of America" books from Arcadia Publishing - like the example in the picture. They are photographic histories of communities all over America.

We are very excited to announce that we just signed a contract with Arcadia to publish "Images of America: Mandarin"!

Board member and one of the MMHS founders, Susan Ford, has always dreamed of doing such a book - so she started gathering photos and connected us with Arcadia and we have thus begun the process of selecting photos and stories that we want to share through the book. Susan's love of Mandarin history is deep and strong, and we are so grateful that she wanted to lead us in this effort.

It is a long-term project and we do not have a publish date, but work is occurring right now. Most photos that will be included come from our collection, but if you have a good old photo that you think should be considered, please email us at [email protected].
Thanks to Brett Nolan

Many thanks to MMHS volunteer and Mandarin Community Club Board member Brett Nolan  who once again decorated the historic corridor for the Fall. Be sure to drive down Mandarin Road from the Walter Jones Park to the Store and Post Office and you will see beautiful decorations on each side of the road. It makes everything look so cheerful.

The Winter Garden is in!

Thanks to volunteer Master Gardeners Candace Barone, George DeMarino and Karen Droege, the winter garden has once again been planted at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Kitchen Garden site in the park. It is named after Mrs. Stowe because it is planted only with vegetables that she mentions being planted here successfully in the early 1870s. Of course everyone would have had a kitchen garden then, as there was no Publix, Winn-Dixie or Fresh Market.

We so appreciate their faithful care for the garden, teaching visitors about the names of the different plants that do well here in Mandarin.
A Mystery Solved!
For years this photo has popped up in our archive room, with the little girls on the float charming everyone. Their names were written on the back of the photo: Mary Jane Ritch (sp?), Ethye Flynn, Louise ?, Hal? Hartley, and Virgie Flynn.

But we didn't know for what occasion or when the float was made. We were guessing the 1920s, but that's all the info we had. UNTIL, we pulled out a CD from 1980 of Theodore Flynn doing an interview. And in this interview he said, "1921 was a big year because the Acosta Bridge [originally called the St. Johns River Bridge] was opened and we could get across the river without going on the ferry. And there were three days of celebration, including a big parade in which Mandarin had a float and we won FIRST PRIZE!"

So, now we know the rest of the story, thanks to a voice from the past. This is one of the reasons it is so important to do oral histories. Thank you, Mr. Flynn!
Rest in Peace Mr. Cooksey
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is sorry to report the death of Bryan Cooksey, a long-time resident of Mandarin and member of our organization. Bryan and his wife Jane raised five children just down the road and were often in the Walter Jones Historical Park. They always supported our endeavors. And their son, John, was president of MMHS for a number of years.
After Bryan stepped back from McCall Service, the business he ran with his three sons, he and Jane took months-long trips in their RV, usually with a grandchild in tow, covering much of the country. When the traveling slowed down, Bryan could often be found in the park or on County Dock. He helped with our clean-up days, pulling vines and removing invasive plants and attended most events in the park, always with a smile on his face.  
That smile and his cheery attitude will be missed by everyone.
Anne Morrow 

We thank all who have so consistently supported our mission in Mandarin through being an annual member. We ask you to watch for your membership renewal in the mail and we hope you will renew. Membership has always been the foundation upon which we build our operating budget and we are very grateful for your help.

As a free museum, we depend strongly on the generosity of our neighbors to help us meet the needs of running an organization like ours. Even though we are a volunteer organization, we still have lots of regular expenses and our income since March has been almost non-existent because we are still closed. We were fortunate to get a couple of COVID CARES Act grants to help us these last months, but they are complete in November. To help us through these times, if our existing members would consider renewing one level higher than their current level we would be most grateful.

This year, due to the CARES Act, taxpayers are allowed a $300 deduction for non-profit giving, on top of your standard deduction. If you itemize, the benefit is even greater. For more information, click HERE. This can be a great help to individuals who give and to non-profits like MMHS.

We appeal also  to all our friends who have not been members in the past - to strongly consider joining now. We have grown from a small group of citizens and a collection of interesting items to a historical society that manages activities, programs and exhibits for five historic buildings and the Mandarin Museum, plus stewardship of  a ten-acre park.   Your gift of membership would be gratefully appreciated and can be given safely electronically OR a form may be printed and mailed, by clicking HERE.

Historic Mandarin Store and Post Office
Roof Repair Complete
We are happy to report that MMHS had the roof repaired and coated last week. Metal roofs take a lot of care, especially when there are lots of trees around them.  
The building, which is leased from the Mandarin Community Club, was originally restored in 1998 with a grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and fundraising. The Mandarin Store and Post Office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  
We thank McCurdy-Walden Inc. for their work on the roof. It looks SO much better!

For the Second Year in a Row....


To view all of the winners in all categories, click HERE.

Thank you for COVID relief!

We were extremely grateful to receive COVID Relief grants of $4000 from Florida Humanities CARES and $8000 from the City of Jacksonville CARES through the 2020 CARES Act. These funds have allowed us to stay on top of our operating expenses and financial responsibilities from March - November, during the COVID crisis.

NOTE: Funding has been provided to Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS) from the National Endowment for the Humanities through a grant from Florida Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by MMHS do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mandarin Newsline

The November edition of the Mandarin Newsline is out. 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.

This month features a great Halloween in Mandarin history by Brett Nolan. You will enjoy reading it.

To read the entire Newsline click  HERE.

"Always the River..."

Local historian Jean Morrow wrote a poem by this title, about Mandarin  and the St. Johns. It seems pretty clear that everything that happened in Mandarin was because of the river - from the Timuquans to the Buckman Bridge.

County Dock is one of the best places to look west to the beautiful sunsets. And sometimes, as seen in this photo, it also reflects the beauty of the sunrise as well, as seen here, looking north,  on Halloween morning 2020.

The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are usually open on Saturdays 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 usually open from 10-2 on the first Saturday.

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.    
However, these activities are not available at this time due to COVID-19. Reopening will be announced as soon as a date is determined.
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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