September 2019   

Happy Anniversary MMHS! 
15 Years at Walter Jones Historical Park! 
Dear Friends of MMHS,  
It is hard to believe that September 2019 marks fifteen years since the Mandarin Museum opened in Walter Jones Park - in 2004. But we did not start here at the park and we would would not exist without the strong partnerships we have. Here is a snapshot of our history: 
The Mandarin Community Museum & Historical Society was originally founded in 1989 at the Mandarin Community Club (MCC) by members who wanted to focus on preserving Mandarin's history and historic structures. In 1999, the organization became an independent 501(c)(3) and was renamed Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS). 
In those early years, the activity was focused on restoring the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road) and opening it as a museum. That was accomplished and in 2001  that building received a listing on the National Register of Historical Places and earned a designation as a local landmark by the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission. The Store and Post Office is owned by the Mandarin Community Club and operated as a museum by MMHS through a long partnership.  
In 2000, the City of Jacksonville (COJ) opened the Walter Jones Historical Park after purchasing the property from the Jones family, restoring the farmhouse and barn and creating a beautiful public park space. MMHS initially provided some public programs in the park. But the building we now call Mandarin Museum was built by COJ in 2004 and MMHS  was licensed to operate it as our museum and to produce public programs there also. It was opened with two galleries, an administration office, and a small archives room. This space will be increased in 2020 thanks to the generosity of private donors and a Matching Facilities Grant awarded for expansion by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.
So, September is a good time to remember our past and celebrate 15 years in this wonderful place. We are grateful for all those leaders and volunteers who have been key players throughout the years and led up to this point. I am hesitate to list them for fear of leaving someone out, but some who immediately come to mind include: Bill Jeter, Emily Lisska, Carl Davis, Jim Towart, Susan and Todd Ford, Karen Roumillat, Beth Meyer, Council Member Mary Ann Southwell, Rep.  Dick Kravitz, and  the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Service. 
L to R: Beth Meyer (MMHS President), Rep. Dick Kravitz, incoming Council Member Sharon Copeland, Karen Roumillat (MMHS Board and Jones descendant), outgoing Council Member Mary Ann Southwell, Rev. Dr. Robert Lee, and Bob Baughman (Director, COJ Parks and Recreation).
Sandy Arpen 
Smithsonian Magazine "Museum Day"
September 21

Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is participating in this 2019 Smithsonian Magazine "Museum Day", a day designed to encourage people across the country to discover the wonderful museums in their own communities with free admission. At the Mandarin Museum, admission is always free, so on September 21 visitors may receive the member discount on many museum store purchases. They will also receive a special event! 
All  buildings in the Walter Jones Historical Park (11964 Mandarin Rd.) will be open from 9-4 and the historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Rd.) will be open for viewing from 10 - 1.  
The theme for 2019 is "Smithsonian's Year of Music."  In honor of that, MMHS will be partnering with the North Florida Folk Network, which will provide special music from the front porch of the 1875 farmhouse. They will feature "old-time" traditional acoustic music played by musicians from the region.  Bring a lawn chair and park yourself in the breeze of the river in front of the farmhouse for a real treat. They will play from noon until 3. For more information about NFFN click HERE
Dr. Keith Holland and several Maple Leaf divers will be present to answer your questions about the ship and the artifact recovery. And, Civil War reenactors will display "In Search of Valor," a salute to the common foot soldier of the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate. On display will be a simulated encampment complete with period tents, weapons, uniforms, and personal effects of the soldiers.
We hope to see you in the park! 
County Dock Repairs Continue

It has been three years since Hurricane Matthew took County Dock away. BUT, the replacement is finally well underway now. Thanks to photographer Rick Strickland, we are receiving updated views of the work in progress.

If you haven't liked our Facebook page, I encourage you to - It is a good way to keep up with us and see some great photos as well.
Walter Anderson Memorial Park 
On August 3, we had a wonderful visit by the Anderson Family Reunion. Members of the family gathered in Jacksonville to celebrate their long-time heritage in Mandarin, including having relatives who attended the St. Joseph's school. Pictured speaking are Dana Anderson Myers and Michael Myers. Dana is Walter Anderson's granddaughter.
Dana and Mike have been working for several years to get the Flynn Park on Orange Pickers Rd. renamed for Walter Anderson. Mr. Anderson sold the property during the segregated 1950s  for $1 to the City of Jacksonville so the African-American sand lot teams in the area would have a baseball field. After much research and many discussions, our new Councilman Michael Boylan introduced an Ordinance for this name change as his very first bill in the City Council. Not only did it pass unanimously, but it was co-sponsored by every single Council Member. The MMHS Board supported the bill and Board President Sandy Arpen stated at the public hearing that this was in no way a slight of the Flynn family and their many contributions to Mandarin and "it is not a case of rewriting history. It's about making history right and telling a story that deserves to be told."
The Ordinance was passed on August 27. A new sign will be erected and a special historical sign will also be made which will tell the story of Walter Anderson and the prior names of the park. 
Triny Sanchez

Welcome to Our Newest Volunteer

"I was looking for a park where I could walk", says volunteer Triny Sanchez. "I came to Mandarin from South Florida.  I lived close to the ocean there and loved to walk on the beach." Triny's move to this area to be close to her son meant she was leaving that. "So I looked on the internet and found Walter Jones Park", she continues. "From the moment I arrived I felt at home.  It brought tears to my eyes."

Although Triny's first visit was not on a Saturday, Board President Sandy Arpen happened to be on the front porch and they chatted.  Within a few days, Triny's application was in the mail.

Her first time in the schoolhouse was August 10. On that day, Triny was able to put one of her other skills to work. A native of  Argentina,  she is very fluent in Spanish. When a visitor that Triny thought might be Spanish walked in the door, her greeting was "Buenos Dias". The two continued to chat in Spanish.  The woman knew and understood the English language but it was clearly an easy transition for Triny and she shared the history of the schoolhouse in Spanish.

In addition to volunteering, Triny enjoys caring for one of her grandchildren and working with her hands.  One thing she does is called diamond painting.  A kit includes a picture and small stones that are shaped like diamonds. "Once you add these diamonds to the picture, a piece of art is created."

Triny is a diamond when it comes to our volunteer team!  Please welcome her to Mandarin and MMHS when you see her volunteering.

Thanks to Sandy for always being available to chat with visitors.

Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator

Accessions Corner
What is in our Collection?

We have lots of photos in our collection and steamships are some of our favorites. The ship seen here is the popular steamship May Garner. We have a beautiful model of it on display in the museum.

The May Garner was built of yellow pine in 1893 in New Berlin, which is 12 miles east of Jacksonville. Ninety-four feet long, she was used to deliver mail, freight and passengers - and Mandarin was one of her daily stops, along with Fruit Cove, Green Cove Springs and Orange Park. The ship was owned by Captain Charles Edward Garner and named after his beautiful daughter, Florida May Garner - seen here.

Eventually, as the steamboat business vanished, the May Garner was sold to a man in Georgia and was destroyed by fire in Brunswick, GA in 1923.

Oh, how fun it would be to hop aboard that ship today and take a cruise on the St. Johns. Can you hear her whistle blowing as she approaches Mandarin's dock?

Thank you to the family of Florida May Garner for the photo of her. What a beautiful young woman she was.

Looking Back on August
Member Pete Carpenter
We are very saddened to hear of the death of  Lifetime Member Pete Carpenter. Pete and Marilyn were there to support the start-up of our organization and we will be forever grateful to them for that statement of confidence. Mr. Carpenter was a self-made man, having started in the railroad business as a brakeman, eventually serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of CSX,  and retiring as Vice Chairman of CSX Corporation. He served on many boards, supported the community in multiple ways through volunteer service and philanthropy. Our sympathies to Marilyn and the family. To see a complete obituary, click HERE
Remembering Carl Davis
Carl Davis, was one of the founders of MMHS. In the late 1980s Carl and others shared a vision to have a museum in Mandarin. If it weren't for Carl and the other pioneers, we literally wouldn't exist as an organization.  
In August, Carl would have been 80. His wife Inge, who left Mandarin to be near their son, sent MMHS a gift in honor of Carl's birthday. She also sent this sweet note:
"In memory of Carl on his 80th birthday. Congratulations on getting the state Cultural Grant. Carl would be happy. Miss all of you and beautiful Mandarin,"  
We thank Inge and we miss her too....and Carl, to whom we will be forever grateful. He was our mentor and we are proud to carry on his vision.
Mandarin Frogs and the "Frog Man"
An anniversary and an award nomination 
August brought the 4th anniversary of us selling a Mandarin Frog - August 22, 2015. Don Bowden reminded us that he sold the first one at the yard sale we had to raise money for the schoolhouse renovation. Since then he has made and sold frogs, turtles and squirrels for four solid years, raising about $100,000 for MMHS, with 60% of it going to the museum expansion project!

It is impossible to describe the depth of our gratitude. But, watch for next month's newsletter to see if he won the "Art of Giving Award" at the Cultural Council's 43rd Annual Arts Awards. The MMHS Board of Directors nominated him for this award and he is one of two finalists!

As stated in the award nomination, "This story was never intended, expected or imagined by Mr. Bowden or by Mandarin Museum, but it developed and grew and continues today. This man is not a wealthy man. He gives of his heart, has physically worked very hard to make this happen and has contributed greatly to the Mandarin community through these efforts on behalf of the Mandarin Museum."

We are exceedingly grateful to him and are proud to nominate him for this award.

Photo taken by Mandarin photographer, Olis Garber for MMHS. Thank you Olis for this great shot. Click HERE for Olis' website.
Mandarin Newsline  
September edition
"Back in Time with Brett" by MMHS volunteer Brett Nolan features the 1876 Webb barn at Walter Jones Historical Park.
Click  HERE to see the story and the entire edition of the May Newsline
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.
(Note changes) 

First Saturday - September 7 - All Buildings Will Not be Open
In September, all the buildings will be open for Smithsonian Museum Day on September 21 instead of the First Saturday.  
On September 21 at Walter Jones Historical Park - the 1875 farmhouse, 1876 barn, Losco Winery as well as the Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open from 9-4 . 
ALSO - the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office will  be open at 12471 Mandarin Road (next to the Mandarin Community Club) from 10-1.
Lynn Brannon and Maureen Orr holding down the farmhouse.
Frog Painting - September 14 
The Frog Man tells us he has LOTS of sea turtles and frogs  for this one - if you'd like to paint, please reserve in advance to [email protected]. (Weather permitting of course - this is an outside event in front of the museum.)  
August painters celebrating a birthday!
 "Under the Oaks" Music Jam
was cancelled for August and September due to the heat. 
It start back up on Sunday, October 6 from 2-4. 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.   

Meet the Maple Leaf  Divers - September 21   
Keith Holland and SJAE divers will be in the museum September 21 from 9-4 to tell you all about their exploration of this National Historic Landmark shipwreck.
Keith Holland talks to visitors Max and Bruce Dempsey.
    Mark your calendars
    • September 21 - Smithsonian Museum  Day
    • November 21 - Third Thursday Lecture - Dr. John Foster - discussing his new book At the Dawn of Tourism in Florida: Abolitionists, Print Media, and Images for Early Vacationers.
    • December 7 - Special 20th anniversary of the Winter Celebration in Mandarin - with special event honoring Pearl Harbor Day and WWII vets.
The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are 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 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
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and our Tumblr blog by clicking on the logos at the bottom of this newsletter. 
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.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our  blog (click icons below). 
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society 
Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.