MMHS NEWS - August 2016

Dear MMHS Members and Friends,


As most of you know, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is primarily an all-volunteer organization. It is the passion and dedication of these wonderful volunteers that keep our doors open and makes every activity and program we offer successful. We simply could not exist without them and we are so grateful to each of them for their gift of time and talent to our mission.


Please, if you visit us at any location or event,  join me in thanking the volunteers for their service to the Mandarin community and for helping history come to life in this place that we all love so much.

Sandy Arpen

                                 "Why I Love Mandarin"

Many of you know Karen Roumillat from school, Yoga, the Stetson Kennedy Foundation, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, or as Luke and Leah's "Mimi." Karen had deep, deep roots in Mandarin, as she is the great-granddaughter of Walter and Edith Jones. She has served MMHS since the beginning, as Executive Director, President, Secretary and currently as Vice-President, making more contributions than anyone can count. No one was surprised when she chose this spot for her board photograph. Here is her story:

"I chose this photo of the 1911 Store & Post Office because it's where my magical memories began. I grew up in the former Billard House which was built in the late 1880s and stood behind the Store & Post Office. Walter Jones was my great grandfather and "Miss Aggie" was my great aunt. Walter Jones immigrated from England to this country in the late 1800s and began working at the store that was located on the St. Johns River. In 1911, he had this building built at the corner of Mandarin and Brady Roads. Following his death in 1928, his daughter, Agnes, became Mandarin's first and only Postmistress and operated the store and post office until she retired in 1964.
The 1911 Store & Post Office was a gathering place for the people of Mandarin at that time and the mail delivery was anxiously awaited. I waited with other schoolchildren for Bus #11 to arrive and take us to school at Loretto Elementary. On the return trip home, we would always head into the store for a favorite snack. I remember the big jar of fill pickles that were on the counter and always looked forward to a cold drink.
The store was also a Greyhound Bus stop for adults who took that bus to Jacksonville, either for their jobs or a day of shopping in the big city. I remember sitting on the outside bench and having wonderful conversations with Fannie Brown and others. The store closed in 1964 when Miss Aggie retired. It was leased as a few businesses and then rented for a while as a private residence until it was restored in 1998.
Today, the building is owned by the Mandarin Community Club and generously leased to the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society to operate as a museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and provides its visitors an opportunity to step back in time and remember the essence of old Mandarin."

Karen Roumillat

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 
August Third Thursday Lecture

Connecting Mandarin and Jacksonville through Notable North Florida Women
Thursday, August 18

We are so happy that Emily Lisska is doing our August lecture. Emily is so well known in Mandarin and Jacksonville, many saying that she knows more about Jacksonville history than anyone! For this lecture, she has put together some fascinating stories related to women who had a Mandarin connection.

Emily will tell us that Harriet Beecher Stowe was not the only notable North Florida female face who moved between Jacksonville and Mandarin with impact. Other women, if not physically, were emotionally tied to the two St. Johns River villages. Stowe, along with Jacksonville Founding Mother Nancy Hart, Commodore Rose, Eleanor Pritchard and Hester James McClendon are other names of interest in the early North Florida story. Who were these women who firmly had their feet or at least an interest in both communities? Come to this lecture and you will find out. You won't want to miss it! 
Lisska, a Jacksonville native, is Executive Director of the Jacksonville Historical Society. She is a Past-President of the Mandarin Community Club, a Miss Aggie Award recipient and a member of the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society. She is also President-Elect of the Florida Historical Society. She lives with "lots of other suburbanites," including her husband Larry Lisska, on a portion of the old Scott Mill. Her home sits adjoining what was once the mill's dam.

The quarterly lectures are held at the Mandarin Community Club, located at 12447 Mandarin Road, in partnership with the Club. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 and you may want to get there by 6:30 to claim a seat. The talk begins at 7.   
Hope Ferrigno
17th Annual Winter Celebration

It is hard to believe, but Winter Celebration, our largest event, will be here before we know it - December 3. It takes a lot of folks to plan and organize this event and our Program Committee Chair, Hope Ferrigo, is putting out the all-points request for volunteers to serve on this important planning committee.


It is a lot of fun, as you get to brainstorm of all the neat things to do at the event. And, you get to meet some wonderful people who have that same passion to make it the best one ever.


Please call  Hope as soon as possible if you have any interest in helping with this wonderful community event. She would like to schedule a meeting in a week or so. Please call her at 268-4770 or send an email to and we will get the information to her.

We're having an August frog painting!

Join us! 

The big kids and the little kids all LOVE it!

Call for a reservation for a "Frog Painting" for "kids of all ages" (including adults)  on Saturday, August 20, at Mandarin Museum from 10am - noon. Limit is 20, so you have to have a reservation. Cost is $20. You get an unpainted frog made by the famous "Frogman" and access to paints to make your own special frog for your yard or pool. Bring a paint shirt. Paint and brushes will be provided. Email us at or call 268-0784 to make your reservation. Weather permitting, of course.
We have been having a great time with this. Thank you to the anonymous "Frogman" for making these wonderful frogs and donating them to Mandarin Museum to sell - 100% of the funds raised on the frogs is a donation to us to support our community programming and events. All he ever wanted to do was make people smile - and he certainly is doing that!
Thank you to Randy Roumillat and Bob Mazza who built the bench.
Bench dedication in memory of Alice Stanley 

Join us on  August 13 at 9:30 am for the dedication of a new bench for the porch of the historic 1911 Store and Post Office.

Mrs.Stanley was a granddaughter of Walter Jones and a beloved Mandarin resident. She  was active in many organizations, but especially loved the Garden Club.

The Cherokee Rose Circle of the Mandarin Garden Club donated the materials to build this bench in honor of Alice's long-time service to Mandarin.

Carl Roumillat
This seems to be the summer of loss of old-time Mandarin residents. We are sad to report that  Carl Harris Roumillat, Jr., age 90, passed away on June 15. Carl, a native Floridian, played football at Fletcher High School and served in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer during WWII and the Korean War. Many long-time Mandarin residents remember that he and his wife Virginia and their family lived on Loretto Rd. and he owned Carl's Plumbing. His plumbing skills  were passed on to his sons and grandsons who also practiced the trade. Carl is survived by 4 children: Carla, Scotty, Randy  and  Teri Roumillat. A beautiful service was held at Mandarin Cemetery in July.


Earl Johnson, former Mandarin resident, is honored by prestigious award

This is late notice, but a very important piece of Mandarin history. This year's Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame inductees included the late Earl Johnson. This is a great honor to Mr.Johnson's many accomplishments.

"Johnson was the first African-American to become a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association. He also served as chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and was instrumental in the consolidation of Jacksonville's government. 

Johnson was committed to fighting inequality and segregation throughout his life and represented many civil rights activists, including King, according to a news release.

His cases helped desegregate many public places in Florida, including schools, parks, water fountains and hospitals.

After he died in 1988, the City of Jacksonville created the Earl M. Johnson Memorial Park to honor his work in the civil rights movement."  (WJXT New4Jax: 2/2/2016)

Mr. Johnson also served "at-large" on the Jacksonville City Council from 1967 to 1983.
Don't Forget our Regularly Scheduled Events
"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Days" -
Dr. Keith Holland and his SJAEI divers continue to meet with visitors  once a month and answer all their questions about this fascinating Civil War steamship.

Saturday, August 20 from 12-4
Mandarin Museum 

"Under the Oaks" Music Jam at Walter Jones Park

Bring a lawn chair and a bottle of water and enjoy a day in the park listening to community members sharing traditional acoustic music. This is a weather-permitting event, though the one pictured above was a small enough group that we moved inside. The Mandarin Museum and the 1898 St. Joseph's Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this time.

This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network.

Sunday, August 7 from 2-4.

Last summer archivists from  the US Army came to Florida to collect their 20% of the Maple Leaf artifacts that were recovered by Dr. Keith Holland and his St. Johns Archaeological Expeditions Inc. team. Many of the artifacts displayed in our 150th Anniversary Exhibit were taken in preparation of being on display at the National Museum of the United States Army. This brand new and state-of-the-art museum is being built with donations given to the non-profit Army Historical Foundation. It will be located in Ft. Belvoir, VA and is expected to be open in 2018.
And, all of us should be very proud that our Maple Leaf will be represented there.
You will enjoy the wonderful slide show that features Maple Leaf's story.
August 6 -  Store and Post Office Open 12-4
August 7 - "Under the Oaks" Music Jam 2-4
August 13 - Bench dedication at Store and Post Office
August 18 - Third Thursday Lecture - Emily Lisska at Mandarin Community Club
August 20 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day - 12-4
September 3 - Store and Post Office open 12-4
September 24 - Smithsonian Magazine - "Museum Day Live" - all historic buildings will be open and Losco Winery will be dedicated (watch Sept. newsletter for more info)
November 17 - Third Thursday Lecture - TBD
December 3 - Winter Celebration

Mandarin Museum and the 1898 St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children are open every Saturday (except Dec. 26) from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park - (11964 Mandarin Road)

NOTE: The Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road) is open the 1st Saturday of every month from 12-4.

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  Help MMHS while shopping on Amazon 
Lots of us do at least some of our shopping on Amazon. And, if you do, you can shop at AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile Foundation will make a donation of .5% of your eligible purchases to a non-profit. Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is already registered as an eligible non-profit, so all you have to do is use this link when shopping on Amazon and select Mandarin Museum & Historical Society from the list of non-profits.
Thank you.


Mandarin Museum & Historical Society 

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