March 2016 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

There will be so much activity at the museum in March as we put the final touches on the schoolhouse. We are approaching a major milestone with the opening of this one-room building. MMHS has wanted to save and relocate the building since 2008 and we are so excited and grateful for the opportunity to finally bring it to life and allow it to speak to visitors about the incredible stories it holds in its walls. Many of us have said that we actually feel something special when we go inside. We can hardly wait to share it with you. Please be watchful for news and details about our Grand Opening event.

Sandy Arpen
2016 Miss Aggie Award Presentation  
Join us March 5

We are very pleased to honor long-time Julington Creek resident, Sarah Bailey, as our 2016 recipient of the Miss Aggie Award. Sarah has been an active member and leader in this community for decades and has made an impact that is hard to measure. She has touched many lives.

As you probably know, the "Miss Aggie Award" is presented to a female who has contributed to the community of Mandarin in the areas of business, civic, educational or charitable accomplishment. MMHS presents an annual award  in honor of Agnes Jones, Mandarin's Postmistress from 1928-1964.

Few people know and live Mandarin history like Sarah Bailey. For more than 55 years Sarah has owned Needmore Land & Cattle Company on Bishop Estates Road, and from from the late 1960s to the early 1980s she and her husband John hosted the regional Girl Scout Day Camp at their ranch. During her years as a St. Johns County Commissioner, 1982-94, she served on regional Jacksonville-based infrastructure committees, always emphasizing natural resource protection and the cultural history shared between Mandarin and Northwest St. Johns County. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, and has offered leadership and dedication to the Environmental Education Resource Council. She is an authority on the history of Mandarin, Julington Creek and Fruit Cove.

"Miss Aggie Day 2016" is Saturday, March 5 from 12-4. The presentation of the award to Mrs. Bailey will be at 1:00 pm. The event will take place at the Mandarin Store and Post Office, 12471 Mandarin Rd. Moon Pies and RC Colas will be served - just like in the old days. All are invited and encouraged to attend this wonderful celebration of Sarah Bailey. Please call 268-0784 for more information.
From a volunteer training in 2014
Volunteer Training
Sunday, March 6 from 1:00 - 3:00
Whether you are a new volunteer ...a seasoned interested party...
You are invited to join us at Mandarin Museum for
  • a tour of Walter Jones Historical Park as led by Walter's great- granddaughter, Karen Roumillat
  • 1898 Schoolhouse education that will be presented by Bruce Vacca
  • a little "this is how we do it" by our long time docents, Pheenie Dahl & Hope Ferrigno
AND the afternoon will also include refreshments.
This is a great time for you to learn something new...and also meet your fellow volunteers.
Rsvp appreciated - so we know how many chairs to set up and how many cookies to buy!
Text (904)403-5024) or Email Paula at by Friday, March 4th.
St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for
 African-American Children

We are SO close! All we have left  to complete is the landscaping, painting of the porches, some window repairs and installation of the exhibit panels and school objects. We will also be installing a flag pole with a 45 star flag in honor and in memory of Don Yocom, our beloved volunteer who passed away in 2015.

Just fifteen months from moving this historic building from private property into the public view at Walter Jones Historical Park, we will celebrate the opening of the one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1898 (we recently learned that it was 1898 and not 1889!).

This special building will serve the community as an educational venue that will Illustrate the historic aspects of this one-room schoolhouse and others like it that are now gone; tell the fascinating story of the French Catholic Sisters who came to America in 1866 to serve; and honor African-American families and children in the area who had a hunger for learning that surpassed all challenges put before them.

Please plan to join us on April 30 at 10 am. Many more details to follow in our April newsletter.

48th Annual Mandarin Art Festival 
March 26-27th, 2016  *  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

We are happy to participate in the 48th Annual Mandarin Art Festival, presented by the Mandarin Community Club at their grounds - 12447 Mandarin Road. This weekend is a tradition in Mandarin that draws thousands of people into the heart of old Mandarin on Easter weekend to enjoy and buy some terrific art while soaking in Mandarin's history and beauty.

We will be at the 1911 Store and Post Office both days, while Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Park will be open as usual on Saturday, March 26 from 9-4, but not Sunday. Come on in to learn about life in this once sleepy village in a time long ago, play a game of checkers, connect with old friends or sit on the front porch and watch the world go by. We hope to see you there!

For details about the festival itself, please check the Community Club's website by clicking Look for parking/shuttle instructions on the website prior to coming as shuttle sites sometimes change.
Volunteer Spotlight
Paul Ghiotto 
Volunteer Paul Ghiotto has a knack for being the right place at the right time.
A third generation Floridian, Paul's love for history was instilled in him as a child when his parents often took the family on day trips to "interesting places".  It is the foundation for his degree in history at Jacksonville University and 35 years with the U. S. National Park Service.  He first volunteered at Castillo de San Marcos as a Bishop Kenny student.
Following his high school graduation, he spent two years active duty for the United States Navy which afforded him the opportunity to see many places of historical significance and "enhanced" his love for history.
During his years at JU he was a seasonal ranger both at Castillo de San Marcos and at Fort Caroline.  He was on duty at Fort Caroline when a call came from the National Park Service headquarters.  The person on the line explained that as a part of the 100th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, the Service was involved in hiring more personnel.
Did he know anyone who might qualify and be interested.
He was at the right place at the right time and a career was born.
From the Grand Canyon to Chickamauga Battlefield in Tennessee,  Paul thoroughly enjoyed his work. "My favorite was Appomattox Court House", he says.  
When he retired from the Parks Service in 2005, he knew he wanted to continue to serve in areas where his love for people and history could be used and he found that at Ft. Caroline which led him to the Jacksonville Maritime Museum where he volunteered as a  docent and curator until 2012 when he was asked to become the museum's Executive Director.  Sadly the museum closed in 2015.
That closing however was fortuitous for the Mandarin Museum. Paul knew of the museum and our connection to the river.  Not only were we one of the recipients of the funds that were raised at an auction of some of the museum's relics, we are the recipient of some of those items that were not sold.  This donation barrel has already proved a successful fund raising venture for the Mandarin Museum.   

When the Maritime Museum closed, the Mandarin Museum was fortunate to be the right place for Paul Ghiotto. Board of Directors President, Sandy Arpen,  and Paul were in conversation when Sandy asked him if he had time for a project.  
David Losco who had given the Losco Winery to the Museum had recently donated a trunk filled with memorabilia and letters that his uncle Marion J. Losco had written to his family prior to his death in World War I.
Sandy wondered if Paul might have time to transcribe some of those letters.
"I remember a photo that hung in my grandparents home when I was a child", he said.
"It was a World War I soldier".
That solder is Marion J. Losco  
"Marion Losco was my grandmother's brother and my father is named for him".
The connection is almost surreal.
And so it is that each week, Paul Ghiotto can be found in the archive room, cataloging the items and transcribing those letters.  His work is invaluable and greatly appreciated.  And when this project is  complete, no doubt there will be another!
"Amy's Bench"

Amy Ver Beek Brown was a very special woman who put her heart into helping us with the schoolhouse logistics. We are deeply  saddened that she will not be here with us to celebrate when we open the doors in April. We would like to give everyone the opportunity to donate to a beautiful memorial bench that will be placed in front of the museum, looking toward the schoolhouse.
NOTE: The "DONATE" button that you can click on is at the bottom of this newsletter page.
Looking for volunteers for Park Clean-up - March 19

Thank you to the small but mighty team of volunteers who removed invasive plant species from Walter Jones Park in February. It was an amazing day - besides cleaning out the wild blueberry patch and removing  a ton of sword fern and camphor, we saw two owls and two eagles. What a BONUS that was!

So, if you missed this one, there is another opportunity for you to volunteer in the park on March 19 from 8am - noon. The City of Jacksonville and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful in partnership with the St. Johns Riverkeeper will have the 21st Annual St. Johns River Cleanup event at parks  throughout the county. Two MMHS Board members, Don Carter and Mike Woodward,  will be co-captains for the clean-up at Walter Jones.

No pre-registration is needed. Just show up at County Dock, sign in, get a bag and some gloves and start beautifying our park by removing shore trash and dead limbs. Please wear sturdy shoes, bring a water bottle and bring boots if you want to work on the shoreline area along the boardwalk.  

River Tour
March 22- April 3

Join Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, and other river advocates as they travel the entire 310 miles of the river to unite people who are devoted to the river's health.

"The Tour will include scheduled stops and organized events along the way to connect with local residents and activists, raise awareness about the importance of the St. Johns, assess the major issues impacting its health, and advocate for the solutions to a clean and healthy river." (SJRK) 
On April 1 at 1:30 the group will arrive at Mandarin Museum to hear a talk by Dr. Keith Holland about the historical significance of the river here in Mandarin due to the National Historical Landmark shipwreck site of the Union steamer Maple Leaf.

Please click the link below for all the information, map, and schedule. You may join in at any point, and we hope you will at least be able to come to the museum on the 1st to hear Dr. Holland and Lisa Rinaman.

Opportunity to donate to Mandarin Museum

If you happen to be a Thrivent Financial member, you have until March 31 to direct any remaining 2015 Choice DollarsĀ®. to Mandarin Museum & Historical Society. MMHS is now one of the options for non-profit donations. If you are a member, click here to go to the right webpage.
Don't forget our regularly scheduled activities in March & April
"Music Under the Oaks"
Our  community jam will still be on a winter break in March, but mark your calendars for the start-up again on Sunday, April 3 at Walter Jones Park.  All are invited to play, listen, paint or dance. Bring a chair and water. The museum will be open for viewing and restrooms. .

Sunday, April 3
from 2-4

"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers"

 Dr. Keith Holland and SJAEI divers continue to be available one-on-one for visitors who want to learn more about the Maple Leaf and the Civil War artifacts they retrieved from the muddy St. Johns River bottom. Artifacts not seen here before are now on display.

Saturday, March 19 from noon - 4 at Mandarin Museum
"Yoga on the River"

Yoga will not meet in March.

March 5 - Historic Mandarin Store and Post Office open - 12-4pm AND Miss Aggie Day with award presentation at 1 pm
March 6 - Volunteer Training
March 19 - River Celebration Clean-up at Walter Jones Historical Park 8-12 
March 19 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day noon-4
March 26 & 27 - Easter Weekend - 28th Annual Mandarin Art Festival - MMHS will be at the Store and PO both days from 10-5. Mandarin Museum will be open March 26 from 9-4.
April 3 - "Under the Oaks" Music Jam begins again at Mandarin Museum
April 16 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day noon-4
April 30 - Grand Opening of the Schoolhouse - details in the April newsletter
May 19 - Third Thursday Lecture
May 21 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day noon-4
May 22 - Yoga on the River 

Mandarin Museum (11964 Mandarin Road) is open every Saturday (except Dec. 26) from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park .

The Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road) is open the first Saturday of every month from noon - 4. 
Follow us on Facebook. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view our public page. Click here to check it out.   

With the schoolhouse opening in April, we need
more volunteers

We need YOU - call Paula today at 403-5024 or and she will get you started. 
The Cherokee Rose graces Mandarin's landscape in the spring.

Legend of the Cherokee Rose

 When the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother's spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother's tears fell. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today.

Source: The Cherokee 1994 Heritage Calendar by Dorothy Sullivan, Memoray Circle Studio, Norman, Ok. 


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