October 2017 

A Sad View in Mandarin

Dear friends of MMHS,

Hurricane season has not been good to Mandarin the last two years, with Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma on September 10. This photo is what's left of one of Mandarin Road's Patriarch Oaks. One island lost two of these signature trees. There are still piles of debris everywhere in Jacksonville similar to this, testifying to the power of the right side winds of hurricanes.

We were fortunate that none of the historic buildings in Mandarin were damaged - all of the structures in Walter Jones Historical Park, the Mandarin Community Club, the Store and Post Office were spared damage. The historic private homes that I viewed appeared to be in good shape as well. Power outages and road blockages were very common, but JEA was prepared and on it very soon. For this we are very grateful.

Of course we know that thousands of  families in the area were not so fortunate, including at least three of our own volunteers - one who suffered severe roof and house damage from trees falling and two others losing much from their homes due to severe flooding in San Marco. Our hearts go out to them as they have to totally regroup their lives.

And, we must also remember our fellow citizens in Texas, Puerto Rico, the rest of Florida and the Virgin Islands - where thousands upon thousands have lost their homes completely and are still without basic necessities. If you are interested in donating to help in any of these areas but don't know who to give to, there is a great website called Charity Navigator, which rates relief charities. You can find information on numerous organizations by clicking here.

Lastly, MMHS would like to collect any photographs that any of you took during/after Irma. If you had damage or you viewed damage along any Mandarin road and you took photos, we would love to have them for our Hurricane Irma archival file. Or, if you have a story you would like to share. Just send to and be sure to include your information and where the photos were taken. Thank you.

Sandy Arpen
Sea Turtle Day at MMHS

We have designated Saturday, October14 as Sea Turtle Day!

Starting the morning off with a bang will be volunteer George DeMarino who will offer a very interesting class about these amazing creatures. The class is from 9 to 10 am in the schoolhouse. It is best for children of grade school age, but adults are welcome as well, and parents do need to stay with their children. Seating is limited, but we have some slots open, so please email us right away to reserve your seat. The class is free.

Following the class you have the opportunity to put your creative juices to work and paint your own turtle. Cost is $24 - you will receive a concrete turtle (made by the Frog Man) and we provide the paint and brushes. By noon you will have a turtle dry enough to take home. There will also be a few frogs available for painting that day. This event is dependent on the weather, of course, since it is outside, but so far we have not had to cancel a painting party yet. Reservations are needed for this as well.

For either the class or painting party, please email us at or call 268-0784.

Looking Back on September
Because of the storm, the park was closed for two weeks, but we were able to open the gates on September 23 for Smithsonian Day Live, and here are some photos. Thanks to all who came out and those who volunteered. 


Aimee and Adam Naworal
"I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer," said Adam Naworal, further saying he had always loved going to Walter Jones Park and the Museum so it was his first choice.
Adam is from Maryland and also lived in Charlotte, NC before moving to Jacksonville.  He enjoys reading, listening to music and improvisation.
He also loves horror movies and obscure music.  That interest was the driving force when friends wanted him to meet Orange County, California's Aimee  Beasley, who works for in the eCommerce Department.
Before they were married, Aimee often visited Adam when he was volunteering and she came to love the Museum as he does.  They were married on February 4, 2017, and she became a volunteer soon after.
On the first Saturday afternoon each month, you will find the two of them volunteering in the museum.  They enjoy visiting with our guests - including some animals.  They recalled a fun day   when a fluffy red-haired Tabby came to visit. "We really like cats and we enjoyed the opportunity to play with this one - even though we had to keep herding it out of the museum."
Maybe the Tabby was after a frog! Thank you so much for giving your time to MMHS, Adam and Aimee.
Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator 
Mark your calendars for November's  
Third Thursday Lecture
"A Soldier's Story" 
One hundred years ago, in June, 1917, Marion Joseph Losco presented himself to Postmaster Walter Jones, at the Mandarin Store and Post Office, to register for the draft of World War I. He continued to work on his father's farm, having no idea how the war in Europe would impact him and his family. He could not know that in a little over a year later he would be killed in action in France and buried there for all time.

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. They were placed in a trunk.  Over 95 years later these objects were donated to the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society by David Losco. 
Marion's grandnephew, Paul Ghiotto,  transcribed Marion's letters which are the feature story of this lecture and the book Paul wrote based on the letters and his extensive research. He will give a Powerpoint  presentation and his book will be available. 
Please plan to join us to hear 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.
Third Thursday Lectures are held at the Mandarin Community Club, which co-sponsors the lectures. Refreshments begin at 6:30, with the lecture at 7. 
Consider volunteering for the day.

Our 18th Annual Winter Celebration will be held on December 2.

This is a very special day when visitors can l earn about Mandarin's interesting and unique history while enjoying the beautiful 10-acre park on the St. Johns. The Mandarin Museum will be open all day and the museum gift shop will be stocked with many holiday gift ideas. The  Webb/Jones Farmhouse, the 1898 St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children, the 1876 barn and Losco Winery will all be open for tours during the event. There will be demonstrations of old-time quilting and weaving. Civil War reenactors will be present and there will be children's crafts and old-fashioned games.
You can imagine how many volunteers it takes to pull off such an event. We have lots of dedicated volunteers, but we can always use extra help on this day. If you want to help and you are not a regular volunteer, please let Paula Suhey, our Volunteer Coordinator, know. She will be glad to assign you a job that does not require prior history knowledge.  
Paula may be reached at:

 The monthly "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" day at Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park. 
Look for the divers next at Smithsonian Day - October 21 from 12-4.

 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 Sunday, October 1 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, October 7. 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 

October 1 - "Under the Oaks" music jam - 2-4
October 7 - Store and Post Office Open -  12-4  
October 14 - Class for Children at the schoolhouse - "Sea Turtles" - by George DeMarino- from 9-10
October 14 - Sea Turtle Painting party - 10-12
October 21 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" - 12-4
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

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.  
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.

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