MMHS NEWS - September 2016
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,
September is always the month we celebrate Smithsonian Magazine "Museum Day Live!" The Smithsonian Magazine encourages its subscribers to get out on September 24 and visit museums in their area - for FREE. Mandarin is one of five museums in the area that are participating. To visit a museum that charges admission, for free, you must get a ticket at Since Mandarin Museum is always free, we will offer a discount on most gift shop items on this day and you do not need a ticket, just tell us you are there due to Smithsonian Day Live.

All historic buildings will be open this day and a special dedication of the Losco Winery will take place at 1 pm. Tell your friends and neighbors and come on out to see us. We hope to see you there.

Sandy Arpen

  Welcome to our newest board member
We are very happy to welcome Reverand Roger L.D. Williams of the Philip R. Cousin AME Church to the Board of Directors at MMHS. Rev. Williams participated in a focus group related to the schoolhouse exhibits and has a strong interest in building bridges among all  people within the Mandarin community as well as sharing the fascinating history of Mandarin in general.

Rev. Williams pastors the congregation of one of the oldest congregations in Mandarin, as Philip R. Cousin was established on what is now Orange Picker Road in 1887, under the name of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church of Mandarin. He follows in the footsteps of long-time pastor and Mandarin native Eugene Moseley, Jr., who now serves the wider church body as  Presiding Elder, South District 11th Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In addition to his work at Philip R. Cousin, Rev. Williams is the Senior Attorney at the Department of Children and Families in Jacksonville. In 2016 he received a "Point of Light Award Mental Health in the Black Community." He has served on several boards and brings some very valuable experience and expertise to our board. We are grateful for his willingness to serve.

 Rev. Williams, seen here after singing with the church choir at the schoolhouse Grand Opening in April.

                                 "Why I Love Mandarin"

This month we introduce you to board member Dr. James  Waler. Jim chose the historical marker of a very important physician, historically speaking - Dr. James Hall. We hope that these stories also make you more interested in your Mandarin history. Here is Jim's story:  
          "My name is James Waler, and I am one of the newer members of the board of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS). Although I am relatively new to becoming involved in the MMHS, I did become a member of the Mandarin Community Club (MCC) almost immediately after relocating to Mandarin in 1990. Originally from Miami, where I completed my undergraduate and medical school studies at the University of Miami, I spent 4 years in the pediatric department at Shands hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville. My wife and I moved to Mandarin in 1990 after discovering its natural beauty and majestic oaks, and it is where we raised our three children. Since arriving in Jacksonville, I have practiced pediatrics, originally with the Jacksonville Healthcare Group, which eventually aligned with the Baptist Primary Care group. Even though I have remained busy with my practice and family life with three children, I have always been intrigued by the history of Jacksonville, and specifically, Mandarin. Like many local residents, I assumed  MMHS was part of the MCC. With my interest and desire to support the efforts of maintaining the awareness of our local history and to try to expand the membership of the MMHS, I was honored to be asked to join the board of MMHS.
            "I chose to have my picture taken at the historic marker of Dr. James Hall, located behind the Walter Jones Post Office, and on the grounds of MCC, along Mandarin Road. For a long time, I was like most busy young parents, and drove past this historic marker on a daily basis without even noticing it. Periodically, my wife and I would take our children to visit the historic Post Office, to help to perpetuate the interests of local historical significance. This also provided us the opportunity to explore the grounds around the Post Office, and discover the significance of Dr. James Hall. I became more interested in Dr. Hall after discovering a number of uncanny similarities. Not only do we share the same first name, but we share an interest in civil duty and providing medical care to our local community. Prior to becoming a physician, Dr. Hall joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary war at the age of 16. He was involved as an infantry soldier in many pivotal battles that secured victory for the Continental Army. Dr. Hall was born almost exactly 200 years before me, and like me, came to Jacksonville to practice medicine at the age of 30. He arrived in Jacksonville exactly 200 years before I did. He lived and practiced medicine in the Mandarin area and was involved in many important community activities of the time."

Jim Waler

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 and his wife Jo spent on this project,  and the wonderful photos he has given us. Check out his business at  
Losco Winery Dedication
September 24 at 1:00pm 

It has been many years since David Losco donated his family's old log cabin to the Walter Jones Historical Park. MMHS Board member Bo Phillips actually took the winery building apart and relocated it to the park, where he reconstructed it. Then, the inside was made into an exhibit which illustrates what a winery might have looked like, using artifacts that were donated with the building and actually used during wine production years ago.

Please join us on September 24, when we have an official dedication of this building. This dedication will honor the Losco family for their historical impact on our community through their business and their presence for so many generations. Please join MMHS members, volunteers and Losco family members as we celebrate their contributions, and thank them for their generous gift to the community. At the same time we will thank Bo Phillips and his family for the hard work they performed in disassembling and reassembling this cabin for the benefit of all to see and learn about.

Smithsonian "Museum Day Live!" 

This is great day to come to the park. The historic 1875 Webb farmhouse will be open for tours, as well as the Losco Winery and the 1876 Barn - all located in Walter Jones Historical Park. You may also view the Wheeler Sawmill and sugar cane grinder and see and learn about chickens at the hen house. Local musicians will entertain you with traditional and original music throughout the day.
The St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open, where you can learn about the Sisters of St. Joseph and their students, and experience a one-room schoolhouse atmosphere. It is the last schoolhouse of this type left in Duval County.

Be sure to come in to the Mandarin Museum to  meet Dr. Keith Holland and some of the divers (from 12-4pm) who found the Union steamship Maple Leaf shipwreck site and brought thousands of Civil War artifacts to the surface. Over one hundred of these artifacts are currently on display. This shipwreck site is the only National Historic Landmark in Duval County and it is located at Mandarin Point. The ship was sunk by a Confederate torpedo on April 1, 1864 - 152 years ago.
Let your imagination take you on a journey back in time as you stroll through the beautiful park. Picture the steamboats coming up the St. Johns and arriving at the wharf with your mail and dry goods and imagine the Maple Leaf buried under the mud of the St. Johns, just around the bend. See what a winery might have looked like and check out the agricultural tools and "doctor's buggy" at the barn. Then walk on out to County Dock and look for shore birds, manatees around the pilings or fish jumping in the waters.
And, be sure to stop by the Winery Dedication at 1 pm.
Walter Jones Historical Park is located at 11964 Mandarin Road and this event will be open on September 24 from 9am-4pm

JCL enjoying lunch in the schoolhouse

as part of their meeting.

Jacksonville Commodores League Visits Mandarin Museum

The Jacksonville Commodores League is an organization that is "vitally interested in not only current policy, capabilities and events concerning the river but also its historical past. We see the river and environs from the point of view of its stewards and promoters of the area for worklife balance and business." Josh Horenstein, Program Chairman.
Their interest was specifically in Maple Leaf,so they were treated to a private tour of the exhibit and artifacts by Dr. Keith Holland in August.
We appreciate that they came out to Mandarin to learn about the Maple Leaf and other parts of Mandarin history. We are also grateful to Dr. Holland for taking time out of his day to come over and lead this special tour.

Breaking Maple Leaf News
     Some of you may remember last year when fiber optic cable were being laid along Mandarin Road. Well, the work wasn't going to stop at the end of Mandarin Road - it was going to cross the river at Mandarin Point and go to Orange Park. Everybody wants fiber optic cable, but this raised concerns about the protected National Historic Landmark shipwreck site, which is eight feet under the mud of the river, right in this line.
     Keith Holland started doing some investigating and found out that two cables had already been laid years ago. The proposed new cable is planned to go around the site, but there was still concern for the older cables interfering with the ship's protected area.
     So there recently has been some news about it. An article written by Dan Scanlan in the  Florida Times-Union on August 29 can be read by clicking here. The Florida Public Archaeology Network also voiced their concerns recently. You can read their comments here. Stay tuned.
Keith Holland and SJAE diver Steve Michaelis looking over the site.

Third Thursday Lecture in November
will be Emily Lisska

We are all happy that Emily has fully recovered from pneumonia and is excited to do the lecture she had prepared for August,
"Connecting Mandarin and Jacksonville through Notable North Florida Women"
The new date is November 17. Mark your calendars to save this date. You won't want to miss it.

Details to come in November's newsletter.  

Don't Forget our Regularly Scheduled Events
"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Days" -
Dr. Keith Holland and his SJAE divers continue to meet with visitors  once a month and answer all their questions about this fascinating Civil War steamship.

Saturday, September 24 from 12-4
Mandarin Museum 
Smithsonian Day, instead of the 3rd Saturday this month.

"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. 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, September 4 from 2-4.
We are so excited and so grateful that the Julington Creek Fish Camp will be hosting a special fundraising event for MMHS on January 23, 2017. The details are not complete yet, but we will share them with you as soon as we can. It promises to be a wonderful evening of good food and wine and seeing old and new friends - all to uplift of the work of MMHS in the community.

LIza and Ben of Julington Creek Fish Camp have been  great supporters of MMHS ever since they opened their business here and came to the museum for local photographs for the restaurant. This will be a fun event and we can't wait to tell you more.

Link to Julington Creek Fish Camp. Please support those who support us.
In case you missed it...

The Mandarin Newsline featured our "Mysterious Mandarin Frogs" article on the front page of the September edition. This community newspaper is delivered to most zip codes in Mandarin, but many of our readers are not in those codes.

If you have not seen it, you may see it online at You may also receive a free digital subscription at this same site.
This free paper highlights most everything that is happening in Mandarin. We at MMHS are very grateful that it is an available source of getting the word out about our activities. Please support the advertisers who make it possible for us to have a free community focused paper.
We have lots of frogs at the gift shop. Stop by any Saturday and check them out! Mandarin Museum is the only place you can find them to purchase.

Jax Life Radio

Sherry Hill, Director of the Jacksonville Museum and Cultural Center, is hosting a live radio program every Saturday from 8-9 pm called Jax Life Radio. She will interview folks and  focus on "History, Heritage and Life in our city of small towns." Emily Lisska will be featured in the near future and MMHS has been asked to do a show as well in the fall. We will let you know the date in the next newsletter. It sounds like she has had some very interesting interviews already, which you can hear at WOKV's audio archives which are listed on the link provided below.
Link to information about Link to WOKV re schedule and archives.

September 3 - Store and Post Office open 12-4; Museum and Schoolhouse open 9-4
September 4 - Under the Oaks music jam
September 24 - Smithsonian Magazine - "Museum Day Live" 9-4 - all historic buildings will be open. Losco Winery will be dedicated at 1 pm. Meet the  Maple Leaf Divers 12-4.
October 1 - Store and Post Office open 12-4; Museum and Schoolhouse open 9-4
October 2 - Under the Oaks music jam 2-4
October 15 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
November 17 - Third Thursday Lecture - Emily Lisska
November - no Meet the Divers this month
December 3 - Winter Celebration, including Dec. music jam and Meet the Divers, all-in-one- 11-4

Mandarin Museum and the 1898 St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children are open every Saturday (except Dec. 24 and Dec. 31) 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 (except December 3).

Follow us on Facebook.  Click here to check it out.   

  52nd Anniversary of Hurricane Dora
As we approach our annual celebration of Labor Day this weekend, we are all alert to a possibly strong impending Tropical Storm Hermine. Please follow the advice of the Preparedness Guide of the National Hurricane Center. You can read it by clicking here.
To read the story of September 10, 1964, click here for the Jacksonville Historical Society article.


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