February has been a busy month for the Mandarin Museum and the Mandarin Community Club as the oldest existing one room schoolhouse was moved from a private location to its new home on the grounds of the Mandarin Historical Park. The schoolhouse was built in 1889 as part of a mission established by the Sisters of St Joseph to educate the freed blacks after the Civil War and was originally located on the property of the present St Josephs Catholic Church on Loretto Road.
One room Schoolhouse at the Mandarin Historical Park
The next step is restoration, and to date over 90% of the funds needed have been raised. When completed, the schoolhouse will be open to the public and will contain exhibits about the story of this schoolhouse and the education of African-Americans post Civil War to the mid 1950s.
We are grateful to our two Mandarin community organizations, City Councilman Matt Schellenberg and the City Of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department for this team effort. Look for updates in future articles. It’s not too late to be a part of this community project. Help is needed with cleaning, painting and minor repairs; and monetary donations are always appreciated. If interested, please call the Museum at (904) 268-0784.
The Maple Leaf was a luxury cruise vessel, commissioned into service as a Union cargo supply ship during the Civil War. On April 1, 1964 the ship struck a submarine torpedo in the St. Johns River and sank off the coast of Mandarin Point.
Steve Michaelis & Keith Holland outside the Mandarin Museum
Finding and retrieving the Maple Leaf had been a lifetime dream of Dr. Keith Holland, who with several friends founded St Johns Archaeological Expeditions Inc. After days of searching, the divers located the ship under 8 feet of silt and recovered over 3000 objects. They relinquished their rights to the artifacts to keep the collection intact.
Now, through the end of the year, you can view the collection at the Mandarin Museum at the Walter Jones Historical Park on Mandarin Road. Come on Sunday, August 17th or Saturday, August 30th between 11:00 and 4:00 to meet several of the divers. Hearing their stories about finding the ship, the difficulty of working with the silt and debris, and the steps necessary to preserve the artifacts, truly bring this exhibit to life!
The National Park Service has said the Maple Leaf is the “most important repository of Civil War artifacts ever found”, and the wreck has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Calling all acoustic players – there’s a new event going on at the Walter Jones Historical Park. On the 4th Sunday of every month, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, come join your neighbors for an informal sing-along on the front porch of the Museum. The gathering is hosted by the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society in partnership with the North Florida Folk Network, and will run through October.
When I attended last Sunday (without my guitar, ukelele, or dulcimer), the group had just moved inside due to the threat of rain and was happily singing “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore”. So dust off that instrument and join in. See you next month!
Marker at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park off Hecksher Drive
Do you ever wonder what your pet is thinking? Here is a sign posted on a tree in Jacksonville’s Dogwood Park:
Cancer Survivors Park features scale replicas of each of Jacksonville’s bridges over a pond shaped like the St. Johns River. This unusual urban park is located on the downtown campus of Florida State College of Jacksonville.
This barn was built from re-used lumber in 1876 for Col. William Webb. Photo taken at Mandarin Historic Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
Two special events in Mandarin this Saturday, December 1st, are guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit!
Walter Jones Historic Park
The 13th Annual Winter Celebration will take place from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Walter Jones Historic Park on Mandarin Road. Come enjoy hayrides, music, historic re-enactments, train rides, food, tours of the William Webb Farmhouse, children’s activities and more!
Sailboats on Julington Creek
There’s nothing more festive than a parade – unless it’s the Julington Creek Boat Parade. At 6:30 pm an estimated 40 decorated boats will gather on the West side of the Julington Creek Bridge connecting Mandarin and Saint Johns. There will be prizes for the best decorated boats.
Both events are free, and fun for all. So, come out and enjoy the day with friends, family and neighbors! And if you don’t already live in the area, perhaps you’d like to check out some of our great homes for sale. Follow the links to search homes by price in Mandarin and Saint Johns.
Look for pictures on next week’s Foto Friday.
Posted in Festivals & Events, Free
Tagged Boat parade, events, festivals, history, Jacksonville, Julington Creek, Mandarin, Mandarin homes for sale, Mandarin real estate, parks, St Johns homes for sale, Things to do
Out of Africa? Nope, these graceful giraffes are enjoying living in their natural habitat at the Jacksonville Zoo.
French explorer Jean Ribault claimed this area for France when he erected a column along the bank of the St. Johns River in 1562.
Fort Caroline National Monument Jacksonville, Florida