About Mandarin Jacksonville FL
The neighborhood of Mandarin is situated in the southernmost area of Jacksonville, Florida in Duval County of the United States. It is located on St. Johns River’s eastern banks, across from Orange Park. The neighborhood got its name from the mandarin orange when a prominent resident named Calvin Reed first called it that in 1830.
The writer Harriet Beecher Stowe called the Mandarin area a “tropical paradise.” The quaint neighborhood is characterized by ancient oak trees with Spanish moss, a rich history, beautiful marinas and parks, and more views of the water than any other Jacksonville area. Mandarin during the 19th century was a small farm village which shipped lemons, grapefruit, oranges and other vegetables and fruits to Jacksonville and areas north via steamships traveling along the St. Johns River. The Maple Leaf, which was a Union steamship, collided with a Confederate mine in 1864 and sank right off of Mandarin Point.
For many years most of the land in the area had orange trees growing on it. However, during the early 1980s there was a freeze that destroyed much of the crop. At the time many of the orange farmers made the decision to not replant their trees that had been destroyed and sold their former groves to developers instead.
The community of Mandarin is only a short drive south of the city center of Jacksonville and is bordered to the west by the St. John’s River, to the south by Julington Creek, and to the north by Beauclerc.
History of Mandarin
The history of Mandarin Jacksonville FL has included events with interest on both a national and regional level. For example, an event occurred in 1864 at Mandarin Point that was eventually transformed into a National Historic Landmark Shipwreck Site. The Maple Leaf, which was a Union transport ship, was sunk by Confederates from Clay County and was buried within the St. Johns River until partial excavations were conducted during the 1980s. The Mandarin Museum today maintains the world’s largest Maple Leaf artifacts collection, with parts of its permanent exhibition tracing the cultural, social, and military history from the period of the Civil War.
Following the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe resided in Mandarin in the winter from 1867 through 1864. The world-famous writer had previously made a significant impact on the views of slavery in America with her best-selling book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A permanent display is maintained by the Mandarin Museum with information and personal artifacts from Stowe’s life and her community contribution, including her efforts to get the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide funding for a school on Mandarin Road for freed blacks.
During the same time that Stowe resided in Mandarin, the Sisters of St. Joseph visited America, including Mandarin and the northeast Florida area, to educate recently freed slaves. The 1898 schoolhouse on Loretto Road where African-American students were taught has been restored by the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society. It is the only one-room schoolhouse of its type remaining in Duval County. The school is now in Walter Jones Historical Park, adjacent to the Mandarin Museum and has been turned into an educational exhibit that covers the history of African-American heritage in Mandarin and the Sisters’ school.
Mandarin over the years has been home to nationally and regionally recognized artists, including wildlife artists C. Ford Riley and Lee Adams, artist Memphis Wood, and potter Charlie Brown. There is a collection of works by these and Mandarin artists on a rotating display at the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society.
No other communities in Duval County are able to claims these special and unique cultural interests that are so central to the educational programming and exhibition in Mandarin. Farnham Dentistry is proud to help sponsor the Mandarin Museum and Historial Society and of the role that it takes as its steward of the community in this ever-developing, important, and extensive cultural heritage.