The Walter Jones Historical Park
Explore the 10-acre Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin, Jacksonville, FL. Once a small town populated with family citrus groves, the park is now the home of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society and the St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African American children.
If you reserve in advance, you can schedule guided tours, which will provide you with a lot more information than you’d get just going by yourself.
Escape to the past at the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, an operating museum that has been housed in the 10-acre Walter Jones Historical Park since its opening in 2000. The museum is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve, educate and promote the history of Mandarin, its pioneers, and its families. The museum is home to the Family of Walter Jones, which includes the 1875 Webb Farmhouse, 1876 barn, and the Losco chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The museum is also home to the St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African American Children, the last remaining single-room schoolhouse built specifically for African American children in Jacksonville, as well as a small blacksmith shop and antique farm implements.
The park is also home to the Historic Losco Winery & Distillery, which offers wine and whiskey tastings on weekends.
The Wheeler Sawmill is another attraction in the park that is a one-of-a-kind Hand-Sawmill used in non-industrial settings around the turn of the century.
Additionally, the old Mandarin Store and Post Office are also located nearby.
The park has an interpretive nature trail that includes a path on a boardwalk that goes along the riverfront. There are large fields as well as a picnic area.
Picturesque walking trails throughout the park and the Mandarin Museum.
The park is operated by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve, educate and promote the history of Mandarin and its pioneers and families.
Touch of History Surrounded by Beautiful Scenery
Walking through this 10-acre park in Mandarin is like taking a step back into the past. Once a small town, with only around 1200 residents, the park is home to remnants of citrus groves and the other historical buildings mentioned previously. such as the 1875 Webb Farmhouse, 1876 barn, the St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African American Children, a number of historical structures, and the Wheeler Sawmill.
I was able to take a tour of the family home, which was moved from its original location on the property and view the other historic buildings on the property. I learned from the docents at the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society who guided my tour that the Losco Winery and Distillery served as one of the largest producers of wine and whiskey in Florida. I also learned that the Wheeler Sawmill was used in non-industrial settings around the turn of the century.
I also viewed the nature trail that runs through the middle of the park, which leads to the riverfront boardwalk, where I was able to get a good view of the St. Johns River and take in the beautiful scenery.
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society has a gift shop, filled with books, clothes, and souvenirs, as well as an outdoor picnic area and outdoor playground area.
I really enjoyed my trip to this beautiful park and highly recommend this stop to anyone interested in history or who wants to explore a beautiful, scenic location.
While you are exploring the park, don’t forget to stop by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society at the park. I am planning another trip back to visit the museum.
Yearly Annual Winter Celebration
Walter Jones Historical Park is also home to the yearly Mandarin Winter Celebration.
It is a free event that you don’t want to miss!
Some of the highlights from past years of the event include:
Weaving, quilting, bridge demonstrations, riding in horse-drawn hayrides, vintage car show, painters from First Coast Plein Air throughout the park, chocolate s’mores, non-profits booths, live music, farmhouse pictures with Santa Claus, rock painting, book signings by local authors, nature crafts for kids, old-fashioned children’s games, historically accurate reenactors, and a meet and greet with the Maple Leaf divers.
Every year this Winter Celebration just seems to get better.
If you’ve never been, and you live in the Mandarin area, I highly suggest you check it out.
Walter Jones Historical Park is located at 11964 Mandarin Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32223
Hours: Open from sunrise to sunset daily
Parking: Parking is located in front of the museum.
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
As a sponsor, Farnham Dentistry, recommends visiting this historic location and experiencing its unique beauty.