Old Mandarin Schoolhouse


The Schoolhouse has been relocated! Read more about it here.

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The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society has partnered with Councilman Matt Schellenberg, the Mandarin Community Club and the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department to save the oldest remaining one-room schoolhouse in Duval County and relocate it to Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin. The schoolhouse was built in 1889 as part of a mission established by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Mandarin to educate freed Blacks after the Civil War. The building was originally located on the property of the present day St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Community Club has purchased the structure and donated it to the City of Jacksonville.  Former Mandarin Community Club President and Executive Director of the Jacksonville Historic Society Emily Lisska was excited about the opportunity. “The Mandarin Community Club is pleased to have the opportunity to help save this important piece of Mandarin history,” Lisska said.

The organizations have raised much of the funds to be able to move the structure to the park and complete major renovations. Eventually the schoolhouse will then be open to the public and will contain exhibits about the story of this specific schoolhouse and the African American educational experience in Duval County from the late 1800s to early-1900s.

The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society has managed fundraising efforts for the project. To date, nearly 90% of the monies needed has been donated, including $50,000 from City Councilman Matt Schellenberg’s District 6 funds for park improvements, $10,000 for the purchase by Mandarin Community Club, the very generous gifts from two members of MMHS, as well as gifts from many others in the community.

We are extremely grateful also  to the Rotary Club of Mandarin for selecting us as their headlining “Laughs for Charity” event recipient in April. A portion ($16,000) of the monies raised for that event was awarded to MMHS on June 16. In August, $10,000 was also awarded as a matching District Grant from Rotary. All of these funds have been designated primarily for the purpose  of interior and exterior tasks and exhibit costs.

Since January, R. G. White Construction and their preservation construction team worked on multiple repairs, putting in pilings, reconstructing the roof, building a handicapped accessible ramp, two porches and laying sidewalk. Electricity was installed.  As always on any such project, there were unexpected problems  found, time delayed and unexpected expenses incurred. But, we have a solid and well-done building due to the professional and thorough work of Bob White and his employees.

We are still cleaning, painting and by Spring, 2016 there will be an interpretive history exhibit.

So, there is still a lot of work to be done and we are asking MMHS and community  volunteers to join our team and help with some of the tasks that are necessary to get the building into shape to place exhibits inside. We are also asking Mandarin businesses to help with in-kind donations of some of the equipment and supplies that we do not have. It promises to be a rewarding and fun experience, knowing that you are doing something really important for the preservation of our rich heritage in Mandarin.

 We’re making history….and you’re part of it!

 Some of the upcoming tasks and needs are:

  • Drywall repair of inside cracks
  • Sacffolding – THANK YOU First Coast Scaffolding
  • Someone with experience in historic building rehab skills to repair the windows – THANK YOU to Jim and Lia Biond for repairing the windows.
  • HVAC Unit and Installation  for interior – 600 square feet – THANK YOU to S.E.E.R.S AC
  • Electrician services to help install  display lamps

If you are interested in joining one of our work teams or offering an in-kind donation of supplies or expertise and skills OR if you know someone who might be able to help, please email mandarinmuseum@bellsouth.net or call 268-0784 and leave a message and you WILL be called back.

If you would like to make a monetary donation in support of all of the remaining expenses of the schoolhouse project, please click the the “donate” button at the bottom of this page, or stop by the museum any Saturday (except July 4). All donations of services and volunteer time will be greatly appreciated.


More information can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/OldMandarinSchoolhouse.

A photo of children attending a similar one-room school house which was located on Orange Picker Road.

A photo of children attending a similar one-room school house which was located on Orange Picker Road.

The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society is a registered 501 (c) (3) with experience in maintaining and preserving significant historical structures. We currently operate the Mandarin Museum, the 1876 Webb Farm House, the 1911 Store and Post Office.  The historical society brings history to life through school tours, programs, and community events.