ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE IN DUVAL COUNTY IS SAVED
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 and have been designated primarily for the purpose of interior tasks and exhibit costs.
Since January, R. G. White Construction and their preservation construction team has been working 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 are about to be at the end of this phase…and we have a solid and well-done building due to the professional and thorough work of Bob White and his employees.
By July the keys will be turned over to us and we will be ready to clean, paint and eventually turn it into an interpretive history exhibit. After all of the outside work is completed we will tackle the inside and start the interpretive exhibits.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
WE NEED THE HELP OF THE COMMUNITY TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT !
More information can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/OldMandarinSchoolhouse.
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.