ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE IN DUVAL COUNTY WAS SAVED IN 2015
HISTORY OF THE SCHOOLHOUSE
THE “LAST SAVE” OF THE SCHOOLHOUSE
The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society partnered with Councilman Matt Schellenberg, the Mandarin Community Club and the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department to save the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in Duval County and relocate it to Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin. The schoolhouse was built in 1898 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 2015, in celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Community Club 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 raised much of the funds to be able to move the structure to the park and complete major renovations. Eventually, scheduled for Spring 2016, the schoolhouse will be open to the public and will contain exhibits about the story of this specific schoolhouse and the African American educational experience in south Duval County from the late 1800s to early-1900s.
The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society managed fundraising efforts for the project. All of the monies needed was 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, 2015. 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 the District Rotary. All of these funds have been designated primarily for the purpose of interior and exterior tasks and exhibit costs as well as outreach to area elementary schools, offering free school tours to Walter Jones Historical Park and the Store and Post Office.
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. We now have a solid and well-done building due to the professional and thorough work of Bob White and his employees
MMHS asked community volunteers to join our team and help with some of the tasks that were necessary to get the building into shape to place exhibits inside. We also asked Mandarin businesses to help with in-kind donations of some of the equipment and supplies that we did not have.
We are exceedingly grateful to those who helped us with the following tasks in 2015. We could not have done it without them.
Read about our Grand Opening Celebration, held on April 30th, here.
If you would like to make a monetary donation in support of on-going expenses of the schoolhouse project, please click the the “donate” button at the bottom of this page, or stop by the museum any Saturday. All donations of services and volunteer time will be greatly appreciated.
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.