Meet MMHS Board Member Dr. James Waler and learn why he loves Mandarin. Jim chose the historical marker of a very important physician, historically speaking: Dr. James Hall.
“My name is James Waler, and I am one of the newer members of the board of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS). Although I am relatively new to becoming involved in the MMHS, I did become a member of the Mandarin Community Club (MCC) almost immediately after relocating to Mandarin in 1990. Originally from Miami, where I completed my undergraduate and medical school studies at the University of Miami, I spent 4 years in the pediatric department at Shands hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville. My wife and I moved to Mandarin in 1990 after discovering its natural beauty and majestic oaks, and it is where we raised our three children. Since arriving in Jacksonville, I have practiced pediatrics, originally with the Jacksonville Healthcare Group, which eventually aligned with the Baptist Primary Care group. Even though I have remained busy with my practice and family life with three children, I have always been intrigued by the history of Jacksonville, and specifically, Mandarin. Like many local residents, I assumed MMHS was part of the MCC. With my interest and desire to support the efforts of maintaining the awareness of our local history and to try to expand the membership of the MMHS, I was honored to be asked to join the board of MMHS.
I chose to have my picture taken at the historic marker of Dr. James Hall, located behind the Walter Jones Post Office, and on the grounds of MCC, along Mandarin Road. For a long time, I was like most busy young parents, and drove past this historic marker on a daily basis without even noticing it. Periodically, my wife and I would take our children to visit the historic Post Office, to help to perpetuate the interests of local historical significance. This also provided us the opportunity to explore the grounds around the Post Office, and discover the significance of Dr. James Hall. I became more interested in Dr. Hall after discovering a number of uncanny similarities. Not only do we share the same first name, but we share an interest in civil duty and providing medical care to our local community. Prior to becoming a physician, Dr. Hall joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary war at the age of 16. He was involved as an infantry soldier in many pivotal battles that secured victory for the Continental Army. Dr. Hall was born almost exactly 200 years before me, and like me, came to Jacksonville to practice medicine at the age of 30. He arrived in Jacksonville exactly 200 years before I did. He lived and practiced medicine in the Mandarin area and was involved in many important community activities of the time.”