Meet MMHS Board Member Karen Roumillat and learn why she loves Mandarin. Karen has deep roots in Mandarin, as she is the great-granddaughter of Walter and Edith Jones. She has served MMHS since the beginning, as Executive Director, President, Secretary, and currently as Vice-President, making more contributions than anyone can count.
“I chose this photo of the 1911 Store & Post Office because it’s where my magical memories began. I grew up in the former Billard House which was built in the late 1880s and stood behind the Store & Post Office. Walter Jones was my great grandfather and ‘Miss Aggie’ was my great aunt. Walter Jones immigrated from England to this country in the late 1800s and began working at the store that was located on the St. Johns River. In 1911, he had this building built at the corner of Mandarin and Brady Roads. Following his death in 1928, his daughter, Agnes, became Mandarin’s first and only Postmistress and operated the store and post office until she retired in 1964.
The 1911 Store & Post Office was a gathering place for the people of Mandarin at that time and the mail delivery was anxiously awaited. I waited with other schoolchildren for Bus #11 to arrive and take us to school at Loretto Elementary. On the return trip home, we would always head into the store for a favorite snack. I remember the big jar of fill pickles that were on the counter and always looked forward to a cold drink.
The store was also a Greyhound Bus stop for adults who took that bus to Jacksonville, either for their jobs or a day of shopping in the big city. I remember sitting on the outside bench and having wonderful conversations with Fannie Brown and others. The store closed in 1964 when Miss Aggie retired. It was leased as a few businesses and then rented for a while as a private residence until it was restored in 1998.
Today, the building is owned by the Mandarin Community Club and generously leased to the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society to operate as a museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and provides its visitors an opportunity to step back in time and remember the essence of old Mandarin.”