Tag Archives: Back in Time

Back in Time with Brett | Mandarin Community Club

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

“…but at last it was done; and a neat, pleasant little place it was.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Palmetto Leaves,” 1872.

When Harriet Beecher Stowe and her family flocked to Mandarin for winters in the land of sunny Florida during the latter part of the 19th Century, it wasn’t just to enjoy the state’s subtropical climate. In fact, Stowe was determined to bring a Northern influence to a rather desolate area following the Civil War. After much deliberation, Stowe successfully lobbied the Freedmen’s Bureau to erect a branch in Mandarin, and by 1869, a building for the agency was constructed. The structure would function as a schoolhouse for black and white children on weekdays, and a church on Sundays. This worked out exceptionally well for the Stowes, because not only was the building catty-corner from their winter cottage, but between their family members, they had a minister, organist, and choir. Stowe would frequently have a little Mason and Hamlin missionary organ carried to and from her home for each service, leaving the preaching in the hands of her dear husband, Professor Calvin E. Stowe.

Back in Time with Brett | RIP Jubilee Hall

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

It is regrettable to announce that Jubilee Hall, previously featured in the “Back in Time” column in Mandarin NewsLine in July 2018, has met her match as the teeth of an excavator masticated the century-old structure last month. Built in the fall of 1887, the home stood for nearly 70 million minutes to see its grave in a matter of 10. Charles Frederick Winton employed renowned Mandarin builder William Monson to erect the home for him and his family. The home featured a decorative two-tiered veranda, giving rise to its quick popularity as a prominent meeting place for many Mandarin folk and their families. Over the years, Jubilee Hall saw many hardships and growth alike, as the little village of Mandarin continued on into the 20th Century.

Back in Time with Brett | Mandarin Cemetery

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

It’s hard to imagine what life was like back in old Mandarin, but if there is anything that connects us to those who were here before us, it would be our own mortality. Like taxes, death is inevitable and something we all have to face. There is no better link to our past than walking through the gates of Mandarin Cemetery. The aging oaks, towering with their festoons of moss dancing in the wind, watch as they did over a century ago when the land was first consecrated — it was 1836.

Back in Time with Brett | The 1876 Webb Barn

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

New Yorker turned Floridian, Major William Wirt Webb, was ready to encompass his life in everything citrus down south. After retiring as an army officer following the Civil War, Webb’s dream of days spent on a wide veranda with the perfume of thousands of orange blossoms filling the sweet southern air in Mandarin was becoming reality. Years of planning solidified his relocation from the North. His army friends had painted a picture of the new state of Florida so enticing that, by 1875, Webb bought 31.2 acres on the river in Mandarin for $1,500. He believed Florida would be the fruit region for the entire country in 10 years. 

Back in Time with Brett: The Brown Residence

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

“Well, come on inside and getcha’ self something cool to drink,” would have probably been an all too common phrase bellowed off the top of John C. Brown’s two-tiered veranda facing Mandarin Road; it was a warm southern invite to combat the oppressive heat of Florida, as Mandarinites played croquet under the shade of the stately, moss draped, oak trees on their riverfront lawns.