Tag Archives: Back in Time

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. 

Back in Time with Brett | The King House

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

High on the bluffs of the mighty St. Johns sits one of Mandarin’s oldest riverfront homes. The William King residence, built in 1873, is an architectural gem. For many Americans back in the day, one of the draws to Florida was the health benefits from the sun. Refugees from up north would move to the Sunshine State hoping to ease the pain of their various ailments, including First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln who came to Jacksonville in 1874 to aid with her arthritis. Long-neglected orange groves lined the shores of the river resulting in many Northerners lured to Mandarin for the warm climate and interest in making a living from cultivating citrus. 

Back in Time with Brett: Steamship Maple Leaf – Part 2

By Brett Nolan
mail@floridanewsline.com

Laid to rest in a blanket of mud, eight feet under the turbid waters of the natural ribbon that cuts through the city of Jacksonville, the “Maple Leaf” saw life above the mighty St. Johns River for the last time 155 years ago.