Mandarin is a neighborhood located in the southern most portion of Jacksonville, in Duval County, Florida, United States. It is located on the eastern banks of the St. Johns River, across from Orange Park. Mandarin was named after the Mandarin orange in 1830 by Calvin Reed, a prominent resident of the area .
Once called “a tropical paradise” by author Harriett Beecher Stowe, the quaint area of Mandarin is marked by its history, ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss, beautiful parks, marinas and more water views than any other area in Jacksonville. In the 1800s, Mandarin was a small farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other fruits and vegetables to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. In 1864, the Union steamship, the Maple Leaf, hit a Confederate mine and sank just off Mandarin Point.
While Mandarin now is just a small section of the City of Jacksonville, its natural beauty, parks and historic buildings draw visitors from around the world. Just a short drive south of Jacksonville’s city center, the community is bordered by Beauclerc to the north, Julington Creek to the south and St. John’s River to the west.
In 1867 the famous author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe bought a cottage here. For the next seventeen winters, she welcomed tourists debarking from the steamers making their way down the St. Johns River and charged them 75 cents each to meet her and admire her surroundings.
Stowe, although best known for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin about the cruelty of slavery, also wrote about Florida .
She had promised her Boston publisher another novel, but was so taken with northeast Florida that she produced instead a series of sketches of the land and the people which she submitted in 1872 under the title Palmetto Leaves. Her second book did not outsell her first novel, but did have the effect of drawing rich and fashionable tourists to visit her.
In Palmetto Leaves Stowe describes life in Florida in the latter half of the 19th century; "a tumble-down, wild, panicky kind of life—this general happy-go-luckiness which Florida inculcates." Her idyllic sketches of picnicking, sailing, and river touring expeditions and simple stories of events and people in this tropical "winter summer" land became the first unsolicited promotional writing to interest northern tourists in Florida.
A small chapel is dedicated to Harriet Beecher Stowe in Mandarin.
The late Allen Collins from the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd resided some of his last years in Mandarin before he passed. Mandarin was also the location where Allen was involved in a car accident during 1986 that left him paralyzed from the waist down and his girlfriend dead.
In 1968, the city of Jacksonville and most of Duval County formed a consolidated municipal unit. As part of this process, Mandarin ceased to exist as a political entity, and became part of the City of Jacksonville.
In 1990, with the rapid growth of Mandarin, a new public high school was opened in the area. Several prominent citizens in Jacksonville urged that the new school be named Harriet Beecher Stowe High School, but the proposal did not receive widespread acceptance, and instead the school was simply named, Mandarin High School.
Mandarin is located at (30.1603, -81.6594).Web site: States Census Bureau] US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990]. 2011-04-23. 2011-02-12.