This post is in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 200th Birthday (she was born June 14, 1811). Back in 2007, I visited Mandarin, Florida, where Harriet Beecher Stowe had a winter home she visited from 1867 to 1884. Her book, Palmetto Leaves (1873), is based on her experiences in Florida. Today, Mandarin is part of the city of Jacksonville, which has grown to become the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. Her cottage, called “Mandarin Home,” is no longer standing, but some other traces of Stowe’s Mandarin survive.

Historic Sign Marking the Location of Stowe’s Florida Home

The Mandarin School, where both black and white children were educated, was built in 1872. Harriet Beecher Stowe spearheaded the building project. Today, the building is the Mandarin Community Club.

A modern house is now on the approximate site of Stowe’s Mandarin Home.

Harriet and her husband, Calvin Stowe, supported the establishment of a church, the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, in Mandarin, The original church building, constructed in 1883, was destroyed in a hurricane in 1964. It was then replaced by the current building.

The church property affords great views of the St. John’s River.

Downtown Jacksonville, across the St. John’s River from Mandarin.

Not far from where the Stowe’s resided is the Mandarin Historical Society. In the neighboring historical park is a restored farmhouse, built around 1875 by Maj. William Webb.

There is also a barn built by Webb in 1876.

A path in Mandarin.