Harriet Beecher Stowe, author and abolitionist, was deeply moved by the inhumane conditions of slavery. Having talked with slaves who escaped across the Kentucky-Ohio border, she was compelled to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851), a novel that furthered the development of abolitionist sentiment within the country. She made her winter home in the Mandarin area in 1867.
She and her family helped organize the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, and she was instrumental in convincing the Freedmen’s Bureau to build a school for African-American children in Mandarin.
St Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children was a one-room schoolhouse and the only of its kind in Duval County. The schoolhouse is in the park as an exhibition telling the stories of the Sisters of St. Joseph and their drive for learning.