Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center - White Springs, Florida
Stephen Foster
The famed 19th century
composer penned such
songs as
Suwannee River,
My Old Kentucky Home, Oh!
and Camptown
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center - White Springs, Florida
Stephen Foster Memorial Carillon
One of the largest carillons in the world, the Stephen
Foster Memorial towers over Florida's Suwannee
River, made famous by the 19th century composer.
"Way Down Upon the Suwannee
Millions of people around the world have
heard of Florida's beautiful and historic
Suwannee River.

Stephen Foster's classic 19th century song
has sent the minds of generations of
listeners on journeys "way down upon the
Suwannee," prompting sentimental images
of a home "far, far away." The haunting
melody is now Florida's State Song and
helped launch the tourism industry that led to
the development of modern Florida.

Curiously, Foster wrote the song about a
place he had never seen.
Suwannee River
(also known as
Old Folks at Home) was
originally written about South Carolina's
Pedee River, but the phrasing just didn't work
the way the composer had hoped. So after
studying maps of the South, he settled on the
Suwannee River instead and the rest is

Other songs by the famous composer
include such traditional favorites as
My Old
Kentucky Home
(state song of Kentucky), Oh!
, Camptown Ladies, Beautiful
and Jeannie With the Light Brown
(a tribute to his wife).

Despite his contributions to American
musical history, Foster died in 1864 at the
age of 37 with only 37 cents to his name. In
his wallet was found a scrap of paper with
the words "Dear friends and gentle hearts."

Foster's musical legacy is preserved today at
the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State
Park in White Springs, Florida. A museum at
the park preserves artifacts associated with
Foster, including a piano he once played and
the desk on which he is believed to have
Suwannee River.

Also on display is a piano once used at a
performance by the 19th century musical
sensation, Jenny Lind.

On the grounds can also be found the
towering Stephen Foster Memorial Carillon, a
bell tower that plays Foster's music at
intervals throughout the day. The base of the
tower contains a second museum with other
displays relating to Foster's life and music as
well as information on the historic carillon

In addition to memorializing Foster's life and
legacy, the park also serves as Florida's
official folk culture center.

Numerous events take place throughout the
year at the park. A village area has been
created where visitors can often see artisans
and musicians recreating the life of the past.

Special emphasis is paid to the culture of the
Upper Suwannee River. A gift shop is
available for purchasing handmade items
such as quilts, baskets and more.
The park also offers beautiful views of the
Suwannee River itself. Overlooks provide
access to the river and hiking and bike trails
wind their way along the high bluffs that
overlook its banks.

The park is a popular place for weddings.
Multiple locations are available and two
on-site reception facilities are located on the
Please click here for information on
weddings at Stephen Foster.

Other amenities in the park include picnic
areas, cabins, playgrounds, camping,
fishing, canoeing & kayking and more.

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State
Park is located near the intersection of
Interstates 75 and 10 in White Springs. The
park address is 11016 Lillian Saunders Dr.,
White Springs, Florida 32096.

The admission fee is $5 per vehicle ($4 if the
driver is the only person in the vehicle) and
$2 for pedestrians and bicyclists.  

Please click here for more information.
Florida's Suwannee River
The historic Suwannee River
as seen from the grounds of
the Stephen Foster Folk
Culture Center.
Stephen Foster Museum
The museum preserves
artifacts from the life of
Stephen Foster, including the
desk that he used to
Suwannee River.
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Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: March 23, 2014
Ben Prestage performs "Are you from Dixie?" at Stephen Foster
White Springs, Florida
Traces of the resort that once
stood at White Springs can be
seen today. Thousands of
people once came here
believing the spring waters
held curative powers.