Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)

A view of the 200-foot (61 m) tubular bell carillon
Map showing the location of Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
Location Hamilton County, Florida, USA
Nearest city White Springs, Florida
Coordinates 30°19′52″N 82°46′01″W / 30.33111°N 82.76694°W / 30.33111; -82.76694Coordinates: 30°19′52″N 82°46′01″W / 30.33111°N 82.76694°W / 30.33111; -82.76694
Established 1950
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is a Florida State Park located in White Springs off U.S. 41, along the Suwannee River in north Florida.

Stephen Foster is famous for having written the song "Old Folks At Home," also known as "Way Down Upon the Suwannee River." The song, referring nostalgically to "home far, far away," is Florida's state song.[1]


Among the wildlife of the park are gopher tortoises, box turtles, American alligators, white-tailed deer, wood ducks, and a variety of birds.

Recreational activities

Activities include picnicking, hiking and bicycling, as well as horseback riding, canoeing, and wildlife viewing.

Amenities include picnic tables, wooded trails, boat access to the Suwannee River, and riverside rental cabins.

There is a craft shop which sells Floridian and Southeastern folk art and crafts.

Stephen Foster Museum

The Stephen Foster Museum honors the accomplishments of American composer Stephen Foster and features dioramas and exhibits about his famous songs, including Old Folks at Home, more commonly known by the words of its first line as "(Way Down Upon the) Swanee River."

Honoring Foster, who never visited Florida, was the idea of Josiah K. Lilly, Sr., the son of Eli Lilly. He proposed the memorial in 1931.[2]


The Stephen Foster Memorial Carillon, the park's 97-tubular bell carillon tower, was built in 1957 by the J.C. Deagan Company. Over four decades, the company built and installed in excess of 500 carillons worldwide based, on their own 1916 design. The setup at White Springs was their largest and last carillon. It is noted as the "world's largest tubular bell instrument"[3] from the company.

The carillon plays Foster's songs throughout the day. A second museum area inside the tower also features exhibits about Stephen Foster and the carillon.[3]

Special events

Every year, the park hosts the Florida Folk Festival on Memorial Day weekend.


Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).


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