Stephen Turner Foster Cultural Center: A History.

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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Stephen Turner Foster Cultural Center: A History.

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center is situated in White Springs on the U. S. 41

The man who gave this State Park its name was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1826. He was a prolific songwriter with a catalogue of some 200 tunes and was considered to be the first professional composer in America.

His style was a fusion of English, German, African and Italian immigrant music and was influenced by opera, popular ballads and church music.

He was a champion of slaves and his work very much reflects this. Most of his work was based on the importance of family values and his wish for the freedom of all humans from slavery.

Now you will be curious to know if you are familiar with any of his work' well you most definitely are!

Camptown Races (doo dah, doo dah) Oh Susannah (Dont you cry for me) I dream of Jeanie (with the light brown hair) and Beautiful Dreamer have all stood the test of time.

My Old Kentucky Home and Old Folks at Home were honoured by being made State Songs.

And so here is the Florida connection; The Suwanee River was the inspiration for Old Folks at Home and truly put this lovely river into the consciousness of the world.

Stephen lived a life of only 37 years. He became ill in a New England hotel and this led to him falling and gashing his head. He was admitted to a hospital where he spent a few days before dying. Sadly for a man so focussed on family values his brothers were not able to reach him until after he had passed away. How many more gems were lost to the world by his early demise we will never know.

It was one Josiah K Lilly ( he of the large pharmeceutical company) who first floated the idea that some kind of memorial should be made to Stephen.

In 1950, a joint initiative between local people in White Springs and The Florida Federation of Music Clubs worked in harmony to obtain the land to start this project.

In the 1970s control of the Culture Center was passed over to The State Parks Department.

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
Post Office Drawer G
White Springs, Florida 32096

Phone: 386-397-2733
Fax: Contact Park for Number

Citizen Support Organization

Stephen Foster Citizen Support Organization
P. O. Box 666
White Springs, Florida 32096

Visitor Service Provider

Kelli Pipkins, Concession Manager
Post Office Drawer G
White Springs, FL 32096

(386) 397-2733

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